Arthur M. Blank family foundation event to promote increased access to healthy foods in schools and neighborhoods

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series will host an expert panel on May 22, 2010, to promote innovative ways of providing schoolchildren and families in Georgia with greater access to healthy local foods. Featuring Food Network Chef Alton Brown, Yael Lehmann of The Food Trust and Anthony Geraci of the Baltimore City Schools, the event is part of the Foundation's ongoing work to reduce childhood obesity. 'Combined with our efforts to move more children from sedentary to active lifestyles, connecting families to fresh local foods is critical to reversing the obesity crisis,' said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. 'In neighborhoods where fresh food is scarce, rates of obesity, diabetes and related health problems hit children earliest and hardest.' The Speaker Series event is by invitation only, and reservations are required. The program will be available via live webcast from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET. No registration is needed to view the webcast. Click here for information on the webcast, or go to The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and its affiliated fund, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, have invested more than $16 million since 2002 to improve youth fitness in Georgia. Currently, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation focuses on five neighborhoods designated as Falcons Fitness Zones, where it is serving 10,000 kids at nearly 50 sites. As part of this effort, concurrent with the May 22, 2010, Speaker Series event the Foundation is announcing a $34,000 grant to Georgia Organics to provide hands-on farming and gardening experiences to more than 60 teachers and 500 elementary school students, along with support to improve meals served in school cafeterias. Further, Georgia Organics will produce a local-food widget. This web-based tool will enable users to identify nearby markets and restaurants offering local fare.(Contact Michael Wall at Georgia Organics for more information about this grant). In addition to Georgia Organics, several organizations are joining the Foundation's May 22, 2010, Speaker Series event to promote access to healthy foods. Partner organizations include Captain Planet Foundation, The Civic League for Regional Atlanta, Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Atlanta Local Food Initiative, Slow Food Atlanta, Wholesome Wave Foundation, Atlanta Development Authority, Georgia Children's Health Alliance, Multicast Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the Georgia PTA. About the Speakers: Alton Brown As host of Food Network's award-winning show Good Eats, Alton Brown is in American living rooms every evening, helping families learn easy ways to identify and prepare healthy food. As the main commentator for the Iron Chef TV show, Alton worked with the First Lady on a program where competing chefs worked with ingredients from the White House organic vegetable garden. Yael Lehmann Yael Lehman is executive director of The Food Trust in Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization recognized by the White House for its innovative approach to bringing healthy food choices to low-income neighborhoods considered 'food deserts.' The Food Trust will be expanding its work to Georgia this year. Anthony Geraci Since joining the Baltimore City Schools in 2008 as director of food and nutrition, Anthony Geraci has turned an abandoned 33-acre farm into a site for organic food production for local schools. Baltimore City Schools now source fresh fruits and vegetables from Maryland farms, resulting in increased revenue for the local farmers and millions of dollars in savings for the schools. About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series: By convening individuals around issues, innovations and ideas that will shape the quality of life for families in Atlanta and beyond, the Blank Family Foundation aspires to spur civic action and citizen involvement for positive change in people's lives. Visit the Foundation's web site for more information on the Speaker Series. (

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