The News in Food

conferences join forces to grow local food knowledge

Katie Venit

Seedlings never looked so damn tough.

I’m surely not the only Foodie geeking out about the line-up for the Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference and Wisconsin Local Food Summit. The three keynote addresses are being delivered by stars in the agriculture world. Local hero Michael Perry (author of Coop, which made my backyard-chicken-rearing sister-in-law very happy this Christmas) will describe the dangers of standing behind sneezing cows. Award-winning journalist and food sleuth Melinda Hemmelgarn will talk about changing our culinary direction to steer towards more sustainable options. However, the keynote that excites me the most is being delivered by the George Washington Carver of our time, Will Allen, who will discuss his efforts to bring healthy meats and produce – and jobs – to Milwaukee. If you haven’t yet read the NY Times article about him, you should (Street Farmer, July 1, 2009). His Growing Power organization is changing the way we think of local produce, moving it from rural fields to inner-city greenhouses in working-class neighborhoods. In addition to these awesome keynotes, 36 breakout sessions will cover topics for amateurs and professionals such as “Food Drying for Everybody,” “Building a Brand in Today’s Economy,” and “Can Meat be Sustainable?” The Conference and Summit also includes a trade show, round table discussions, a World Café round table forum, and a Driftless Region “Open Space” discussion. Get online and register for this event right away!

    12th Annual Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference and 4th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit • Jan. 21-22 • Ramada Convention Center, 205 S Barstow St., Eau Claire • $120 adults, $50 kids, $70 students • 834-9672 •

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