Participant Media, Active Voice Fight Childhood Obesity

Funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, campaign includes national screenings of documentary “Food, Inc.”

Participant Media and Active Voice have joined forces for a yearlong social action program around the issues of food access and childhood obesity.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the program is one component of Participant Media’s social action campaign for its Oscar-nominated documentary "Food, Inc." It includes screenings of the film in 30 communities across the country, plus panel discussions and advocacy engagement to increase the availability of affordable healthy foods for all Americans.

The initiative aims to support a growing national movement to reverse epidemic rates of obesity among children and adolescents, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.

The initiative focuses on African-American, Latino and lower-income communities where food issues are most acute, including materials distributed in both English and Spanish. Organizers are partnering with local groups to strengthen efforts to engage residents and policymakers. 

Events since the program was launched last fall have been held in communities including Fresno, Calif., as part of the Central California Obesity Prevention Program; in Odanah, Wis.,al as part of the Bad River Tribe (Chipewa) Healthy Lifestyles program; in Redding, Calif., in association with the Shasta-Cascade Food and Farm Coalition; and in Detroit with EcoZoic Detroit and Detroit Abides.

“Thanks to the generous grant to our colleagues at Active Voice from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are bringing Food, Inc. and its important messages to communities that are among the most significantly affected by poor food access,” said John Schreiber, Participant Media’s executive VP of social action. “We are raising awareness and inspiring on-the-ground activism.”

"’Food, Inc.’ features the stories of brave people who are standing up to take control of their food system," said Ellen Schneider, executive director of Active Voice. "This campaign is about encouraging others throughout the country to stand up too, particularly around the urgent problem of childhood obesity."

The $248,000 grant is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s commitment to reverse childhood obesity by 2015.