A Place at the Table Expands on a Long-Standing Partnership and Joins the Alliance to End Hunger

October 22, 2018

Kristen Castree, Campaign Director, A Place at the Table

In 2013, the acclaimed documentary A Place at the Table explored why there is widespread hunger in America and what it would take to solve it.  Directed by Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson with chef and activist Tom Colicchio as an Executive Producer, the film shined a light on a grievous wrong in what is one of the world’s most abundant and prosperous nations.

Audience response to the film was powerful.  People were moved and motivated.  Over and over after screenings they asked, “but what can I do to help change this massive system?”

Lori and Tom met media and advertising professionals Tim and Kristen Castree soon after the film was released and they decided to forge a new approach to communications about the issue.  A Place at the Table is now a national campaign to change the way America thinks about hunger: it’s causes, effects and solvability. Our mission is to show people how to participate in systemic change and to build the public will to end hunger in America.

The Alliance to End Hunger was an invaluable resource in the development of the film’s message way back in 2009.  Back then, even more than today, the belief that charity is the only way to deal with hunger was firmly entrenched in the American psyche.  But what we learned from hunger experts and many of the board members of the Alliance challenged that notion.  They said that actually, our nation already had the resources, the smarts, and the capacity to end hunger. What we lacked was the public will.

We firmly believe that how we communicate about this issue moving forward could make the difference as to whether the anti-hunger and anti-poverty movement ever achieves the kind of critical mass that translates into genuine cultural change.  We need to shift the public’s mindset about hunger from one built around charity to one that embraces systemic solutions.

A Place at the Table employs media, technology and partnerships to promote a dimensional understanding of the issue and its solvability to a wide audience. We disrupt false assumptions about who is hungry, why hunger exists and the problem’s “inevitabilty.” We seek to fuel a cultural shift away from charity “band-aids” and toward systemic solutions.  We use strategic communications to connect more deeply with specific groups and demographics we think can help shift the culture long term.

Our areas of focus include:

  1. Mass media advertising campaigns to help increase issue visibility and urgency
  2. Social media content development including partnerships with Facebook, Pinterest and others to drive engagement and personal connection
  3. Cultural influencer initiatives that broaden our message reach and infiltrate new venues
  4. Partnerships and connections within the hunger community to encourage charity-based organizations to support advocacy initiatives
  5. Partnerships with other organizations and companies outside of hunger to get hunger out of its “silo” and connect the issue to more top-of-mind issues and priorities
  6. Development of media for millennial and youth engagement

The moment is ripe for a movement that recognizes the public’s desire to be part of the change.  The Alliance to End Hunger can be a prime catalyst for that and we are excited to be of service and partnership. We believe the big problems of our day are solvable and within our grasp, if we all lean in to fix them.