The City of Creativity

October 17, 2013

mag useAs I settled into my hotel in San Francisco last night, I noticed the magazine on my coffee table dubbing San Francisco the City of Creativity. I have to admit that the New Yorker in me did a slight guffaw. Sure, San Francisco has a lot going for it. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s full of character and culture. Not to mention that everyone on the streets seems to be fit and genuinely cheerful. But the City of Creativity? Well, this claim was harder to buy.

I should mention that I came to San Francisco to attend an event held at Ketchum yesterday evening in recognition of World Food Day at which critical issues to food and hunger were discussed. The statistics related to world hunger and nutrition are staggering. It’s an epic problem that is going to require the attention and collaboration of people in a variety of roles and sectors across the world. But as my colleague Amy pointed out in her blog post yesterday, it is also the single greatest solvable problem facing the world today.

So as part of this event, about 60 attendees from a variety of backgrounds, but all with a common interest in food, came together to hear from Ketchum experts about food trends and insights, as well as to brainstorm ways in which we might address the hunger crisis. Groups considered questions ranging from pre-natal nutrition to making the food system more sustainable to the conversion to new farming practices.

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The discussion was lively and passionate. It was clear that regardless of their background, attendees quickly cast aside their current role to assume their common one of global citizen. All seemed to feel a genuine sense of responsibility towards this issue. Ideas ranged from massive in scale to smaller, local initiatives. But they had one thing in common – they were all inspiring.

I think each person left last night’s event with a better understanding of how people engage with food, the confidence that it is possible to eradicate world hunger and the hope that it’s not too far away. I know I did. That combined with the belief that San Francisco may just be the City of Creativity after all.

A veteran of Ketchum, Jackie has held multiple roles within the agency. She currently oversees marketing and strategic planning for the agency’s global food and brand practices. Amidst a life of chaos juggling a family, house, career and the increasingly rare trip to the gym, Jackie finds her inner Zen at the beach and may even have salt water coursing through her veins. You can find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – @jackburt10.