Middle Tennessee has long been known for providing excellent produce and proteins, but so many local residents still don’t take advantage of our fertile farmland. The upcoming Tennessee Local Food Summitaims to shine a spotlight on these issues during their upcoming series of events Dec. 5-7. The summit, sponsored this year by Vanderbilt Health and Wellness, will offer opportunities to hear local chefs and farmers discuss strategies to better utilize indigenous products in our daily food preparation and will feature chefs preparing delicious meals using locally grown ingredients.The event will kick off on Friday, Dec. 5, with a chefs’ dinner at Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory, with a reception and a meal, plus musical entertainment by Beth Nielsen Chapman and Will Kimbrough. The participating chefs include: Andy Manchester, executive pastry chef at the Omni Hotel; Guerry McComas, executive chef of Nashville Restaurant Group; Jeremy Barlow, owner of Sloco and author of Chefs Can Save the World; Kristin Beringson, executive chef at City Winery Nashville; Laura Wilson, executive chef of the Grow Local Kitchen in the Nashville Farmers’ Market; and Richard Jones, executive chef at Green Door Gourmet.
On Saturday, the summit will convene at Vanderbilt’s Health and Wellness Center with conference sessions covering topics including the effects of farming on the environment, backyard and community gardening, business models and economic opportunities, personal stories of research, education and outreach programs, land stewardship and the spiritual side of farming and food, along with local chefs offering classes and demos in Vanderbilt’s “demonstration kitchen.”
On Saturday night, the University Club is the site of another chefs’ dinner with live music by Darrell Scott and friends. The summit concludes on Sunday with a tour of Bells Bend Farms. You can purchase tickets to the entire conference or take advantage of à la carte opportunities by visiting the event’s ticketing page.