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Registration Open for South Dakota Local Foods Conference

Posted 9/25/2018 9:35am by SDSPA Marketing Contractor.

Growers, processors, chefs and consumers passionate about local foods are invited to register for the 2018 South Dakota Local Foods Conference (SDLFC). This regional event will provide networking opportunities, roundtables, speaker panels and educational sessions on marketing, production, business, communities and food sovereignty. 

The 2018 SDLFC is scheduled for Nov. 2-3 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD. Pre-conference workshops and tours are scheduled for Nov. 1.  Click here for full conference and schedule details. The registration deadline is Oct. 26.

This year’s conference features keynote speaker Mark Winne, local foods author and expert in policy and food access solutions.His keynote"Setting the Table for South Dakota’s Food Future”will discuss how a state like ours can move along a path to sustainable food production that strengthens the economy and ensures access to healthy and affordable food. He will discuss building a roadmap with a compelling vision, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and good policies. 

Four tracks of breakout sessions are offered during the conference on topics including: hops production, eggs, greenhouse rain harvesting, raising goats, ancient grains production, hydroponics, meat processing, farm to school, local food policy, selling to chefs, food system development, risk management for organic & non-GMO growers, local foods in Indian Country, food hubs, farm transition and more.

Other components of the event include vendor booths, meals using local foods, and a plenary session, held on Nov. 2, which will bring participants together to continue the discussion on the big picture vision of local foods and the next steps to further South Dakota’s local food system.  

A wide range of pre-conference sessions and tours are offered Nov. 1. All sessions require advanced registration and have a separate fee ranging from $10-$30 per session. 

Good Roots Farm & Gardens of Brookings will offer two sessions at their farm. In the first, they will discuss the visioning through execution of their journey to become an organic vegetable farm, event space, CSA, commercial kitchen and beyond. Stewart’s Aronia Acres will join them for the second session featuring an introduction to aronia berry production.  

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren of Blue Dasher Farm will facilitate a session on the importance of pollinators and discuss ways to increase production by using regenerative agriculture.  

SDSU Extension will cover the latest developments in produce safety regulations for farmers. They will also discuss developing your own farm food safety plan.

Jennifer Quail from Brookings Economic Development Corporation will discuss developing a shared commercial kitchen. Participants will tour the Brookings facility, which is currently being renovated. 

John D. Brown of the Northern Plains Resource Council and Yellowstone Valley Citizen’s Council is an organic producer in Montana. He will facilitate a participatory session to work towards bridging the gap between producer and consumers perceptions of natural farming practices. 

Dakota Rural Action and SDSU Extension will introduce the new South Dakota Farm to School Handbook, which covers the rules, regulations and best practices as they relate to producers, schools and educators. 

The SDSU Local Foods Education Center will present their history and mission. Future research and marketing tips will be shared and participants will tour the site, weather permitting.  

Tickets are available for the Nov. 2 Local Foods Showcase Social Event featuring area chef & producer food pairings. Join us between 5-8 p.m. C.T. at this come-and-go event for fun and lively conversation while celebrating our state’s local food scene. Tickets are $30 each and are available until sold out. Attendees are not required to participate in the conference to attend the social. 

Chefs will serve up a variety of unique dishes while local beer and wine makers pour their favorite beverages.This event will feature the Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge; Cafe Coteau at Children's Museum of South Dakota; Day of the Dead Salsa; Choco Latte; Westbound Coffee; Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie; Cottleston Bread; Celebration Catering; Parker's Bistro; Drifters Bar & Grille; Wooden Legs Brewing Company; and Schadé Vineyard & Winery.

The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 26. Registration for the two-day SDLFC is $115 per person ($80 for one day). A 2-day student rate is available to currently enrolled college, technical institute and university students for $70. Proof of enrollment is required. Registration includes general and breakout sessions, a light breakfast, snacks and lunch.

Registration for all listed events is available here. Late registrations and walk-ins are welcome, however meals are not guaranteed after the deadline.

The SDLFC is hosted by a collaboration of partners including Dakota Rural Action, the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, and USDA Rural Development. The 2018 Conference Sponsors include the Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Carrot Seed Kitchen, Co., Nature’s Best, LLC, USDA-SARE, and Pomegranate Market.  

Anyone with an interest in local foods is encouraged to attend. Direct any questions to conference organizers at or 605-697-5205 Ext 250.

Follow the conference event on the South Dakota Local Foods Facebook page.