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Food system analyst Ken Meter has seen various U.S. communities take his research and incorporate creative ways to make a thriving local food economy from connecting food buyers to local farmers, building better package and storing facilities cutting down on food transportation costs to helping farmers market themselves better. His studies and community initiatives will be part of his talk, “Building a Local Food Economy” at the Tennessee Local Food Summit December 7 at Trevecca Nazarene University.
“I am happy to be coming,” said Meter whose work integrates market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. “I want to learn more about food issues emerging in Nashville.” His keynote address is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and his workshop begins at 1:30 p.m. Other topics to be discussed at the summit by over a dozen speakers include permaculture, water conservation, fermenting vegetables, gardening and the effects of local food on health, the environment, spirituality and social justice issues.
Meter plans to speak with local people about what they are doing and achieving and what obstacles they are up against. He is excited to learn more about Tennessee’s potential to create a local food economy as he has only worked in a few counties in Tennessee as part of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Meter is very interested in the state’s ability to have an extended growing season for produce – “there is a lot of potential for some interesting production early and longer in the year.”
His talk will include some 100 U.S. regional food studies he has done and how to create opportunities for everyone in the network by showing people what has worked in other places. He will discuss how money flows in a region, the economic reality for farmers, ways to make farming more rewarding for farmers, what the local market for food is and how much consumers are buying as well as share how to build connections between local farms with local markets.
As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter holds 41 years experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building which helps people to understand the obstacles that inhibit themselves, governments and organizations from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing their abilities to help them achieve measurable and sustainable results. The non-profit organization consults other groups, academic partners, foundations and the government about building strong local economies, fostering community-based food systems, planning for and measuring sustainability, working in complex, changing systems, working with ethnic and cultural communities and evaluating community initiatives.
In the last few years, Meter has watched as the local food movement has become a “very strong” social movement with people in every state of the U.S. becoming interested in where their food comes from and the farmers who produce their food. “It is a very interesting movement transforming American society in a pretty profound way,” said Meter.
“The thing that is exciting about the movement is that farmers, consumers and professional people, all in business together, most everyone has something to gain. I hope that we can increase the chance for people to work together to design more effective strategies of where people want to go.”
He hopes those who attend his talk will “take localizing food supplies more seriously both with an awareness of the strengths of the region and its obstacles and learn some practical ideas that people can use in the Greater Nashville area. I want to help them design and build the food system they deserve to have.”
The third annual summit begins Friday December 6 with a 6 p.m. reception at Sloco, 2905 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204. The workshops on Saturday, December 7 begin at 9:00 a.m. December 7 at the Boone Business Building at Trevecca Nazarene University, 333 Murfreesboro Road, Nashville, TN 37210, and include a chef-made lunch. Saturday night at 6 p.m., Corsair Distillery will host summit attendees for a farm-to-table dinner and entertainment by indie rocker Will Kimbrough. Sunday, December 8, at 10 a.m., it’s back to Trevecca for a tour of the aquaponics operation followed by a tour of Delvin Farms greenhouses at noon. The full price of the three-day summit is $100 per person but discounts and single event tickets are also available.
by Heather Foust
Early next month, several organizations concerned with the development of Middle Tennessee produce will hold the third annual Tennessee Local Food Summit. This year’s event spans three days, Dec. 6-8, and includes a day of educational workshops, a tour of Delvin Farms, and meals prepared by some of Nashville’s best chefs. Chefs from Husk Nashville, Perl Catering, Yeast Nashville, City House, and Juice Brothers are scheduled to participate.
The event kicks off the evening of Friday, Dec. 6, with a reception at Sloco, the local-and-sustainable- food oriented sandwich shop owned by chef Jeremy Barlow, author of Chefs Can Save the World. It will include bites made from locally sourced produce and talks from some of the workshop presenters.
The main event on Saturday will be held at Trevecca Nazarene University. The workshops topics include backyard gardening, urban homesteading, permaculture, and the effects of local food on health, the environment, spirituality and social justice issues from notable sources such as Jeff Poppen, “the Barefoot Farmer,” and Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center. Corsair Distillery will host Saturday evening’s dinner, which includes entertainment from Will Kimbrough.
The summit will conclude with a visit to and tour of Delvin Farms on Sunday.
The cost of the summit is $100 per person. If you can’t make it to each event, you can buy tickets for individual portions of the summit. More information on individual event pricing is available on the website. The full schedule and additional workshop information is also available.
Tennessee Local Food Summit
Trevecca Nazarene University and other locations
Full admission: $100 (discounts and single-event tickets also available)
by Lesley Lassiter
Published in Nashville Scene Food Blog Bites
Middle Tennessee farmland once fed Nashville, and many farmers, educators, chefs and retailers are working to make this a reality once again. Scheduled for Saturday, December 7, The Tennessee Local Food Summit, is helping to foster this change. In addition to a full-day of educational workshops and networking, many of Nashville’s best chefs will contribute dishes for a delicious, locally grown organic lunch and supper. This year’s event will be held at Trevecca Nazarene University, 333 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville.
Workshops will begin run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with sessions on backyard gardening, urban homesteading, permaculture, health, school and community gardens, food deserts and political issues. Speakers confirmed to date include: farmers Susana Lein of Salamander Springs Farm and Paul Entwistle of Red Springs Family Farm; Trevecca’s Environmental Projects Coordinator Jason Adkins; auto-immune cooking expert and author Mee Tracy McCormick, and integrative medicine and anthroposophic physician Dr. Steven Johnson. More to be announced later.
In addition to the Saturday workshops, there will be a 12 p.m. tour of Delvin Farms on Sunday, December 8th.
Learn how to grow your own food, how to find local food, how to use it, and why eating local is healthier. Explore how local food can boost our local economy, while at the same time keeping Tennessee’s lands and water healthy. Our mission is to promote the production and consumption of healthy local food.
For registration and additional information, go to http://tnlocalfood.com
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