Mayor Mark Holland will be the host of the 2014 Wyandotte County Mayor’s Food Summit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, at 6565 State Ave, Kansas City, Kan.
The summit is sponsored by the Wyandotte Health Foundation.
“Our community needs to continue to rally around the cause of health improvement,” Holland said, citing statistics released this month that rated Wyandotte as having some of the worst health outcomes in the state.
“Increased access to healthy food should be one of our rallying cries,” he said. “We conducted a recent survey of Wyandotte County residents that confirmed this is a major felt need. The summit will give cross-sector leaders the tools to meet this need.”
A joint effort of the mayor and the Healthy Communities Wyandotte Coalition, the Food Summit seeks to bring together elected officials, education, business and community leaders and give them the information and resources they need to take action in their communities to increase accessibility to good food.
“Healthy Communities Wyandotte has been working on this issue for over four years; now we want to expand the circle of concern,” he said. “Leaders everywhere can and should take an interest in healthy eating.”
The Food Summit arose from a transparent community planning process held from 2009 to 2011 that involved hundreds of residents, area experts and public officials, the results of which were compiled in a document titled “Recommendations for a Better Future.”
The recommendations included strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and in fact, the Food Summit is the kick-off for a three-year plan to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among Wyandotte County residents. Holland and others who are the hosts of the Food Summit acknowledge that changing individual behavior is an important component of improving diet, and in order for change to stick, the healthy choice needs to be the easy choice.
Following welcoming remarks by Holland, the Food Summit will feature a keynote address from Dr. Oran Hesterman, a national leader in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and author of “Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All.” The Food Summit will also feature Dr. Judd Allen, president of the Human Resources Institute and a national expert on creating supportive cultures for healthy living.
The summit will include the following four breakout sessions featuring speakers, facilitators and panelists from community organizations:
• Nutritious Food in Schools
• Ensuring Healthy Food Access for Low-Income Households
• Transforming Organizational Culture for Health
• Increasing Physical Access to Healthy Food in Wyandotte County
Lunch will be provided by the Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Culinary Arts Program, led by Chef Cheryl Runnebaum.
To register for the event, visit 2014foodsummit.eventbrite.com.