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SD Local Foods Coalition Re-Energizes Efforts

Posted 3/20/2018 10:31am by SDSPA Marketing Contractor.

On March 1 –2 in Oacoma at the Arrowwood Resort, producers and agency representatives met to collaborate and re-energize efforts to grow the local foods system in the state where all stakeholders are heard and solutions are developed. These efforts were organized and led by SDSPA through funding awarded in the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant.

The gathering began with partnership briefings where both producers and agency/organization representatives discussed both needs and resources available. Agencies and organizations participating included: SDSU Extension, SDSU Department of Agronomy, SD Department of Agriculture, SD Value-Added Development Center, SDSU Extension and Natural Resources, SD Department of Health, SD Department of Tourism, SD Department of Veterinary Services, Dakota Rural Action and SD Specialty Producers Association.

SDSU Extension representatives facilitated working groups. Initial discussions began with reviewing outcomes from the 2017 SD Local Foods Conference Plenary session. Participants were able to focus on the following areas: Farmer’s Markets, Funding Your Success, Food Production Challenges & Solutions with an emphasis on Pesticide Drift and Processing Facilities for Specialty Meats, and Agritourism Opportunities in South Dakota.

Discussions identified five statewide priorities for the partnership to address:

  • A brand for South Dakota local foods

  • Youth education

  • Implementation of basic infrastructure such as processing facilities across the spectrum of local food production

  • Coordinating volume and production

  • Inform decision makers of issues

This meeting was the initial collaborative effort to find solutions to issues affecting producers of local foods across the state.

More meetings are planned for 2018. An Action Plan will be developed with the local foods coalition members and SDSPA will continue to serve as facilitator. All producers, agencies, organizations and consumers are invited to participate. For more information, please contact Cory Tomovick at sdspamembers@gmail.com.