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Mon, Jul 15


Virtual Seminar

Community Solutions for Food Security

This panel session will dive into the intersection of food security, underserved communities, and ways to empower individuals to make nutritious choices.

Community Solutions for Food Security
Community Solutions for Food Security

Time & Location

Jul 15, 2024, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT

Virtual Seminar

About the event

Join us for the July Edition of Gwen Lily Learning Series: "Community Solutions for Food Security," a virtual session exploring food security in underserved communities and empowering nutritious choices. Led by Jacqueline Davis-Slay and Damon House, and moderated by Dr. Tania M. Martin-Mercado, we'll discuss root causes of food insecurity, challenges faced by various demographics, and successful community-driven initiatives. Topics include delivering culturally sensitive nutrition education, addressing barriers to affordable nutritious food, and innovative solutions like mobile markets and community gardens. Learn how individuals and organizations can take action, with expected outcomes including increased awareness, practical strategies, and opportunities for collaboration and networking.

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Online

Cost: Free


  • 45-minute Panel Session
  • 15-minute Q&A Session

Key Topics:

  • Understanding food insecurity in underserved communitiesRoot causes and dynamics of food insecurity
  • Unique challenges faced by different demographics
  • Community-Based approaches to address food insecurityHighlight successful community driven initiatives
  • Promote nutritional education and food literacyBest practices for delivering culturally sensitive and accessible nutrition education
  • Address the affordability of nutritious foodExamine barriers to accessing affordable and nutritious food, such as food deserts, transportation, financial issues
  • Discuss innovative solutions like mobile markets, community gardens and food cooperatives
  • Empower community engagement and advocacy 

Expected Outcomes

  • Increased awareness and understanding of the complex issues surrounding food security, particularly in underserved communities
  • Equip attendees with practical knowledge and actionable strategies to address food insecurity in their own communities
  • Collaboration and networking among attendees to foster collective action

Speaker Bios

Jacqueline Davis-Slay

Mrs. Jacqueline A. Davis-Slay serves as Senior Advisor for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). The OSDBU provides maximum opportunities for small businesses to participate in USDA’s contracting process.  The office’s major goals are to provide oversight and accountability to the contracting authorities within USDA and outreach and small business assistance.  As the Senior Advisor, she coordinates with Departments and Agencies and interface with private sector entities to organize, direct, and develop contracting and procurement policies, procedures, and regulations for business growth. Mrs. Davis-Slay previously served as Deputy Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), which she assumed in 2019.  In 2014, Mrs. Jacqueline Davis-Slay served as the Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office of Public and Private Partnerships. The office provides vision, expertise, and leadership in order to build NRCS’ public-private partnership program to advance conservation activities through strategic coordination and planning with other USDA agencies, customers, stakeholders and agricultural industries.  

Mrs. Davis-Slay has over 30 years of Federal service with experience in legislative and  policy development, statistical analysis, fiscal and program management, service delivery and marketing with a particular interest in developing innovative partnerships and opportunities to assist vulnerable populations, socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource producers.

Prior to her position as Director of the Office of Public and Private Partnerships, Mrs. Davis-Slay served as the USDA Senior Policy Advisor for the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative.  She also held the position of Legislative Director for the Rural Development mission area, providing legislative guidance and direction for over 42 programs in three agencies.   In 2009, she served as Legislative Specialist for USDA’s Office of Congressional Relationship where she was one the primary liaison between the United States Congress and USDA.  She spent most of her career with NRCS, serving in a multitude of positions, such as Legislative Affairs Branch Chief, Acting State Conservationist, Program Manager, Program Analyst and Special Assistant.  She has worked in eleven USDA agencies and office, delivering exemplary and innovative customers service to America’s communities, farmers, ranchers, veterans and partners and stakeholders. 

A native of Port Gibson, MS, Mrs. Davis-Slay attained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Alcorn State University in Agricultural Economics.  She is married to Denmark V. Slay, the mother of one son, Denmark V. Slay, II and two dogs, Kobe, and Layla.

Damon House

Damon House brings his wealth of experience and strategic acumen to the Gwen Lily Research Foundation Board of Directors, where he serves as Treasurer. With a keen focus on digital innovation and cultural transformation, Damon plays a pivotal role in steering Gwen Lily Research Foundation towards new heights of success.

With over twenty-five years of extensive project and program management experience, Damon has honed his expertise in developing products and services across various sectors, including healthcare, education, and beyond. Damon's career trajectory has had him serving in key leadership positions at Microsoft, where he spearheaded growth initiatives and sales strategies. Prior to his tenure at Microsoft, Damon held influential roles as a Portfolio and Program Manager within the US Federal sector and the private sector.

Damon's profound impact in the management and operations consulting industry is evident through his instrumental role in defining and implementing cross-functional strategic initiatives across diverse sectors such as telecommunications, healthcare, and education. His leadership prowess extends to managing Marketing, Training, Deployment, Software Development, and other technical teams, demonstrating a versatile skill set crucial for driving organizational success.

Throughout his career, Damon has navigated the intricacies of strategic planning and governance for esteemed US Government agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Amtrak. In the private sector, he has established and managed Project Management Offices (PMOs) and Project Management Centers of Excellence (PMCoEs) to facilitate seamless project execution domestically and internationally.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Damon is a staunch advocate for diversity and inclusivity, championing these values within Gwen Lily Research Foundation and beyond. His commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace environment underscores his dedication to driving positive change and building a more equitable future.

As a Board Member at Gwen Lily Research Foundation, Damon House continues to leverage his vast experience and visionary leadership to propel the company towards unprecedented growth and success in the dynamic landscape of research and healthcare solutions.

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