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Making Hunger a Priority in America

PAST EVENT VIDEO
Panel
The Council's Ertharin Cousin leads a conversation with IL Senator Dick Durbin, Produce Alliance’s Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, and other experts about the USDA’s efforts to address food security challenges.
Speakers
Dick Durbin
Melissa Melshenker Ackerman
Emily Broad Leib
Basil I. Gooden
Kate Maehr
Ertharin Cousin
Event Date

About This Event

Hunger is on the rise in America. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity in the United States has doubled and now affects nearly 1 in 4 households. In response to this crisis, last year the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) created The Farmers to Families Food Box Program to alleviate food supply chain disruptions, support producers, and address food security challenges. To date, the program has spent approximately $15 billion, yet many smaller producers and minority farmers have been left out and the intended community beneficiaries are voicing concern about the food they are receiving. With more Federal funding included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, how has the program connected producers to communities and in what ways can it improve to meet the needs of the most vulnerable?

About the Speakers
United States Senator, Illinois
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
US Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th US Senator from the State of Illinois, the state’s senior senator, and the convener of Illinois’ bipartisan congressional delegation. Senator Durbin also serves as the Senate Majority Whip, the second highest ranking position among the Senate Democrats.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
President, Produce Alliance
Melissa Melshenker Ackerman
Melissa Melshenker Ackerman leads a national produce company specializing in consulting and purchasing of produce from field to fork. As a leading service industry expert, Produce Alliance prides itself on being an integral part of the entire process from when the crops are planted until reaching their customer’s plates.
Melissa Melshenker Ackerman
Director, Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School
Emily Broad Leib
As founder of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, Emily Broad Leib launched the first law school clinic in the nation devoted to providing clients with legal and policy solutions to address the health, economic, and environmental challenges facing our food system. She was named to 2016’s list of Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink.
Emily Broad Leib
Visiting Scholar, Virginia Commonwealth University
Basil I. Gooden
Basil Gooden is a Visiting Scholar in the Sustainable Food Access Core of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) at the Virginia Commonwealth University. He previously served as the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the state of Virginia from 2016-2018.
Basil I. Gooden
Executive Director and CEO, Greater Chicago Food Depository
Kate Maehr
Kate Maehr has led the Greater Chicago Food Depository in its mission to provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community since 2006. In this role, she has guided a number of strategic initiatives and accomplishments to distribute nutritious food across Cook County while addressing the root causes of hunger.
Kate Maehr
Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture
Council expert Ertharin Cousin
Ertharin Cousin served as executive director of the UN World Food Programme, where she led the world’s largest humanitarian organization, from 2012 to 2017 prior to joining the Council. She also previously served as US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.
Council expert Ertharin Cousin