Coalition Building to Fight Food Insecurity

From foodtank.com, by Clare Algozin
Coalition Building to Fight Food Insecurity

Alaska Food Coalition (AFC) seeks to address food insecurity in Alaska by building the capacity of the anti-hunger network through advocacy efforts, research, and by sharing innovations and practices. The AFC has approximately 120 members consisting primarily of food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. The organization has built a network and space where these members can share their best practices and work to eliminate barriers to fighting hunger.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Cara Durr, Senior Manager of Public Engagement at Food Bank of Alaska and former Manager of Alaska Food Coalition.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Cara Durr (CD): In addition to our coalition building efforts, we give our members a platform for their voices to be heard and a place to come together to advocate for the things important to us, such as strong nutrition assistance programs, access to healthy and nutritious food, and anti-poverty initiatives.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

CD: Last year we launched the “Hunger Through My Eyes” photovoice project, where we gave cameras to food pantry clients and asked them to capture what hunger looks like to them.  The photos that came out of this project were very moving, and having the photographers themselves there at events to talk about their experiences and answer questions, was powerful.  There was great community response to the finished project, and we were able to show the photos at many venues in many communities around the state.  We were able to host an event in the state capital, which offered the opportunity to bring together legislators, anti-hunger advocates and project participants to discuss the issue of food insecurity in our state.

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

CD: In 2015 we will continue to grow our membership, and increase our diversity in both the types of organizations and geographic areas represented.  We will also be advocating for a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization.  Last year we brought a record number of ten Alaskans with us to DC to meet with our federal delegation – this year we hope to beat that number!

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

CD: Share your thoughts on a sustainable food system with your legislators, policy makers and community leaders – your voice matters!

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

CD: Follow us on Facebook!