Speaker to discuss food insecurity

On Thursday, Feb. 20, and Friday, Feb. 21, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the Clinton School of Public Service will present the fifth Under 40 Forum, a program that asks honorees of the annual Forty Under 40 lists published by Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal to collaboratively examine issues facing Arkansas and identify strategies they themselves, and their workplaces, can employ to address those issues.

Ronnie Dedman, president of AT&T Arkansas, will speak about AT&T’s Believe Arkansas initiative to fight hunger in Arkansas, which is part of AT&T’s national effort to inspire positive change in local communities. Dedman and the work of AT&T will demonstrate for the participants how business leaders can take an active role in addressing systemic issues of poverty and hunger, and inspire them to use their talents and connections to make an impact in their own Arkansas communities.

In their rapid 24 hours at the Institute, the Under 40 Forum leaders will participate in three interactive and educational sessions that will help them better understand structural and policy issues related to poverty and hunger in their workforce and communities, including: 

  • Bridges out of Poverty Workshop, led by Monieca West
  • A panel of speakers who will highlight current efforts in Arkansas addressing food insecurity and improving our food systems:
    • Kathy Webb, AR Hunger Relief Alliance
    • Emily English, assistant professor, UAMS and core partner for Arkansas Farm to School Network
    • Nate Coulter, Central Arkansas Library System executive director and partner in “Be Mighty” campaign to connect children to after-school and summer meals
  • A facilitated dialogue session using the National Issues Forum’s Land of Plenty issue guide that examines policy options to ensure that food systems work for everyone. The dialogue will be led by Institute staff and Clinton School students. 

“Our goal with the 2020 Under 40 Forum is to illuminate root causes of hunger and poverty in our state, and ask the Under 40 leaders to think collaboratively about how they can take responsibility and action in their communities.,” said Janet Harris, chief programs and marketing officer for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “We are grateful for the participating Under 40 honorees’ commitment to being informed, being thoughtfully concerned, and participating in the search for solutions as Winthrop Rockefeller challenged us to do.”

“Though poverty and hunger continue to be major challenges in Arkansas, it’s worth highlighting some important work being done including that of Clinton School graduate Emily English who is one of the panelists,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford. “We’re pleased to join the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in sponsoring this forum.”