I know you have heard it before; America is the only nation to struggle mightily with both obesity and hunger.
Thirty-seven percent of adult Americans are obese, 74 percent are somewhat overweight and one-third of children are overweight or obese. On the flipside, 14 percent of American households struggle with food security. That translates to nearly 50 million people across the nation.
The strange part is that the two tend to correlate. How? Fast food, high in greasy fat content and low in nutritional value is more affordable than fresh and healthy options.
“The areas where people are experiencing negative health outcomes (obesity, diabetes, etc.) are the same neighborhoods that are considered food deserts,” executive director of the Denver Food Rescue, Turner Wyatt said. “And the cherry on top is that they are more or less devoid of emergency food assistance. In the areas where you think food banks would be most necessary, there are just none.”
Another reason for the wide disparity is sheer lack of food knowledge.
That’s where the Forward Food Summit comes in. A group of Colorado University students developed the idea back in 2014 as a part of their community leadership program. In other words, they began this project to make food and economic awareness a topic of conversation in their community.
Hana Dansky, the executive director and co-founder of the Boulder Food Rescue has worked since 2011 to minimize food waste and maximize the number of full bellies. The FFS is just one piece of her longtime goal.
“I think the reason I got into food is that it is tangible because everybody has to eat. Access to healthy and culturally appropriate food is a human right, yet many people aren’t able to make choices around what they get to eat.” Dansky says. “I see food redistribution as a really simple solution to a really big problem. It’s not an end all solution, but it’s something we can do right now.”
If food distribution and management sounds intriguing if not a little foreign, the Forward Food Summit has the answers to all your questions.
This year’s event runs from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM at the Mercury Cafe in Denver Colorado on Saturday April 16. The event will have six sessions, covering topics like culinary arts training for the homeless with Isabel McDevitt, an anti-oppression workshop with Brittni Laura Hernandez and plenty more.
All 12 speakers are donating their time, in the hopes that the event will change the way food is looked at and managed. Lunch, catered by the Mercury Cafe, is included in the $55 ticket price and students save an extra $20. Scholarships to the event are available through their website.
The last two years, the event was hosted by the Boulder Food Rescue alone, but this year, they will be joined by the Denver Food Rescue, and all proceeds will be split between the two.
For Dansky and Wyatt, the more attendees to this year’s summit, the merrier.
“Foodies, people working in the food industry, people affected by food insecurity, the general public, students, and anybody working in food justice, social determinants of health, etc. Whoever is interested in this topic can come” Dansky says.
They have done all they can in organizing the event, the rest is up to you. Click here to purchase tickets.
Where: Mercury Cafe – 2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80205 – View Map