Food Security Summit

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The Food Security Summit is a six-part virtual series aiming to create space for people to learn about needs and resources and explore a shared understanding and a common vision to address regional food insecurity and hunger in the greater Grand Traverse region. It strives to create additional public awareness through sharing data and stories of care, resiliency, and change, and to highlight a whole-community issue that is rapidly increasing in severity with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food insecurity and hunger were already-growing problems prior to the pandemic, and are now magnified. Our food system is broken and we collectively have an opportunity to improve it. These are immediate problems that need quick implementation and long-term solutions rooted in sound community-based policies, programs, and strategies.

We invite you to attend if you are: experiencing food insecurity, supporting a family member or neighbor experiencing food insecurity, working at a food pantry or at an agency providing food assistance, a community member wanting to learn and support people experiencing food insecurity, working at an organization that supports people, or a community that is experiencing food insecurity, or simply curious about learning more about food and the future of your community.

Register for one or all of these sessions on Michigan State University Extension registration page.


This summit is provided through a grant from Rotary Charities.

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Summit Sessions


Session 1 – Who in Our Community is Facing Food Insecurity?

December 8, 2020 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
This first session seeks to refresh the lens at which we look at food insecurity and hunger. Join us to hear panelists and neighbors share their experiences of food security.

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Session 2 – What are the Sources of Food Assistance?

January 12, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
The second session takes a look at both government and non-profit food assistance programs through the lenses of those operating the programs. Learn about the challenges these public and private programs have encountered during the pandemic and local responses to the increased community needs. This session will include representatives from government programs, food pantries, school nutrition programs, community meal sites, and organizations related to food assistance programs.

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Session 3 – How do we Make Decisions to Address Community and Individual needs?

January 26, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
The third session focuses on how decisions are made to address the needs of those experiencing food insecurity, and who is making those decisions. The session will include a reflection in the way decisions have been made in the past, and opportunities for understanding needs and root causes and making meaningful and high impact decisions together in the future.

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Session 4 – How Do People in Need Get Access to Healthy Food?

February 9, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
The fourth session focuses on how and where people in need get access to ‘healthy’ food. This session will explore why ‘healthy’ food matters, and how people facing food insecurity know what type of ‘healthy’ food assistance is available. This session will also explore how access to ‘healthy’ food has changed during COVID. Speakers and panelists will be invited to share perspectives and insights regarding what works well about the way people learn about and get access to enough food that is ‘healthy’, what are the barriers to getting enough ‘healthy’ food, and potential solutions to address obstacles.

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Session 5 – What Values Drive Our Solutions?

February 23, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST

The fifth session explores defining what values drive community solutions surrounding food insecurity by engaging with government, nonprofit, and private food assistance providers and the persons they serve. Values impact our individual and collection motivations, and define our beliefs and behaviors. Our values drive our personal choices and also impact the way we communicate and design and implement policies, programs, and services. Speakers and panelists will be invited to share values through the lenses of the organizations and communities they represent.

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Session 6 – What’s Next? Chartering a Path Forward for Food Security for Our Community

March 9, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST
This session will explore opportunities for next steps toward becoming a more food secure region. This session will summarize the resources, strengths, challenges, and proposed solutions shared in the first five sessions. Participants will be invited to weigh in and share reflections and help prioritize ideas for action, including short and long-term solutions to address food insecurity and related issues such as housing, child care, health care, and transportation.

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