Food Summit Explores the Many Ways Volunteers Found Their Spark in Their Community

Storm Lake, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach-Buena Vista County, the Office of Civic Engagement-Buena Vista University, and SALUD! of Storm Lake invites all interested parties working with, supporting or interested in food insecurity issues to join individuals from Northwest Iowa to share ideas, learn about new and existing grass roots projects, program and funding opportunities, and learn about how you or your organizations can work together to spark a difference in your community.
The conference will be held at Buena Vista University, 610 W. 4th Street, Storm Lake, IA 50588 on Tuesday, April 10th with registration starting at 8:00am.
This year’s conference is titled "Finding Your Spark: Battling Food Insecurity in Rural Iowa," and will focus on the many volunteers within rural Northwest Iowa that are making a difference in their community by working to end food insecurity.
The conference will begin with registration and a photo documentary created by Buena Vista University students in 2017 that focuses on food insecurity in a diverse community. There will be six general sessions, as well as a keynote presentation to end the day. Lunch will be provided by Sodexo thanks to the Office of Civic Engagement-Buena Vista University. The sessions are as follows:
General Session 1: Little Free Pantries/Libraries
Little Libraries and Little Free Pantries have been booming in Storm Lake, IA since BVU student, Taylor Loy created her own Little Free Pantries in Storm Lake, and Connie Skibsted, member of the Little Library Committee, worked with Storm Lake’s city council to approve of community members building their own Little Libraries.
General Session 2: Community Gardens
A community garden is a piece of land gardened by a group of people, utilizing either individual or shared plots on private or public lands. Hear from local community garden experts here in Buena Vista County.
General Session 3: Food Pantries of Iowa
Learn about the various ways you can start a food distribution in your area from Storm Lake Middle School and Storm Lake’s Kiwanis Club, with the help of Food Bank of Iowa.
General Session 4: Who is ALICE?
How are food security issues addressed in YOUR community? (Audience participation)
General Session 5: Age Gap: Accommodations for all ages
Working with a variety of ages can be difficult. Listen to how two women are working to make sure all ages are accounted for.
a.        Children: Alta Backpack Program
b.        Seniors: Iowa Senior Hunger Partners       
General Session 6: Empowerment: Sparking volunteers
Sparking the interest of volunteers can be difficult depending on the organization you are a part of. Listen to a panel of organization members and volunteers on how to empower your volunteers.
Keynote: Michelle Book, President/CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa
Michelle Book began her role as president and CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa on February 1, 2016. Food Bank of Iowa’s mission is to provide food for Iowa children, families, and seniors to lead full and active lives, strengthening the communities where they live. Food Bank of Iowa serves 55 counties in Iowa’s central corridor and southeast corner. Michelle’s goals include improving the quantity, efficiency, and nutrition of the Food Bank’s distributions.
Prior to this position, Michelle most recently led Community & Academic Relations for DuPont Pioneer. In this role, she was responsible for global corporate social responsibility efforts, including philanthropic giving, community betterment, employee engagement, academic outreach, and management of university relationships for Pioneer.
Michelle serve as a director on the Des Moines Botanical Garden and Brenton Arboretum boards. She is also a member of the Des Moines Noon Rotary and the Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance. Michelle was honored to be recognized as a Des Moines Woman of Influence in 2014.
Michelle is originally from Jefferson, Iowa and resides in Des Moines, Iowa. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in accounting from Iowa State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. Her career has spanned opportunities in hog farming, health care, and business management. In her free time, she enjoys sharing great food with interesting people, relaxing with yoga, and recreating in nature.
Online registration is available at:
Or call ISU Extension and Outreach-Buena Vista County office at 712-732-5056 or email
Katelyn Brinkerhoff
Program/Office Coordinator
ISU Extension and Outreach-Buena Vista County
Di Daniels
SALUD! of Storm Lake
Multicultural Health Coalition

Sarah Callihan
Americorps Civic Engagement Coordinator
Buena Vista University

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