Friday, July 09, 2010

Informal Forum (7/16/10): The Rising Cost of Food

Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, a civic engagement program of the Russell Library hosts public forums on a monthly basis to explore challenging public issues in a deliberative, civil way.

This month's deliberative forum takes up the challenging problem of the rising cost of food. According to the USDA in 2007 food prices in the U.S. rose 4.8. %. The impact of this sharp rise in prices during a time of significant economic turmoil is putting tremendous strain on individuals, families, and communities. Walk into any small neighborhood grocery store or big box supermarket and you will see people taking a second look at the price of food, checking with the store clerk to verify that a favorite item has not been mislabeled, or steering an under-stocked shopping cart into the checkout aisle. At the same time, visit local community food banks to see long lines of people hoping to get basic staples to simply sustain themselves. What has caused this rise in the price of food? What, if anything, can and should we as individuals, families, and communities do in response?

A Different Kind of Talk…

In this community forum we will explore this complex issue by working together to understand the issue better. With help from trained neutral moderators we will look at multiple approaches to the problem and consider both the benefits and consequences of each approach, as well as possible trade-offs. Finally, we will explore possible actions that might make a positive difference in our community. Throughout the forum we may find some areas of agreement among us, just as we will likely clarify areas where our beliefs and perspectives differ greatly. This robust and civil threshing of the tough public issues that we face is the foundation for vibrant and resilient community.

About the issue guide…
This forum will use the deliberative issue guide developed by Michigan State University Extension’s Public Deliberation Initiative. If you are interested in reading more about the issue, you can download the issue guide at

How to Find the Russell Library (Parking, Bus access, walking)
The Russell Library is located in the University of Georgia Main Library Building just off South Jackson Street in Athens, GA. Parking is available in the North Campus Parking Deck also on South Jackson St. Athens Transit and UGA Bus Service both serve the main library via the bus boarding zone on South Jackson Street.

The Russell Library maintains its own entrance on the West side of the Main Library building. Follow the path/steps down the right side of the main library building (the west facing side) and down the stairs to access our door. If you need handicapped access, please go to the main entrance of the Library and check in at the security desk.

More information:
For more information about this forum, please contact Jill Severn at 706-542-5766 or For more information about Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, visit

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