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K-State Today

March 25, 2016

Food security presentation by Robert Egger, CEO of L.A. Kitchen, April 4

Submitted by David Procter

Robert Egger, CEO of L.A. Kitchen, will be a keynote speaker at A Day of Learning: Food Security Engagement Symposium. Egger will present "The Power of Food" at the symposium on Monday, April 4. K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development will host the event to share ideas on addressing food security in our communities and around the world. 

Egger is the founder of DC Central Kitchen and Campus Kitchens, and current CEO of L.A. Kitchen, which consists of five programs: Reclaim L.A., Empower L.A., Nourish L.A., Engage L.A. and Strong Food. 

The five areas work together, solving multiple issues at once. Using cosmetically unsalable food, healthy meals are created for social service agencies throughout the Los Angeles area. Those who prepare the meals are part of a 15-week culinary job-training program designed to assist emancipated foster youth and adults transitioning out of incarceration, so they may live productive lives.

Egger takes initiative in solving large-scale problems, going well beyond the cliché "killing two birds with one stone." "I'm after the whole flock," Egger said. 

In his presentation, Egger said he wants to speak specifically to millennials.

"[They're] looking for a way to combine the idea of making money and doing good," Egger said. "And what I'm hopefully going to do is inspire people to think beyond the kind of traditional boxes in which sometimes grown ups tell you you've got to exist … I just think those are boring old constructs."

Egger said growing up watching leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy inspired his work. "I saw it and took it to heart," Egger said. "I want to make a difference in the world."

What pointed him in his current direction began with a volunteer experience, when he was serving food to people waiting outside in the rain. "It's right and just to feed someone, but for someone to be out in the rain … I just thought that somehow we had gotten lost," Egger said. "So I just wanted to be part of sort of redrawing a map of how we do this."

This became the catalyst for Egger's work, and his presentation will feature a broad discussion about life and purpose. Ultimately, Egger said he hopes to answer the question, "how can someone live a tremendous and fulfilling life?"

Learn more or register for A Day of Learning: Food Security Engagement Symposium online