As a TEDx speaker, registered dietitian, and food dignity crusader, Clancy Harrison challenges the way food insecurity is approached in the United States. Her mission to transform the food culture places her on the cutting edge of food advocacy.
Clancy a world-class expert who speaks to over 100,000 experts each year. She is the creator and consultant of Food Dignity, a strategic program for organizations who want to shift how they approach health and wellness by making food access a priority for their clients. She saves the lives of thousands of people through her work with healthcare professionals, non-profit organizations, corporations, and universities.
Currently, Clancy is an Ambassador of the National Dairy Council, the President of the Al Beech West Side Food Pantry, and teaches at the Pennsylvania State University. She is the founder of multiple grassroots anti-hunger projects and is a lead researcher and co-author of the forthcoming Hunger Corporate Guidebook for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
HUNGER: Hidden epidemic in America
Hunger is silently sweeping the United States—and few of us feel it. 40 million people (12 million children) struggle to find their next meal. Surprisingly, hunger (food insecurity) effects mostly the middle class of suburban America. A temporary financial crisis can push a family into poverty overnight. Something as common as a job loss, death in the family, a car breaking down, a natural disaster, or reduced working wages can create the cycle of food insecurity.
And there’s another big barrier to feeding the hungry:
Nearly 40% of the people who qualify for food assistance do not utilize these programs because of internal and external shame.
To win the war on hunger, Clancy Harrison is on a mission to dignify food access. She says, “Dignifying a food access, humanizes the food assistance process and helps remove shame. We make our clients feel comfortable while doing one of the most humiliating things, asking for food.”
Clancy Harrison, a TEDx Speaker, Author and Food Justice Advocate, believed (at one point) hunger mostly impacted people living in generational or chronic poverty. When she became the President of a large food pantry in 2011, she also assumed people utilizing the food pantry services would be jobless citizens living on welfare who would take advantage of the system. She was wrong and now fights hunger with one seed, one meal, and one mind at a time
Facing her own misconceptions on poverty as a speaker for Congressional briefings, Clancy is now the voice and thought leader transforming the way hunger is approached in the United States.
Clancy has been called a “precision hitter who sees the problem from the inside out.” Her humor, humility, honesty, and practical strategies combined with her research-based expertise make her a highly sought after speaker. Clancy’s ability to fuse real life experiences with statistics gives her audiences “permission” to experience profound shifts in their perceptions of hunger and poverty in the United States—and to let go of any long-standing or newly found shame.
Let’s flip the food culture conversation.
Clancy works with top organizations to transform their approach to better serve the underserved children and families, ultimately helping organizations hit outcome goals, maintain funding, and improve the health of their clients through food dignity. Clancy has learned that a one-size approach does not fit all and they way public health is approaching nutrition education is wrong.
Instead of jumping right into healthy eating education to fight disease, educators and healthcare professionals should be discussing access to a steady supply of food first. “For many clients, it may never be about the broccoli,” says Clancy, but how to put the next meal on the table. “Little did I know that many people were surviving solely on pancake mix.”
Can we end false assumptions?
In her TEDx talk, Clancy says, “Like most healthcare professionals, I was missing a big piece of the puzzle. Blinded by my own privilege I never asked my clients if they could afford the food I wanted them to eat.” Clancy assumed her patients could afford the healthier food options she prescribed her patients and made two false assumptions: Medicaid patients are the only people who struggle with hunger and all Medicaid patients use food assistance programs such as food stamps to cope with hunger. She also learned that close to 40% of people don’t apply for food assistance due to shame.
I am a Food Dignity influencer who is transforming audiences!
Clancy’s inspiring talks have made her a favorite speaker for organizations of all kinds, from healthcare, education and government agencies, to Congress and universities. Topics she can address include:
Food Dignity Topics:
The Invisible Epidemic: The Hunger Secrets of Middle Class
5 Strategies to Eradicate Hunger
5 Biggest Myths about Hunger
5 Solutions to Affordable Meals
One-Size Doesn’t Fit All: Transforming Healthcare
Clancy has shared her advice with: ABC, PBS, CBS, Parents Magazine, Huffington Post, Today’s Dietitian, The Pennsylvania State University, Feeding America, Food & Nutrition Magazine, Relias, Egg Nutrition Center, and more.
Why is hunger important to everyone in the U.S. independent of industry?
In your TEDx talk, you own your misconceptions regarding poverty. Can you share some with us today? How do these misconceptions hurt us?
With nearly 40 million people (12 million children) in the United States suffering from food insecurity (hunger), I find it fascinating that you refer to hunger as an invisible epidemic. Can you explain what you mean?
Roughly 40% of the people who qualify for SNAP (otherwise known as food stamps) do not utilize food assistance programs. Why would families refuse the help of food assistance programs?
How is it possible that a family in middle class can experience hunger while living in a nice home and driving expensive cars?
When you speak to healthcare and governmental agencies about the dire consequences of using one-size fits all approach when educating a patient on the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, what do you tell them?
I noticed you use the #FoodDignity in all of your social media marketing. Can you explain what Food Dignity means, and give us examples of how you incorporate Food Dignity in your work?
What would you say to someone who believes their tax dollars should not be spent on food stamps?
I know you collected stories of hunger and presented them to members of Congress in 2015. Can you share a shocking story regarding the stigma with food assistance?
What is the most important thought you want to leave us with today?
TEDx Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HakCAdPrlms
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