Iowa Hunger Summit Focused on Transformation
I am truly excited to join the World Food Prize Foundation as the new Director of the Iowa Hunger Summit. As the 15th Anniversary of the Iowa Hunger Summit approaches, I am reflecting on the Summit’s premise. It was established by three Iowa governors to be a collaborative, non-partisan space to address hunger issues. The forum is designed to elevate and inspire further action to end hunger in Iowa and around the world. The challenge is daunting, but not unachievable. In fact, I was just speaking with A.G. Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture and third-generation fruit and vegetable farmer, who believes that the state can end hunger before 2030. That belief was prefaced on the need for societal transformations. I agree with A.G. - We have the assets and the know-how to provide all Iowans access to healthy food. We have the ability, but the real question is do we have the will to transform society to do it?
The Iowa Hunger Summit aims to be at the cutting edge of that conversation about ending hunger by addressing the root causes of the problem. The theme for this year’s summit is ‘Transformation of Iowa’s Food Systems.’ However we must go much further in spurring transformation because even one Iowan going without healthy food is one Iowan too many. Addressing root causes of food insecurity has numerous benefits. A healthy, nourished student is much more likely to excel in school, and a well-nourished general population does not overburden health services with the treatment of chronic, non-communicable diseases. This then leads to decreased health care costs and more focus on diseases that are not food-centric.
The 2021 Iowa Hunger Summit program reflects an understanding that food insecurity is intersectional and linked to a community’s social, political, and economic systems. The summit will dig deep into those systems and chart a path forward. The World Food Prize Foundation welcomes everyone to this event, encourages strong opinions and an even stronger willingness to engage thoughtfully to transform our state and world, so everyone has access to healthy food. Register now at www.iowahungersummit.org/register!