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Anti-Hunger Advocates Gather for CAFB Conference 2015

June 17, 2015

On May 4 & 5, over 250 food bankers, policymakers, and anti-hunger allies came together for two days of workshops, round table discussions, and conversation at CAFB’s anti-hunger conference, “Now is the Time: New Visions Toward Ending Hunger.” With 35 workshops covering six tracks, the conference provided targeted skill-building opportunities, the chance to learn best practices while networking with peers, and the tools to put these practices to use. In her rousing keynote address on hunger as a civil right, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger President & CEO Abby J. Leibman outlined ways in which previous civil rights movements have been successful. She closed with this powerful call to action: “We have all learned these lessons. Now let’s put them into action.” For the next two days, attendees did just that.

New Visions

As a biennial event, the CAFB Conference is a one-of-a-kind experience providing food-bank specific insight and professional development for attendees. This, along with the variety of experiences and backgrounds represented by conference attendees and workshop leaders, is what makes it so valuable. “The Farm to Family workshops were the best,” wrote Kristin Kvesic, Donated Food Program Manager at Community Action Partnership of Orange County. “Having a grower [on the panels] was helpful. It was educational to hear their side of the program.”

As a 43-member association, CAFB set out to explore topics that affect all of our members as well as the larger community of anti-hunger advocates working toward building a well-nourished California. At this year’s conference, participants came from hunger relief agencies, anti-hunger organizations, business partners, state agencies, and universities. Workshops designed to inspire people to think out of the box included “How to Engage Your Local Public Health Officer” and “Community Collaborations:  Addressing the Causes and Consequences of Hunger,” which focused on how to build connections within this diverse community of anti-hunger advocates.

Tuesday’s plenary address from Bridgeworks co-founder Lynne Lancaster further explored how understanding connections between a diverse group of individuals can aid anti-hunger work. In an entertaining examination of the values and influences motivating staff members, stakeholders, volunteers and clients, Lancaster provided insight into how to best navigate today’s intergenerational workplace. “Most plenary speakers are specific to the work,” wrote one attendee. “But this was just so useful for work, personal life and organizational success.”

When asked what the best part of attending was, one first-time attendee stated that they loved the variety of agencies in attendance. Another cited the “ability to meet, network and learn from people fighting the same battles with different tools and tactics,” as the best part of attending.

CAFB would like to thank all conference attendees, speakers and panelists for sharing their time, expertise and insight as we work towards building a well-nourished, hunger free California.

CAFB staff members admire conference backpacks donated by Sysco, our Premier conference sponsor

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross highlights the partnership between California farmers and food bankers 

Dr. Sarah Ramirez, Executive Director of Foodlink for Tulare County and a nutrition education advocate, loads up on healthy greens with fellow attendees

CAFB would like to extend a special thanks to the following sponsors for helping to make this inspiring event possible:


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