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Record Attendance for Idaho Hunger Summit

PHOTO: Attendees at a previous Idaho Hunger Summit. Courtesy of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force.
PHOTO: Attendees at a previous Idaho Hunger Summit. Courtesy of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force.
October 29, 2012

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Summit on Hunger and Food Security will set an attendance record this week. It begins Tuesday and has been sold out for a week. The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force sponsors the event.

Jeanne Liston is executive director of the Blaine County Hunger Coalition, a member of the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force. She says even though statistics on hunger in the Gem State may seem overwhelming - 14 percent of Idahoans are "food insecure" - caring folks want to find long-term solutions. That means moving beyond food banks, she adds.

"People are energized and excited to consider solutions that can be implemented in their own local community."

Some communities have already forged ahead with solutions that focus on food systems - everything from growing local foods to finding more efficient ways to distribute supplies. Food Stamps and how to reach eligible Idahoans are other topics at the conference.

A recent poll from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows that overwhelming majorities oppose cutting the Food Stamp program, but it is facing budget pressure in Congress.

Emmett Mayor Bill Butticci says his town stepped up to address hunger when the local food bank shut down. They immediately set up another food bank, then worked with civic groups, churches and others to concentrate on growing, producing, distributing and marketing local foods. He calls it a "food hub."

"We can take this food hub, and we can address our hunger security and our food security - and also create jobs within our community, which are much needed."

The summit is at the Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City. The Summit schedule is available at www.idahohunger.org. The FRAC survey is at http://frac.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID