Note to journalists: Although registration is now closed to the public, media interested in attending part or all of the conference are welcome and can pick up press packets at the registration desk. To coordinate interviews with specific participants, contact Theresa Hogue at 541-737-0786.
CORVALLIS, Ore. - More than 300 participants are expected to attend the 2012 Food Security Summit Jan. 19-20 at Oregon State University. The biggest event of its kind in the state, the summit will analyze conditions leading to food insecurity and strive to create solutions.
The event, which is at LaSells Stewart Center, is a joint effort of the Oregon Hunger Task Force, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Oregon Food Bank and OSU. The organizations have combined efforts to work jointly to battle one of Oregon's biggest issues, food insecurity.
OSU sociologist Mark Edwards, who is helping organize the event, has focused much of his work over the past several years on food insecurity in Oregon. He said this summit is unusual in that it brings together not only anti-hunger activists but also students, educators, agency leaders and others who have a stake in food security.
Two years ago, the Oregon Hunger Task Force held a summit to identify the greatest needs in Oregon, and to create a five-year plan, "Ending Hunger Before it Begins: Oregon's Call to Action." Those needs included increasing economic security for families, improving the local food system to increase both the accessibility and affordability of local food, and improving the safety net for those Oregonians who face food insecurity.
Those three areas serve as a framework to help guide agencies and organizations as they direct their efforts toward combating food insecurity, Edwards said. "It's meant to be a rubric by which we evaluate our activities," he noted.
The upcoming summit will be a time to check on how the array of organizations and agencies are collaboratively addressing these issues, which Edwards says will be a slow and ongoing process.
"Some of the obstacles to eliminating hunger are huge economic and social structural processes that are hard to reverse," Edwards said, which is exactly why the conference was created, to bring people together to create solutions to the problem of hunger.
In addition to workshops and breakout sessions, there will be lunchtime roundtables, and two plenary speakers, Max Finberg, director of the USDA's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Deborah Frank, founder and a principal investigator of the Children's HealthWatch.
Registration for the conference is closed, but information on how to watch several main sessions streamed live online can be found at: http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/event/2012hungersummit/
About Oregon Food Bank
Since 1982, Oregon Food Bank has been leading the fight against hunger in Oregon and southwest Washington by collecting and distributing food through a network of four OFB branches and 16 independent regional food banks. The OFB Network helps nearly 1 in 5 households fend off hunger. OFB also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger through advocacy, nutrition education, garden education, and helping communities strengthen local food systems. For more information, visit www.oregonfoodbank.org.
The Oregon Hunger Task Force was created by the Oregon legislature in 1989 to act as a resource within government and as a statewide advocate for Oregonians who are hungry or at risk of hunger. Made up of legislators, state agency representatives and nonprofits, the Task Force works collaboratively with stakeholders throughout Oregon to promote community awareness, compile research, develop proposals for government action and conduct outreach to expand participation in federal nutrition programs
Partners For a Hunger-Free Oregon, a nonprofit organization, actively supports and compliments the work of the Oregon Hunger Task Force by providing leadership in developing strong and diverse collaborations and by pursuing funding for specific initiatives to address hunger in Oregon. The mission of both groups is to end hunger before it begins by promoting the well-being and economic security of Oregonians, and eliminating the underlying causes and consequences of hunger. For more information, go to www.oregonhunger.org
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Mark Edwards, 541-737-5379