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Science, Democracy, and a Healthy Food Policy: Program

Forum main page | Public comment page | Working group participants


4:30 – 5:00

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Emcee and Moderator: Don Shelby, former WCCO-TV anchor

“Apple a Day” Video

Welcome from University of Minnesota
John Finnegan, dean, School of Public Health

Welcome from the Union of Concerned Scientists
Kathleen Rest, executive director, Union of Concerned Scientists

Video message
RADM Boris D. Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General

The State of Food Policy: The Challenge Ahead
Ricardo Salvador, director, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Opening Keynote
R.T. Rybak, former mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota

5:00 – 6:00

Panel and Discussion

Learning from Local: How states and localities are stepping up and leading the charge for a healthier, safer, more sustainable food system

Three leaders share their successful models for impactful initiatives and explore the potential for local enterprises to inspire change at the regional or federal level.


  • Paula Daniels, founder, Los Angeles Food Policy Council
  • Yael Lehmann, executive director, The Food Trust
  • Mindy Kurzer, chair, Minnesota Food Charter Steering Committee

Join the moderated discussion on information needs, advocacy strategies, and lessons learned from panelists’ and attendees’ experiences that can help you build upon a successful local initiative.

6:00 – 7:00

Panel and Discussion

Now Is the Time for Science to Step Up and Be Heard: How science can become a valuable partner in advancing a healthier food system

Experts discuss the gaps in scientific knowledge and the barriers to information accessibility that must be overcome in order to develop better food policy, and strategies for making science and research a stronger resource for policy makers.


  • Edward Ehlinger, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Public Health
  • Pakou Hang, executive director, Hmong American Farmers Association
  • Lynn Silver, senior advisor for chronic disease and obesity, Public Health Institute
  • Michele Simon, public health lawyer; author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back

Participate in the conversation and learn how you can help make scientific information a useful resource for concerned citizens, engaged advocates, and policy makers  who care about healthier food.

7:00 – 7:15

Closing Remarks

Andrew Rosenberg, director, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists

7:15 – 8:15