AMES, Iowa – Producers, consumers, business owners and anyone interested in developing Iowa’s local food system are invited to register for an upcoming conference, “Road Map for Resilience: Empowering Iowa’s Local Food Economy.”
The conference, sponsored jointly by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will take place on March 19-20, 2013, at the ISU Scheman Building.
John O’Sullivan, director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will give the keynote address. O’Sullivan is a leader of the North Carolina 10% Campaign, which has received national recognition for its progress toward the goal of keeping 10 percent of North Carolina’s food purchases within the state.
“The campaign has demonstrated to people quite clearly that there is a serious market for local food,” O’Sullivan said.
Lynn Heuss, Leopold Center program assistant and conference organizer, said she intends the conference to forge partnerships that will spark a similar statewide campaign in Iowa.
“The conference is open to everyone, from moms who want access to healthier food for their kids, to restaurant and franchise owners, to production farmers and community supported agriculture operators,” Heuss said. “Food impacts everyone and we want to have as many voices at the table as possible.”
Breakout sessions in the mornings and afternoons will be led by three nationally recognized experts: Anupama Joshi, executive director of the National Farm to School Network; Diane Endicott of Good Natured Family Farms; and Susan Futrell, who works at a Boston nonprofit food hub called Red Tomato.
Participants will learn the latest about business management, beginning and minority farmers and food incentives such as Farm to School and Farm to Institution. Each session will include four “storytellers” who will share insights from Local Food and Farm Initiative- and Leopold Center-funded projects on local foods.
The conference also will include vendor exhibits and guided networking opportunities. Iowa State will provide locally produced options for a continental breakfast and lunch.
Register online at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/roadmap. The registration fee, which includes meals, is $75. Students can register for $25 (early) or $40 at the door.
Contact Lynn Heuss for more information at 515-201-9405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.