(Re) Imagining a Fair Food System
Do you like to eat locally grown and produced food? Are you a stakeholder in the regional food system of Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan? Then you’re in luck, as the Homegrown Local Food Summit returns to Washtenaw Community College on Friday, February 22. In its fifth year, this full day summit brings together growers, eaters, educators, health providers, students, chefs, advocates, entrepreneurs and many more to share knowledge and inspire action on issues related to local food.
It also functions as a sort of community meeting point for our local food community, where friends often see each other for the first time since the end of the regular growing season and hatch plans for future collaboration. It’s also a great place to hear from people that are incredibly involved locally, regionally and even nationally in all aspects of hometown growing. Any local food enthusiast is welcome, though, and scholarships are available as well for those with a financial need who apply.
As the food is the centerpiece for the event, you can expect a multiplicity of locally-grown, locally-raised and locally-produced items to figure prominently into the breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack that are included in the day. From Roos Roast Coffee and Eden Foods to local favorites like the Brinery, a lot of awesome Michigan-owned businesses will be represented throughout the summit (I even heard a rumor about Ypsi-local Riki Tiki Pies!).
Also, chefs and students from the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program at WCC will be tackling the food preparation and service. So, in addition to providing delicious, locally-sourced food, the summit will also be a great learning experience for students who are pursuing a career in the food world.
As this year’s theme is (Re)Imagining a Fair Food System, the keynote is Malik Yakini, a 2012 James Beard Leadership Award Winner and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. There will also be a panel addressing strategies to bring about a more fair food system, featuring food system leaders from SE Michigan and Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United in New York and the author of the forthcoming book, “Behind the Kitchen Door.”
In addition, there will be an activity called “Innovations for a Fair Food System: From Stories to Solutions,” where participants will propose an innovative idea to the audience in order to inspire further interest, involvement and action to bring about a food system that is more fair. The afternoon portion will be comprised of workshops, panels and skillshares in the afternoon, discussing every topic from Food Forests to Garden Education to Local Investing to Urban Agriculture to Nutrition and Public Health. In the afternoon, there will be tours of innovative local food facilities, like the Farm at St. Joe’s.
At the Michigan Theater the night before the summit, Whole Foods Market is sponsoring a screening of the film “The Greenhorns” as a benefit for Slow Food Huron Valley. Part of Whole Foods Market’s Do Something Reel Film Festival, “The Greenhorns” focuses on the new generation of farmers at the heart of the nation’s local food movement. Following the film, participants can meet with members of the Michigan Young Farmer Coalition and enjoy refreshments.
So if you are a stakeholder in the local food system and want to join the conversation, I invite you to participate in the Fifth Annual Local Food Summit coming up on February 22 at the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College. Come talk with your neighbors, meet local growers and celebrate exciting initiatives going on throughout Washtenaw County as we carry local food into the future and make it more fair.
For more info on the Local Food Summit or to register, visit localfoodsummit.org