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Nashville Scene: Tennessee Local Food Summit Plans Most Ambitious Program Yet
Three-day conference moves to Montgomery Bell Academy for its seventh iteration
The seventh annual Tennessee Local Food Summit will take place this year Dec.1-3 at Montgomery Bell Academy’s campus at 4001 Harding Road. Organized by Jeff Poppen, best known as The Barefoot Farmer, this year’s summit makes the bold assertion the “Middle Tennessee farmland once fed Nashville; it will again.”
To reach this vision, Poppen has gathered multiple panels of local, regional and national food and farm advocates for educational workshops and networking opportunities. Some of Nashville’s best and most forward-thinking chefs will also participate in the panels and prepare meals for attendees.
Poppen has been an advocate for local food for more than four decades, growing his own food and selling his wares from one of the oldest and largest organic farms in Tennessee, Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs. But don’t get the impression that this summit is just a meeting of old tie-died hippies advocating some sort of return to agrarianism.
The Tennessee Local Food Summit is dead serious about improving the economics of local food production and consumption and has invited one of the most respected food systems analysts in the country to address the conference. Ken Meter is known for his work that integrates the technical sides of business development and marketing analysis with the fuzzier concepts of social concerns and development of successful systems. He has undertaken an analysis of the Nashville food system and will be talking about his findings as part of the summit.
Other local and regional experts who will participate in educational sessions include Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain; Ian McSweeney, executive director of Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation; Mac Wilson of Community Garden; Susana Lein of Salamander Springs Farm; Robin Fazio of the Baylor School; Paul Bela of Hill & Hollow Farm; Jay Williams of Williams Honey Farm; Loran Shallenberger of Bells Bend Farms; Alfred Farris of Windy Acres Farm; Bill Kenner of Sequatchie Cove Farm; and Tasha Kennard of the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Go to the official event website for a full schedule of seminars.
Nashville chefs participating in cooking demonstrations include Tandy Wilson from City House, Julia Sullivan from Henrietta Red, Eric Zizka of Oak Steakhouse and Tony Galzin from Nicky’s Coal Fired, and meals will be provided by local partners Husk Nashville and Lockeland Table.
The Tennessee Local Food Summit will take advantage of many of the facilities at the host venue, Montgomery Bell Academy’s campus. Events will take place in the school’s Hogwarts-like dining hall, also utilizing MBA’s kitchens, classrooms, and lecture halls. Students from MBA’s entrepreneurship, health and wellness, and conservation societies will take part in the conference sessions, as well as providing volunteer manpower for the weekend. Free parking will be available in the MBA parking garage off Wilson Boulevard.
“MBA is thrilled to serve as host for Tennessee Local Food Summit,” said MBA Headmaster Brad Gioia. “The event and its mission provides a great opportunity for our boys to see the impact that the local food movement can have on our community,” he continued. “Last year, our students provided more than 4,800 hours of volunteer service to 26 organizations in the area, and we see MBA’s involvement in the Local Food Summit as a continuation of the school’s commitment to serving Middle Tennessee..”
Other workshops will be offered in topics ranging from backyard and community gardening, online marketing, the effects of agriculture on the environment, and more. Tickets for conference, which include all workshops, meals and free parking, are $75 each and can be purchased at Eventbrite in advance. This is an incredibly affordable admission for the chance to take part in this vitally important discussion for our community while learning and networking from some amazing experts in the field and enjoying food prepared by local heroes. Don’t dawdle on this one. Sign up for your tickets today!
Contact: Paul Lindsley
TENNESSEE LOCAL FOOD SUMMIT RETURNS DEC. 1-3
“Middle Tennessee Farmland Once Fed Nashville, It Will Again”
NASHVILLE, TN – (Nov. 7, 2017)—The Barefoot Farmer Jeff Poppen announced today the
The event features local, regional and national food and farm advocates including Nashville’s best chefs showcasing delicious, locally grown organic meals, educational workshops, networking and the celebration of Nashville’s growing local food movement.
