Hunger Free Communities Summit Highlights Insights and Strategies to End Hunger Across America

October 17, 2018

Brittany Madison, Hunger Free Communities Associate & AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Alliance to End Hunger

The 2018 Hunger Free Communities Summit was held October 2-3rd in Minneapolis, MN, in partnership with Hunger Impact Partners (formerly Hunger Free Minnesota).  This was one of the largest and most diverse Hunger Free Communities (HFC) Summits in years, and arguably the best one yet.

HFC Summit attendees at the opening plenary.

Each year the HFC Summit aims to convene a diverse range of participants – from national non-profits working in the anti-hunger space, to national corporations that have invested time and money into fighting hunger in America and abroad; and from small, emerging hunger free community coalitions, to well-established multi-county coalitions.  Also included were many other individuals and organizations who have a stake in the matter, including those with lived experience of hunger, and the Alliance to End Hunger’s own team of AmeriCorps VISTA members who are helping to build the capacity of these groups.

Over the course of the two-day Summit, there were a handful of panel discussions and over 20 workshops facilitated by local and national leaders in the field.  Highlights included remarks from the Alliance to End Hunger’s Executive Director Emeritus, former Ambassador Tony Hall; a keynote address from Katie Clark-Sieben, the Director of The Cargill Foundation; and an inspiring talk by Dorothy McAuliffe, the former First Lady of Virginia and National Policy Advisor for Share Our Strength.

Lori Silverbush, Director and Producer of “A Place at the Table” provides remarks before a screening of the film for HFC Summit attendees.

After wrapping up the first day of sessions, attendees enjoyed dinner and a movie.  Lori Silverbush, filmmaker and activist, gave a compelling opening statement prior to the screening of A Place at the Table.  She argued the case for increased activism, the need for policy change, and the fact that all people must be well-fed to actualize their potential.  After the movie screening, Lori and her colleague Kristen Castree engaged in a powerful Q & A session with attendees.

Day two of the summit started off bright and early with a breakfast panel discussing food rescue and recovery innovations, with panelists from Feeding America, The Kroger Co., and the General Mills Foundation.  After two more workshop blocks, there was one more panel discussion moderated by the Alliance to End Hunger’s Executive Director, Rebecca Middleton, addressing corporate and community partnerships.  The panel included Ellen Luger of the Minneapolis Foundation, and Mike Smith of Schwan Food Company – each discussing topics of when, how, and most importantly, why corporations and foundations develop relationships with anti-hunger groups, and how to get the most out of those relationships.

Rebecca Middleton, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger (center) moderates a closing panel discussion with Mike Smith of Schwan Food Company (left) and Ellen Luger of the Minneapolis Foundation (right).

Overall, the two day summit offered a diverse range of workshop topics: from child hunger solutions, to encouraging innovative strategies in anti-hunger work.  It was an incredible experience to see the program come to life, and to have the opportunity to engage with so many of our partners across the country.  If everyone who attended walked away with a new strategy idea, a new tool to utilize, or a new contact to follow up with, I’d say this year’s summit was a great success.

To see a full list of sessions, presenters, and presentations from the 2018 Hunger Free Communities Summit, visit the summit website HERE.