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Addressing hunger in America: cheap food or food with values?

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AG21, College Building

City, University of London

St John Street

London

EC1V 4PB

United Kingdom

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Addressing hunger in America: cheap food or food with values?

With Andy Fisher, leading US expert in community food security and author of Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups.


The US federal government spends roughly $85 billion on 15 nutrition programs annually - on school meals, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and others. Just the SNAP program alone makes up roughly 10% of the amount that Americans spend on groceries. These programs are integrally linked through the work of government, food industry, and anti–hunger groups in what Andy Fisher terms the “hunger industrial complex."

The “front end’ of these programs is working well, helping recipients to become more food secure. The “back end” of these programs however remains tied to big food processors and retailers. Is there an alternative? Could these nutrition programs support a more sustainable and regionalized food economy? Could they be linked to agriculture programs to create a more holistic framework for a food system based on “food with values,” rather than "cheap food.”

Timed to coincide with his new book, Big Hunger, Andy Fisher's talk will discuss the politics of this hunger industrial complex, and provide three examples of programs that seek to modify federal nutrition programs to promote a more integrated vision of food sovereignty, health, and sustainability. Questions and discussion will then be opened to the audience.


Andy Fisher


Andy Fisher is a leading American expert on community food security. In 1994, he co-founded and led the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC), a US and Canadian alliance of groups working on food access and local food, until 2011. During this time, he created and publicized the concept of community food security, and played a key role in building the food movement. He has played a lead role in gaining passage of numerous pieces of federal legislation, including the Community Food Projects and the Farm to School grant program. He has worked on a wide variety of food system topics, including food policy councils, community food assessments, healthy corner stores, coalition building, and farm to cafeteria. He has taught at various universities in Oregon, and is currently an adjunct instructor in the public health department at Portland State University. His book on the anti-hunger movement, “Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups” was released by MIT Press in April, 2017.

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AG21, College Building

City, University of London

St John Street

London

EC1V 4PB

United Kingdom

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