Event Organizer Jeff Poppen, the Barefoot Farmer, is the owner and operator of one of the oldest and largest organic farms in Tennessee, Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs. Poppen has spent the last 40 years growing his own food and wants to share his vision that “Middle Tennessee farmland once fed all of Nashville, and it will again.”
This year’s event features Ken Meter, one of the most experienced food system analysts in the United States. His work integrates market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. Ken will be reviewing and discussing the Nashville Food System Analysis Report.
Additionally, local and regional experts will participate in sessions, including, Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain, Ian McSweeney, Executive Director of Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation, Mac Wilson of Community Garden, Susana Lein of Salamander Springs Farm, Robin Fazio of the Baylor School, Paul Bela of Hill & Hollow Farm, Jay Williams of Williams Honey Farm, Loran Shallenberger of Bells Bend Farms, Alfred Farris of Windy Acres Farm, Bill Kenner of Sequatchie Cove Farm and Tasha Kennard of the Nashville Farmer’s Market. A complete schedule can be found on our website, http://www.tnlocalfood.com.
Nashville Chefs Tandy Wilson from City House, Julia Sullivan from Henrietta Red, Eric Zizka of Oak Steakhouse and Tony Galzin from Nicky’s Coal Fired will be participating in cooking demonstrations, along with featured meals provided by local partners Husk Nashville and Lockeland Table.
The Tennessee Local Food Summit will make use of several areas of the Montgomery Bell Academy campus, including the school’s Dining Hall, kitchens, classrooms, and lecture halls. Students from the MBA Entrepreneurship, Health and Wellness, and Conservation Societies will take part in the conference sessions as well as provide manpower for the event. Parking will be available in the MBA parking garage off Wilson Boulevard.
“MBA is thrilled to serve as host for Tennessee Local Food Summit. The event and its mission provides a great opportunity for our boys to see the impact that the local food movement can have on our community.
Last year, our students provided more than 4,800 hours of volunteer service to 26 organizations in the area, and we see MBA’s involvement in the Local Food Summit as a continuation of the school’s commitment to serving Middle Tennessee,” said MBA Headmaster Brad Gioia.
During the three-day event, workshops will be offered in backyard and community gardening, online marketing, the effects of agriculture on the environment and more. Tickets for conference which include all workshops, meals and free parking are $75 each and can be purchased at Eventbrite in advance.
About Tennessee Local Food Summit
As a peak year-end event fostering this change, the Tennessee Local Food Summit is December 1-3, 2017 and will be held at Montgomery Bell Academy, sponsored by Barefoot Farmer, LLC and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Food Project, Nashville Grown and Vanderbilt Rooted Community Health. For more information, visit: www.tnlocalfood.com.
Montgomery Bell Academy is the oldest independent school for boys in Tennessee. Since 1867, the school has been dedicated to the ideal of helping young men reach their potential as gentlemen, scholars, and athletes. MBA is home to 15 National Merit Semifinalists, the top-ranked debate team in the country, the 2017 One-Act Play State Champions, and 16 varsity sports competing at the highest level.
“Barefoot Farmer” Jeff Poppen, host of Nashville Public Television’s long-running programVolunteer Gardener and one of the nation’s leading authorities on organic farming, will join a host of national experts on organic farming and nutrition, including award-winning local chefs, for a series of workshops and cooking demonstrations at the 2014 Tennessee Local Food Summit Dec. 5, 6 and 7 at Vanderbilt University.
The three-day event kicks off with dinner and music on the grounds of Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory, followed by workshops at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center, a concert and dinner at The University Club of Nashville, and on-site workshops at Bells Bend Neighborhood Farms.
The community event is being hosted by Health Plus, a division of Vanderbilt Health and Wellness, which houses three nationally recognized programs that provide support for the health and productivity of university employees as well as people throughout the Middle Tennessee region.
Registration for the summit and more information about this year’s speakers and workshops is available online at TNLocalFoodSummit. Space is limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged.
