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Closing the food gap

01 May 2010

A long-time US food activist and author is set to reveal what he believes to be the key to reducing hunger, food insecurity and obesity in America, and whether any comparisons can be made with the UK.

America may be known as the land of plenty yet food deserts, food insecurity, and food banks are common for one class of Americans, while organically produced food is ever more prevalent for another. The question of how to redress this balance will be investigated in a public lecture at Cardiff University by Mark Winne, Food Policy Council Director for the Community Food Security Coalition (US) and author of 'Closing the Food Gap'.

Held as part of the School of City and Regional Planning’s Innovation and Engagement programme, Mark’s lecture will reveal the chasm between the two food systems of America - the one for the poor and the one for everyone else, explore the route of these food disparities, look at strategies to reduce it, and consider comparisons between the US and UK and will be chaired by Professor Kevin Morgan.

Professor Morgan, himself an author of books about public food and the challenge of sustainable development, said: "Next to air and water, food is abasic human need, yet patterns of food consumption in America have become one of the most visible signs of inequality in the country, but they are not alone. This is a unique opportunity to hear some compelling solutions for making local, organic, and highly nutritious food available to everyone, which can be applicable on both sides of the Atlantic."

Mark Winne has worked for 35 years to close the food gap in America. From organizing breakfast programs for low-income children in Maine to developing innovative national food policies in Washington, DC, Mark has dedicated his professional life and writing to finding local, state, and federal solutions to America’s food disparities.

The public lecture will take place on Tuesday 11th May at 5.30pm in the University’s Glamorgan Building on King Edward V11 Avenue in Cardiff. The event is free and open to members of the public. Places can be booked by contacting Evelyn Osborne via email at


For more information contact:

Lowri Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
T: 02920 870 995

Notes to Editors

1. Mark Winne is a co-founder of a number of food and agriculture policy groups including the City of Hartford Food Policy Commission, the Connecticut Food Policy Council, End Hunger Connecticut!, and the national Community Food Security Coalition. He was an organizer and chairman of the Working Lands Alliance, a state-wide coalition working to preserve Connecticut’s farmland, and is a founder of the Connecticut Farmland Trust. Mark was a member of the United States Delegation to the 2000 World Conference on Food Security in Rome and is a 2001 recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Plow Honor Award. From 2002 until 2004, Mark was a Food and Society Policy Fellow, a position supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

2. Cardiff School of City and Regional Planning is the largest and most active planning school in the UK and has an outstanding record of academic achievement. Its teaching has been rated as ‘excellent’ and the latest government assessment of research in British universities has reinforced its status as the premier academic School of its type in Britain.
The School plays a leading international role in its fields of expertise and its research has an agenda-setting influence in key debates on the development, management and sustainability of cities and regions.
The School’s research is structured around five large research groups and is leading developments in environment; housing; spatial analysis; spatial planning and city environments; and urban and regional governance.

3. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.