Regional Food Summit to improve Rogue Valley’s food system March 8
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Mark Winne, food and agriculture author, will speak at the event
After a year of collaborative workshops held throughout Jackson and Josephine County to improve the local food system, Rogue Valley Community Food System Planning Process organizers are planning a full day Food Summit to assess results and plan for implementation.
The Food Summit, presented by ACCESS, The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy (Thrive), and the Food System Steering Committee, takes place Friday, March 8, at New Beginnings Church, 270 West Evans Creek Road, Rogue River, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sponsorship for this event has been provided by Ashland Food Co-op and the Jackson County Department of Health & Human Services.
Celebrated food and agricultural author and speaker Mark Winne will be the keynote presenter at the event. Hannah Ancel, ACCESS Community Food System Coordinator, will summarize the past year’s ambitious work and help outline future goals and plans for strategic implementation. Several expert panelists will also be featured at the event.
Cost to attend the Food Summit is $15 if pre-registered by March 5; the cost includes a lunch made from fresh, local ingredients. A limited number of spaces will be available at the door for $20. To register, go to www.tinyurl.com/b79dnln
Throughout the past year, ACCESS, Thrive, and the Oregon Food Bank have held several FEAST workshops and Community Food Conversations that brought interested community members together to help identify and change issues around hunger, nutrition, access to local food, and agriculture. The meetings allowed participants to engage in an informed and facilitated discussion about food, education and agriculture in their community and begin to work toward solutions together to help build a healthier, more equitable and more resilient local food system.
Those meetings have led up to the March 8 Food Summit, which will include an overview of the Food System Strategic Plan. Goals of the summit include sharing the outcomes of the Rogue Valley Food System Planning Process, fostering collaboration and leadership, and engaging the community of the Rogue Valley in making positive change across the food system.
“This is an exciting event in which we’re transitioning from a year of planning to actual implementation to improve the Rogue Valley food system,” said ACCESS’s Ancel, facilitator of the Food Summit and coordinator of the FEAST workshops and Community Conversations. “There are so many groups involved and it’s been very rewarding to see everyone working together through challenges. It has been an engaging process that has helped identify gaps and opportunities that affect our entire region.”
Winne is author of two books, Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty and Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart Cookin’ Mamas. He is also co-founder of a number of food and agriculture policy groups.
Food Summit events include both morning and afternoon breakout sessions with topics covering cooking skills education, healthy food access, local food infrastructure, local food marketing, community gardening, mapping food system resources, and measuring local food consumption.