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Patricia Allen Speaks at National Food Symposium

Dr. Patricia Allen, chair of the food systems and society department, spoke at a symposium titled Food Insecurity: Assessing Disparities, Consequences and Policies in October 2012.

Excerpt from an article by Caroline Michler and Taylor Weatherby in the Columbia Missourian, October 19, 2012.

David Holben, a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at Ohio University, spoke as part of a two-day symposium hosted by Missouri University's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources titled Food Insecurity: Assessing Disparities, Consequences and Policies.

Sandy Rikoon, one of the symposium's organizers, said about 4 0 0 people attended the event over the course of two days.

Holben was one of two main speakers at the symposium. Patricia Allen, a professor at Marylhurst University, spoke about the importance of food security and a socially just food system. She gave a definition of a socially just food system as "one in which power and material resources are shared equitably so that people and communities can meet their needs, live with security and dignity, now and into the future." This definition came about at a meeting of academics and activists in California, Allen said.

Women and people of color do not have equal access to farmland and are among those likely be hungry, along with children and the elderly, Allen said.

In conversations about food security and food safety, there is often tension between protecting the environment for future generations while not giving much concern to those who are here now, Allen said.

She said these are the worst of times because of the food security crisis but also the best of times because of people's engagement with the issue.

"We can create a world where there is a place for everyone at the table that is overflowing with good and beautiful food," Allen said.

Read the full article on

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