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Blog About White House Office of Public Engagement Food Insecurity Forum

Obama Foodorama The Blog Of Record About White House Food Initiatives, From Policy To Pie Tuesday, August 07, 2012 Today: White House Welcomes Activists for Forum On “Fighting Food Insecurity In America” Closed-press event features Participant Media, and is designed to create a unified national action coalition; the list of attending organizations… The White House Office of Public Engagement on Tuesday will host 96 activists and advocates–and leaders of the film company Participant Media–for a forum designed to identify how to best create a unified national coalition to raise public and Congressional awareness about combating hunger and boosting food security, and the dire need to prevent budget cuts to the federal nutrition safety net. The closed-press event, scheduled from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, is titled “Creating Pathways to Opportunity–Fighting Food Insecurity in America.” Invited participants include representatives from media companies, food corporations, major foundations, faith-based organizations, school associations, anti-hunger groups, policy lobbying organizations, and medical and child health organizations, among others, whom the White House dubs “critical stakeholders from the federal, private, association, creative and grassroots sectors.” The forum comes on the heels of bitter Farm Bill debates in Congress about slashing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka Food Stamps), which is utilized by an average of 46 million Americans monthly. According to the White House participant briefing packet, the main purpose of the summit is “to convene federal representative and private sector participants in a conversation about the structural and institutional barriers to effective stakeholder actions in defense of investments to combat food insecurity,” with the goal of identifying solutions–including media campaigns–that lead to a unified national action effort. Raquel Russell, who is President Obama’s Deputy Assistant for Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility, will provide the leadership keynote, titled “The Administration’s Vision to Combat Food Insecurity.” Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and Assistant to the President, will offer a second keynote. Participant Media CEO Jim Berk and EVP for Social Action Chad Boettcher will speak, as will Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, co-directors of the company’s hunger documentary A Place at the Table.  The Participant representatives will discuss the documentary and “The Power of Media and Storytelling for Social Change.” A power player in Hollywood, Participant created the online network TakePart.com, which runs petition drives and other campaigns around social issues, and also produced the films The Help and Contagion, among others. Barbie Izquierdo, who is featured in the documentary, will also be part of the panel. Silverbush is married to Top Chef star Tom Colicchio, who is one of the executive producers for the film. Colicchio has featured First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign on Top Chef multiple times. Four grassroots activists are scheduled to discuss their “Success in Action”: Sister Simone, of NETWORK, Nuns on the Bus; Emily Holubowich, of Non-Defense Discretionary Colation; Monifa Bandele of Moms Rising; and AnnMaura Connoly of SaveService. After the speakers, attendees will gather in “breakout groups” of ten to discuss ideas and future action, led by members of the Office of Public Engagement and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The three final goals of the forum are listed as developing “a shared vision to combat food insecurity in the United States;” “developing recommendations to overcome the identified gaps in existing efforts;” and “commitment to continue the conversation and specific subsequent action steps.” Attendees from across the US… Invited attendees include representatives from entertainment and media companies (including Creative Artists Agency, Magnolia Pictures, Catalyst Films), food corporations (including Panera Bread, ConAgra); faith-based organizations (including Catholic Charities USA, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America); hunger and food security groups (including Share Our Strength, Food Research and Action Center, Feeding America, Urban Food Initiative, Wholesome Wave, AmpleHarvest.org); major foundations (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Partnership for a Healthier America); government (including the US Conference of Mayors, National WIC Association, the American Public Health Association) health organizations (including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention) and professional sports (Philadelphia Eagles, Taste of the NFL). Representatives from a wide range of other groups have also been invited, including Environmental Working Group, the School Nutrition Association, National Farm to School Network, National 4-H Council and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, NAACP, Esperanza, and OFW Law. The forum will be in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/08/today-white-house-welcomes-activists.html