What are the right kinds of new farms or food businesses in any particular region? How do they identify the missing links and opportunities within the local food system? And how can these businesses best get off the ground and possibly affect the global economy of food? Can larger national or multinational businesses be responsible players in local food systems? What are the challenges with adapting your food business model amidst a changing environment? We will explore that question through conversations with the principals of recently-launched farm/food enterprises, with leaders of larger, established businesses, with investors, and with other professionals who work in the farm/food sector, using a case-study approach as well as topical panels.
Can local food systems be holistic? How is it possible to distribute all food products and not just the cherry-picked ones (i.e. the whole pig, the whole crop cycle)? These sessions will explore some of these questions and cover other topics within food systems like: transportation, aggregation, processing, distribution (localism versus globalism, rightsizing the food networks), Urban farming — food hubs — CSAs and other direct-to-consumer sales systems.
How do we eat not just to nourish but to secure our wellness? What are the challenges of eating for right now versus eating right for long-term personal health? How do we empower ourselves with the knowledge and understanding about food rather than suffer from analysis paralysis while navigating the food terrain? Food is not just our nourishment and in this track we will explore the connection between food, body, mind and spirit. Other topics to be explored within the Nourishment and Wellness track include: concepts about slow medicine, herbs, health, wellness, additives, and some practical demonstrations.
Food and access to it has become controversial in our country. In addition to eating right and supporting local questions arise about who can gain access to good food. As we explore Food Justice and Access, we will not only discuss the accessibility to the food movement but also workers rights (the migrant farm workers involved in helping to supply the good food), humane treatment of animals, and access. Is good food just for those who can afford it and can easily access it?
Should our local, state, and federal government be involved in setting the parameters for how we access food to encourage healthier habits (for example, junk food and soda tax)? Can our policy makers play a role to help small business maximize the value of local food economies? The Food Policy sessions will explore local, state, national farm/food policies and trends.