Saturday, January 03, 2015

Second Annual End Hunger in New Mexico Summit Planned for September in Albuquerque

The End Hunger  in New Mexico Summit held last July already seems like a distant memory. There were a few questions in the aftermath of the event that drew a few hundred people to a conversation and a set of workshops and talks. The conference succeeded in launching the conversation, but as keynote speaker, food justice and anti-hunger advocate, Mark Winne pointed out, follow-up actions are imperative for our state, which remains at the bottom of the list in terms of child hunger, senior hunger and general food insecurity.

In his keynote address, (which was later published in his blog and also in Bread New Mexico), Winne left no doubt about what must be done.  "We must shift our attention from only addressing the symptoms, namely hunger and food insecurity, and stop ignoring the disease, namely poverty," Winne said in his keynote speech. "We must emphasize the quality of food over the quantity in recognition of the severity of the obesity crisis before us. We must work together in a truly collaborative fashion, which means we each have to put aside something for the greater good. We must hold government accountable, no matter which party is in office. And we must ask ourselves hard questions about our own programs and organizations: just because we’ve been doing things one way for the past 20 years doesn’t mean we should do them the same way forever."

My own proposals suggested a plan to focus on addressing the problem from all the populations that suffer from food insecurity, not only children and seniors, but working families, rural communities, Indian reservations. Some later pointed out that we should also focus on the unique problems facing communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Albuquerque to host next summit
To their credit, the agencies that organized the first summit--the Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging and the North Central New Mexico Economic District--are planning a follow-up summit. A few things will be different in this summit. This gathering will be held in September instead of July, and the event will take place in the heart of Albuquerque (the Marriott). Perhaps these changes could be intended to increase participation--not only in numbers but also diversity of participating agencies and groups.

I would hope that more of the relevant state agencies that were missing in 2014 will be a major part of the next summit. This includes the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and the Human Services Department (HSD). The message should be that hunger needs to be addressed not only among seniors and children, which was a primary focus of the 2014 event, but also for all other affected populations.

Ellen Teller, FRAC, spoke in 2014
The organizers of the second summit are beginning the planning process, so many details have yet to emerge. However, some planning has already occurred since the last summit in July. And workshop presenters and organizations to set up displays are already being recruited. 

This Link contains sample applications, a tentative schedule, a call for financial sponsors, a poster and much more. While the summit is still more than nine months away, it's never too early to start our plans to participate. Keep in mind that even though the summit is scheduled for September, the deadline to submit applications to present workshops or join in as a financial sponsor is Friday, July 31, 2015.

For more information, send an e-mail to Dolores Gonzales ( or call  505-395-2678

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