National Farm-City Council Announces Panelists for 2011 Annual Symposium
"Childhood Obesity: The School Lunchroom Debate"

National Farm-City CouncilThree panelists will share their expertise on healthier lunch nutrition programs for America's youth at the annual National Farm-City Week Symposium, "Childhood Obesity: The School Lunchroom Debate," on Thursday, Nov. 17. The event will be held at the Locust Trace AgriScience Farm outside of Fayette, Kentucky, off the Newton Pike. The public is invited to attend.

In addition, Joe Norman, principal of the Fayette County (Kentucky) School System, will be the luncheon speaker, discussing the school's efforts at the Locust Trace Farm designed to help students learn more about agriculture as a career choice.

The purpose of the Symposium will be to explore the issues around childhood obesity in the United States and how it can be managed through healthier choices made available in the school lunchroom.

"The epidemic of childhood obesity – which usually continues on into adulthood – is an increasingly difficult situation to reverse throughout the United States," says Hugh Whaley, chairman of the National Farm-City Council. "If we can help children and young adults understand and accept their personal responsibility to develop healthy eating habits through improved food selection education and healthy choices in school lunch programs, coupled with adequate physical exercise opportunities, we'll go a long way toward managing this national problem."

The three Symposium panelists are:

* Kathy Belzer, manager of school programs, Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc.
* Kendall Mallory, Kentucky FFA president, University of Kentucky
* Michelle Coker, director of childhood nutrition programs, Fayette County School Systems

The Symposium begins at 10:30 a.m. EST. Discussions from 11 a.m. until noon will be broadcast live over the nationally syndicated AgriTalk radio show, hosted by nationally noted broadcaster Mike Adams. It will be followed by lunch from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

At the lunch, the National Farm-City Council will announce the winner of the first annual Charles Eastin Outstanding Service Award. This award pays tribute to an outstanding individual who has contributed to Farm-City activities as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. It is named after the late Charles Eastin, Fayette County veterinarian, who worked to link those from rural and urban communities.

Luncheon speaker Joe Norman of the Fayette County Public Schools, the third largest school system in Kentucky, will discuss how the school has integrated the Locust Trace AgriScience Farm within its curriculum. The $18 million, 80-acre facility opened last August with the start of the 2011-2012 academic year. It is designed to help students learn the basics of agriculture so they can pursue careers in the field, such as veterinarians, farm managers, agriculture teachers or other opportunities. After the luncheon, a tour will be offered for those interested.

For more information on the National Farm-City Council Symposium on "Childhood Obesity: The School Lunchroom Debate," contact Holly Fritz at 610.621.2253 or

The event kicks off National Farm-City Week from Nov. 18-24, ending on Thanksgiving, and celebrates the important partnership between farm and urban residents in providing the nation with a bounty of food, fiber, fuel and a growing list of other products.

The National Farm-City Week, recognized by a White House proclamation, is organized by the National Farm-City Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing links between farm families and urban residents. The Council provides local organizations with educational programs about people who grow their food.

For those interested in organizing a local Farm-City event, go to the National Farm-City Web site at or call 202.406.3706.

The National Farm-City Council is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Service Code.