The Healthy Options Summit is a special event focused on tackling the issue of food insecurity in Buena Vista County and Northwest Iowa. Brought to you by SALUD! Multicultural Health Coalition, ISU Extension and Outreach – Buena Vista County, and the Food Bank of Iowa, the Healthy Options Summit is intended to foster collaboration and improve strategies to fight hunger in Northwest Iowa.
Healthy Options Summit Schedule
8:00-8:30 a.m. — Registration and Light Breakfast
8:30-9:45 a.m. — Keynote: “Food Insecurity: How Did We Get Ourselves Into This Mess, and How Do We Get Ourselves Out Of It?”
Mary Swander, Iowa Poet Laureate, founder and executive director of AgArts, and Distinguished Professor Emerita of Iowa State University, will trace the roots of our current food insecurity problem from World War II to the present. Mary offers hope for moving forward, drawing from such examples as the Comida Project in Marshalltown, IA, the Red Earth Farm on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama, and her own journey toward food self-sufficiency. Swander’s talk will be enhanced with food narratives from local residents of Storm Lake.
9:45-10:00 a.m. — Break
10:00-10:30 a.m. — General Session 1: Food Insecurity Statistics
Liesl Eathington, Iowa Community Indicators Program, provides data on poverty, the relationship between poverty and food needs in Iowa, and other food-related health and economic measures. Communities and organizations can use this information to better understand and address local food insecurity issues.
10:30-11:15 a.m. — General Session 2: Breaking Poverty Myths
Ellen Anderson, ISU Extension and Outreach – Buena Vista County will encourage attendees to better understand the plight of the food insecure and provide an increased understanding of the cycle of need in which poverty places families. Participants will explore the dilemma between empowerment and enabling through group activities.
11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m. — General Session 3: Healthy Food Projects
ISU Extension and Outreach – Buena Vista County will offer suggestions to help increase access to healthy food options at food banks, in distribution events, through rescue projects and using tools such as, Spend Smart. Eat Smart.
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. — Lunch
Storm Lake High School AVID students and Nichole Krager, AVID advisor, will share their journey in establishing a food pantry at the Storm Lake High School at 12:30.
1:00-2:00 p.m. — General Session 4: Volunteer Recruiting & Compassion Fatigue
Micheala Devaney of the Food Bank of Iowa shares volunteer recruitment & engagement strategies.
2:10-3:00 p.m. — Breakout Sessions
A. Feeding Children: Hear from school personnel about the impact of backpack and school pantry programs. Learn about monthly food box distribution at Storm Lake Middle School.
B. Abundant Harvest and Plant a Row Projects: Learn best practices and encouragement to share your abundant harvest with local food banks and distribution sites. Consider joining local gardeners in “planting a row” specifically for donation.
C. Feeding Seniors: Learn about the Department of Aging Growing Bolder initiative and how Iowa Food Bank, ISU Extension and Outreach-Buena Vista County, The Hunger Dialogue, Buena Vista County Master Gardeners and Salud! are working together with community agencies to support the elderly and homebound in Buena Vista County by increasing access to healthy food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables.