Heartland Summit: A Key Step Towards a Sustainable Food System


I’m excited to be attending the Heartland Summit this coming Thursday (July 29, 2023). This Summit is vital for anyone interested in creating a sustainable food system. The summit is bringing together leaders from 12 Midwestern states to discuss the importance of American global engagement and the role of U.S. farmers in feeding a growing global population. With more than 160,000 viewers, the summit hopes to demonstrate bipartisan support for sustainable food systems and highlight the interconnectedness of local and global economies.

Jon Nash from Cargill, USGLC’s Heartland Partnership Chair, will kick off the summit by explaining how U.S. farmers will be critical to meeting the demand to feed an additional two billion people who will be living on the planet 30 years from now. Last year, 155 million people globally faced acute hunger, and half of global food aid comes from America’s Heartland. The summit is focused on emphasizing the urgency of addressing global hunger and the role U.S. farmers can play in ensuring food security for all.

Members of Congress from both parties will participate in the summit, to find common ground on the importance of American global engagement. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) will discuss how Minnesota exported over $20 billion last year while supporting thousands of jobs with great Minnesota companies like Cargill and Land O’Lakes. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) will discuss the importance of partnerships in taking on the world’s greatest challenges. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) will speak about the importance of continuing the U.S.’s history of global leadership. Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) will discuss how global leadership must come from both muscle and hustle, while Representative Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04) will demonstrate how exporting creates markets that help local communities.

The summit will also feature the mayors from across the Heartland who have proclaimed Tuesday, September 28th, as “U.S. Heartland Global Leadership Day.” The mayors will showcase the importance of local connections in promoting American global leadership and highlight how their cities are promoting sustainable food systems and global engagement. As Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said, “It’s incumbent on all leaders – local, regional, national – to explain to Americans how interconnected the world is.”

Finally, the summit will feature Kent Winter, a fifth-generation Kansas farmer who grows half of his crops for overseas markets. Winter emphasized the critical role of foreign aid in creating markets and promoting sustainable food systems. He has stressed that from his perspective from the tractor seat, foreign aid and American global engagement are priceless.

Attending the Heartland Summit is vital for anyone interested in creating a sustainable food system. The summit will highlight the critical role of U.S. farmers in feeding a growing global population, the urgency of addressing global hunger, and the importance of American global engagement. With bipartisan support and input from business and community leaders, the summit will showcase the interconnectedness of local and global economies and emphasize the need for leaders at all levels to promote sustainable food systems and American global leadership.

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