Poppen operates one of the oldest and largest organic farms in Tennessee, writes a local column about his organic farming musings for the Macon County Chronicle, hosts a popular public television program on WNPT and is the author of two books.
The Farm to Table movement has received growing national attention in recent decades as consumers have become more aware of the health, nutritional and local economic benefits of buying direct from local farms. Even larger, more established food service companies and grocery store chains are now offering their customers more fresh, locally grown produce and farm products.
In addition to Poppen, this year’s event will feature experts and chefs speaking on a wide range of topics from backyard gardening, organic agriculture, rural economies, and nutrition to cooking and climate change.
The speakers include:
- Ken Meter, president of the Crossroads Research Center in Minneapolis. Meter is one of the foremost foods systems analysts in the nation, serving as a consultant to the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and several universities.
- Steve M. Johnson, medical director of Evergreen Medical Centre in Louisville, Kentucky. Johnson is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine with a special focus on the connection of rational spiritual medicine to health.
- Hugh Williams, an organic and biodynamic farmer for more than 40 years. Williams is an expert orchardist who is widely respected for his experience running successful fruit businesses and a self-contained farm.
- John Ikerd, professor of agriculture and applied economics at the University of Missouri. Ikerd is an expert on sustainability, agriculture and economics and how the three are related.
- Mark Bader, owner of Free Choice Enterprises. With expertise in ruminants and grazing concerns, Bader travels the world advising livestock owners on pasture-performance issues.
- Richard McDonald, also known as “Dr. Bug,” is a leading expert in organic pest management. He works as the biological control administrator and state apiarist for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
- Hugh Lovell, an author and expert on the origins and developments of biodynamic farming, soil health and sustainable agriculture.
- Susana Lein speaking on Permaculture.
This year’s summit also will feature live cooking demonstrations by these local award- winning chefs:
- Tyler Brown, executive chef of Nashville’s Capitol Grille;
- Sean Brock, executive chef of Husk restaurant; and
- Sandor Katz, author of Art of Fermentation.
For more information on the 2014 Tennessee Local Food Summit and to register, visitTNLocalFoodSummit.
By: Holly Meyer
Chef Sean Brock welcomes the winter challenge of turning the abundance of seasonal root vegetables and greens into something exciting to eat day after day.
“Everybody always complains about cooking in the winter,” Brock said. “It pushes us to be creative. It pushes us to come up with new techniques.”
Brock, the chef at Husk restaurant in Nashville, explained and demonstrated his philosophy on eating foods that are in season Saturday during the Tennessee Local Food Summit.
“The idea of cooking by the season or buying by the season, to me it’s a way of looking at things. It’s a way of operating,” Brock said. “There’s an enormous amount of thinking involved, but the reward is amazing.”
Brock grew up eating with the seasons out of necessity, and it continues to impact how he thinks about and handles food. He was raised in rural Virginia far from any restaurants.
“You had to cook at home every single day. We grew everything, and I thought everyone did that. I was so far back in the mountains that I just assumed that’s how people lived,” Brock said.
Incorporating seasonal foods into daily dishes was one of many topics discussed at this year’s Tennessee Local Food Summit. In addition to the kitchen, the summit’s workshops focuses on science, gardening, economics and spirituality.
The Tennessee Local Food Summit was started by farmer Jeff Poppen in an effort to promote local, organic farming as a solution to climate change.
“It’s sort of networking of all these different fields in an effort for Middle Tennessee to once again get its food from Middle Tennessee,” Poppen said. “This event is just a byproduct of a large movement that is going on throughout the nation.”
Vanderbilt University’s staff and faculty wellness program, Health Plus, hosted this year’s program at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center because it matched well with the organization’s mission, said Brad Awalt, manager of Health Plus.
“Our mission at Health Plus is to provide programs and services that are designed kind of to help people lead healthier lives,” Awalt said. “We thought it was a great fit kind of parallel with some of the programing that we do, and so we were able to make it happen.”
The summit continues Sunday with more workshops and a farm tour. Visittnlocalfood.com for more information.
Reach Holly Meyer at 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.