Food Access Summit in Duluth this weekMore than 500 people from across Minnesota are attending a Food Access Summit this week at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
By: Naomi Yaeger, Budgeteer News
More than 500 people from across Minnesota are attending a Food Access Summit this week at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
The summit’s goal is to bring together leaders from agriculture, education, health and hunger sectors to focus on increasing access to healthy food for underserved Minnesotans. During his welcoming speech, Minnesota Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger said 23 million Americans live in a food desert, a place without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.
“But food swamps are a bigger problem,” Ehlinger said.
A food swamp is an area with an abundance of fast food and high-fat, high-sugar foods.
“We are here to talk about everyone having access to healthy food,” Ehlinger said. “That should be a right. Our state depends on healthy food.”
Ricardo J. Salvador, director and senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the group that society created the food system we now have and that society can fix it, but it was important to get an accurate diagnosis of the issues first.
“If you don’t get the diagnosis correct, it is impossible to get the correct prescription,” Salvador said.
Salvador gave a quick history lesson on some groups of people who had starved, and said it’s important for people to understand the history of food production and distribution.
“Never has there been so much food produced as there is now. Yet, the food system is inequitable because not all who have a stake in making the system possible can benefit from the abundance they help to generate,” Salvador said.
The conference runs through Thursday.