Tennessee Local Food Summit Returns to MBA
Eighth edition of the conference and expo will be bigger and better than ever
I always feel a little nervous about going on campus at Montgomery Bell Academy, a school where I had a, shall we say, less than auspicious exit midway through my (first) freshman year. But both the private school and I have done a lot of changing during the hrmmty-hrmmph years since my departure, and I’m pretty sure those cannons on the front lawn won’t be aimed at me when I return for the eighth annual Tennessee Local Food Summit.
I attended last year and was very impressed by the scale of the event and the commitment of organizer Jeff Poppen, the Barefoot Farmer and his staff of volunteers. This year’s summit will run Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and feature national and local speakers focusing on issues regarding health and wellness, food security and the restoration of local farms. There will also be chef demos and meals prepared by several forward-thinking local favorites.
Panel discussions will be led by local and regional experts in fields ranging from home gardening to fermentation. All of these sessions fit under Poppen’s overarching philosophy of the Local Food Summit: “Middle Tennessee farmland once fed Nashville, and it will again.” Headline speakers include agroecology farmer John Ikerd, author Robert Wolf and author Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain. Local experts will include Leah Larabell from High Garden Woodland Tea House, Alan Powell of Nashville Grown, Bob Woods of The Hamery, Tony Johnston from MTSU Fermentation, Ian McSweeney from the Agrarian Trust, Susana Lein from Permaculture, TSU researcher Paige Thompson, Alan Powell and Farm & Fiddle, Brandon Whitt from Batey Farms and Christian Spears from Tennessee Brew Works, along with chefs Irving Brown, Andrew Coins from Miel Restaurant and Deb Paquette of Etch Restaurant. (Watch this space tomorrow to learn about the cool stuff Whitt and Spears are doing with beer and local barley.)
You can check out the schedule for the entire conference at the event website, and tickets (which include all workshops, meals and free parking) are $100 each and can be purchased at Eventbrite in advance. Day tickets are also available.
MBA headmaster Brad Gioia is proud that students from the school’s Entrepreneurship, Health and Wellness, and Conservation societies will take part in the conference sessions as well as provide manpower for the event, and that the school can host again.
“We are pleased to welcome the Tennessee Local Food Summit back to MBA,” says Gioia. “Last year’s event provided a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about the benefits of the local food movement, as well as to open up our campus to the larger community. The food summit fits perfectly with MBA’s commitment to serving Middle Tennessee. While service hours are not required by the school, our boys have contributed nearly 5,000 hours of community service to more than two dozen organizations in the past year.”
He’s a good man, that one. See, I told you we both had grown!