Food Security Symposium

Beginning a Conversation About a Food Secure System for DuPage County


While DuPage County has a solid and committed group of Emergency Food Providers, the issue of food insecurity has not historically been coordinated systematically in DuPage. Such coordination would improve the availability, affordability and accessibility of healthy and nutritious foods for all communities in all income levels.  Loaves & Fishes hosted a Food Security Symposium for DuPage County on September 22nd and took beginning steps toward forming a Food Security Council for DuPage – one that will work to build access to healthy foods for every community member.

This council would use a cross-sector approach to give communities a shared way of thinking about the whole food system with the goal of improving community health, economic development, and better use of natural resources.

Held at the Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Auditorium, the symposium focused on informing and engaging key stakeholders from across the County about food insecurity issues.

The symposium also introduced innovative strategies that promote food security and engaged participants in early discussions to support the development of a strategic community effort to build a robust food system in DuPage County that addresses food insecurity and health equity issues.

The key-note speaker was Emma Garcia, Co-Executive Director of Access of West Michigan. Emma shared her organization’s story of moving from responding to hunger to cultivating a vibrant local food system in which all people have access to healthy and affordable food.

Other topics included a look at the data about food insecurity, a panel presentation to support County coordination, and a discussion about uniting to overcome challenges and identify opportunities. Loaves & Fishes was joined by the University of Illinois Extension and Northwestern Medicine in sponsoring the discussion.

For more information, please contact Jane Macdonald, Director of Community Health, Loaves & Fishes at


Symposium Presentation Materials

Access of West Michigan, Emma Garcia

Impact DuPage, Karen Ayala

Kane County Development and Community Services, Matt Tansley

Northern Illinois Food Bank, Terrell Kennedy

Northwestern Medicine, Tammy Pressley

School & Community Assistance for Recycling & Composting Education (SCARCE), Kay McKeen

University of Illinois Extension, SNAP-Ed, Jessica Gadomski