Materials for the March 6, 2013, issues forum on Food Deserts and Hunger


Discussion Questions:

  1. Some commentators on David Bernstein’s articles on food deserts argue that obesity and poor diets are due more to social pressure, addiction to salt, sugar, and fat, lack of knowledge of how to prepare foods, or just plain laziness, than to economic and societal barriers. Is there really a food system problem? If there is, what causes should be addressed first?
  2. Would you support changes to the food system that would result in higher prices? For example, do you favor stricter requirements on feeding, housing, and medical treatment of animals raised for meat?
  3. Do we need more workers in the agricultural sector? How should young people be trained and encouraged to pursue a career in agriculture, including urban agriculture?
  4. Is equitable access to healthy, sustainable food a human right? Should LWV-Dane County take a position on this issue?

Study Materials:

  1. Mary Anglim, Introduction
  2. Katherine J. Curtis and Judy Bartfeld, “Poverty and Food Insecurity in Wisconsin and Dane County” (UW-Extension, 2011) 
  3. Food Systems Profile, Dane County, Wisconsin 
  4. Pat Schneider, “Soglin calls for citywide food policy to curb problem of 'food deserts'” (The Capital Times, July 11, 2012).
  5. Gayle Worland, “Catching up: The Freshmobile now serves up to 300 customers per week” (Wisconsin State Journal, December 9, 2013). 
  6. Dane County Board Resolution on Food as a Human Right (June 7, 2012)
  7. County Releases Report on Path to Regional Local Foods Hub” (October, 2011) 

The Speakers:

Carrie Edgar serves as the Department Head & Community Food Systems Educator for Dane County UW Extension. A passionate supporter of local food, a great deal of her work focuses on community food systems and community capacity building. Carrie serves as staff for the Dane County Food Council, facilitates the Dane County Food Coalition, serves on the Madison Food Policy Council, and is an Advisory Board member of the Dane County Institutional Food Marketing Coalition.

Kyle Richmond has served on the Dane county board since 2002. He chaired the County Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee for four terms, and is experienced in the County’s Human Services, Zoning, Comprehensive Planning, and Lakes and Watersheds programs. He led in the creation of the Dane County Food Council in 2005. He is a current member of the Dane County Food Council and Vice-chair of the City of Madison Food Policy Council.

Jeff Maurer is the owner of Fresh Madison Market and the founder of Freshmobile Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation which partners with local private and public organizations to bring fresh, affordable food to neighborhoods that lack access to grocery stores.

Other Resources:

  1. Casey Dillon, “Counties and Local Food Systems” (National Association of Counties, 2007). Dane county as a case study.
  2. Dane County Extension Food Systems website. A wealth of links to research, groups, and meetings on food systems.
  3. David Bornstein, “Conquering Food Deserts with Green Carts” (New York Times Opinionator, April 18, 2012) and “Time to Revisit Food Deserts” (New York Times Opinionator, April 25, 2012). Is obesity caused by the lack access to fresh produce, or do other factors play a bigger role?
  4. Kyle Foley, Taryn Goodman, and Bridget McElroy, “Bridging the Gaps funding and social equity across the food system supply chain” (August 2012).  Where is more investment needed to make the food supply chain more usable by small producers? What education and incentives do private investors need?
  5. Dana Gunders, “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.” Natural Resources Defense Council, August 2012). 
  6. Kimberly Hodgson, “Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans” (American Planning Association November, 2012). 
  7. Our Health, Our Land, Our Future: A presentation by your Dane County Food Council. 
  8. Rebekah Wilce, “Local Food Ordinances from Maine to California” (October 10, 2011). PRWatch, Center for Media and Democracy. 
  9. Freshmobile website