Conference battles food insecurity

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Plans are coming together for a food issues summit to be held in Storm Lake in April, according to Katelyn Brinkerhoff, Buena Vista County Extension, one of the organizers of the event. A keynote speaker will be announced later. The event will be called, “Finding Your Spark: Battling Food Insecurity in Rural Iowa.”

The event is the brainchild of The Hunger Dialogue volunteer group, and is being sponsored by Salud! of Storm Lake, ISU Extension and Outreach of Buena Vista County, and the Office of Civic Engagement at Buena Vista University. BVU will host the conference. The conference will invite concerned people and agencies from around the state to learn from some of the local innovations for feeding the hungry.

The event will include a photo documentary created by BVU students in 2017, focusing on food insecurity in a diverse community.

Sessions will explore:

• Little Free Pantries/Libraries, as BVU student, Taylor Loy created her own Little Free Pantries in Storm Lake, and Connie Skibsted, member of the Little Library Committee, worked with Storm Lake’s city council to approve of community members building their own Little Libraries

• Community Gardens, land gardened by a group of people, utilizing either individual or shared plots on private or public lands. Speakers will include local community garden experts here in Buena Vista County.

• Food Pantries of Iowa, strategies for starting a food distribution in your area from Storm Lake Middle School and Storm Lake’s Kiwanis Club, with the help of Food Bank of Iowa.

• Who is ALICE? - How are food security issues addressed in your community?, with audience participation.

• Lunch and Networking with a presentation on the The Bridge of Storm Lake’s Cultivate Training Garden Enterprise and how to share the excitement of community gardening with youth.

• Accommodations for all ages, exploring how two women are working to make sure all ages are accounted for, featuring presentation on the Alta Schools Backpack program and Iowa Senior Hunger Partners program.

• Empowerment, with a panel of organization members and volunteers on how to spark volunteerism.

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