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The Many Faces of Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

The USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and local, state and federal government, business and not for profit organizations from twelve states in America’s heartland gathered at the conference.

This one-day conference hosted by USDA’s Illinois Rural Development & Food & Nutrition Service Midwest Region, offers organizations, state and federal agencies, institutions and others involved with agriculture an opportunity to learn about successful models, resources, strategies and opportunities for supporting, cultivating and growing local/regional food systems in the Midwest, including learning about available support from USDA agencies.

Monday, 11/17/14
8:00 AM
Continental Breakfast
8:30 AM
Opening Session
Overview of USDA Programs and Resources That Support Local Food Systems
Colleen Callahan, Rural Development Illinois Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
From Concept to Reality: USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant (A Multi-state Model of a Collaborative Initiative which Promotes Economic Development)
Amy Seeboth, Planning Manager, Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (RBOG Grantee)
David Bruce, Director of the Non-Dairy Pool, Organic Valley
David Parr, Owner, Parrfection Produce
10:00 AM
GE Lights Up Local Food Systems
Dan Walter, General Manager, General Electric, Food & Beverage Solutions
10:30 AM
Networking Break
11:00 AM
Panel Breakout A (Sessions Run Concurrently)
12:15 PM
12:30 PM
Lunch with Tasty Tidbits

Bite-sized presentations on best practices and successful strategies from across the region.

Alan Shannon, Public Affairs Director, Food and Nutrition Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food Safety
Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed.org
Amish GAP Certification
Mike Hari, Audit Manager, Equicert
Education and Training
Florence P Gushue, Foodtechies.com, Primuslabs
1:30 PM
1:45 PM
Panel Breakout B (Sessions Run Concurrently)
3:00 PM
Networking Break
3:30 PM
Panel Breakout C (Sessions Run Concurrently)
4:30 PM
Cocktail Connections
Union League Club, 65 W Jackson


Meaty Midwest Morsels and More Tasty Tidbits (a/k/a successful models) from the Midwest.

Colleen Callahan, Illinois State Director, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Christopher Ely, Co-Founder, Applegate Farms, Bridgewater, NJ
Wes Jarrell, Co-Owner, Prairie Fruits Farm, Champaign-Urbana, IL
Leslie Cooperband, Co-Owner, Prairie Fruits Farm, Champaign-Urbana, IL
Bob Heuer, Secretary, Illinois Local Foods, Farms and Jobs Council, Chicago, IL
Bartlett Durand, Owner, Black Earth Meats, WI
Session 1: Show Me the Money: Financing Local Food
Jean Pogge, Chief Executive Officer, Delta Institute
Trinita Logue, President and Chief Executive Officer, IFF
Warren Ribley, Director, Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development
Leland Strom, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Farm Credit Administration
Teri Lowinger, Founding Member, Sustainable Local Food Investment Group (SLoFIG)
Session 2: Farm to School
Julia Govis, Illinois Farm to School Program Coordinator, University of Illinois-Extension
Bob Bloomer, Regional Vice President, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality
Rochelle Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Healthy Schools Campaign
Barb Mechura, Director of Student Nutrition Services, Royal Cuisine, Hopkins, MN
Vanessa Herald, Great Lakes Region Farm to School Network Coordinator, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Session 1: Local Food Approaches from the Big Guys

Large companies with local food approaches/initiatives — national food service distributor, grocery retail and nonprofit — share information on their activities.

Cynthia Haskins, Manager of Business Development and Compliance, Illinois Farm Bureau
Craig Watson, Vice President of Sustainable Agriculture, Sysco Corporation
Tim Eberle, Director of Sales, W. Newell/Supervalu
Stefanie Garcia, Local Forager and Competitive Strategy Coordinator
Carole Peterson, Associate Produce Coordinator, Whole Foods
James Borys, Director of Fresh Produce, Feeding America
Session 2: To Market, To Market!

Direct retailers share information on purchasing and selling local foods.

Peter Hofherr, Chief Executive Officer, St. James Winery
Peg Shaeffer, Sandhill Organics, IL
Irv Cernauskas, Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, Chicago IL
Mark Olson, Owner, Renaissance Farms
Diana Endicott, Founder and President, Good Natured Family Farms’ Alliance, Kansas City, KS
Otavio Silva, GNFF Sustainability Director and Project Director, W.K. Kellogg Foundation GNFF Good Food + Good Business = Good Futures Program
Session 1: Local Food System Fundamentals
Karen Lehman, Fresh Taste
Rick Terrien, Executive Director, Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen
Timothy Lindsey, Director, Energy and Sustainable Business Programs, University of Illinois
Jessica Eikleberry, Market Manager, Local Roots, OH
Session 2: Urban Opportunities
Mike Gray, Professor and Assistant Dean, ANR Extension Programs, University of Illinois
Gerry Maguire, Vice President, Supply Chain, Greater Chicago Food Depository, IL
Patsy Benveniste, Vice President, Community Education Programs, Chicago Botanic Garden, IL
Ray Thompson, Director, Greater Englewood Urban Agricultural Task Force, Chicago, IL
Jifunza Wright Carter, Founder, Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Living & Healthy Food Hub, Chicago, IL





Last Updated: 04/19/2012

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