2006 crowd
Local Food Forum - February 6, 2013

The yearly networking event for Rhode Island food producers and buyers.

The 2013 theme is Center of the Plate: What Makes Meat and Seafood Sustainable?

Next Local Food Forum: Schedule Announcement Coming Soon.

8:30 Check-in, Coffee, Tea and Pastries

9 Introduction and Welcome

Janet Coit
Director of RI DEM

Ken Ayars
Chief of RI DEM Division of Agriculture

Noah Fulmer
Executive Director of Farm Fresh RI

9:30 Panel on the Center of Plate & Sustainability

Bill Idel
Chair of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University

Mel Coleman, Jr
Vice President of Niman Ranch

Patrick McNiff
Farmer & Owner of Pat's Pastured

Sarah Schumann
Shellfisherwoman and Founder of Eating with the Ecosystem

Hear from the experts. Local & sustainable purchasing best practices and challenges from both farmer and culinary perspectives. New ideas and directions about the intersection between sustainable and local protein and the food we eat in Rhode Island.

Come join the discussion. edible Rhody has recently featured thought-provoking articles about sustainable meat and sustainable seafood here in Rhode Island. Read up and get ready!

11 Speed Networking

Meet all the people you should know but don't yet. The farmer who will be growing your tomatoes next year will be here. As will the food service director who will buy the thirty extra bushels of corn you harvested. Priceless connections in an hour or less.

12 Lunch and Mingle

Grab a bite and track down the people you circled on your list.

1 Affinity Roundtables

Furthering the Breadth and Depth of Local Food Sourcing and Sustainability. Forty minute gatherings centered on specific challenges and successes. Join in on the tables with the topics most pertinent to your interests. Suggest a new topic!

  1. Sustainability in the Food Service Industry (Johnson and Wales)
    Come talk about challenges and opportunities to introduce more sustainable practices in school or corporte food service operations.
  2. Integrating Sustainable Meats into Large-Scale Supply Chains (Niman Ranch)
    Learn about Niman Ranch’s approach to raising sustainable meats and their emerging programs to reach more supermarkets, universities and food service customers.
  3. Local Seafood Show and Tell! (Eating With the Ecosystem and Red's Best)
    Come see local seafood specifies currently available, including whole finfish, shellfish and more. Learn about fishing practices, seasonable availability and market channels.
  4. Navigating Food Safety Regulations (Pat’s Pastured)
    Farmers, food artisasn and chefs are looking to add value to their business through processing locally grown meat, produce and fruit; come discuss ideas on how the regulatory system can me more business friendly while still ensuring food safety. 
  5. Compost (EcoRI)
    Join the discussion about opportunities to compost at your school, workplace, etc. Learn about EcoRI's composting projects at the Wintertime Farmers Market and around Rhode Island.
  6. Organic Farming and Certification (RI DEM)
    Learn about RI's organic certification program. Discussion will cover programs aimed at increasing acreage of certified organic land in RI and increasing access of local organic food to all RI eaters.
  7. Teaching about Local & Seasonal Food (Farm Fresh RI)
    Join this table to discuss Nutrition Education work being done in RI. Learn about FFRI's nutrition education initiatives and philosophy, and share strategies you may be using as well.
  8. New and Beginning Farmers (URI Cooperative Extension)
    Interested in farming in Rhode Island or recently began? Join a discussion about resources and support for new farmers and connecting to local markets and more.
  9. RI Annual Farm to School Stakeholders Meeting (Farm Fresh RI / RI Farm to School)
    RI farmers, food service directors, and produce distributers are invited to discuss the challenges and triumphs of the 2012 Farm to School season.
  10. Best Practices for Sustaining your Farmers Market (Farm Fresh RI)
    An open discussion for market managers, volunteers, and market-goers about what works, what doesn't, where farmers markets are wanted/needed, and how to strengthen RI farmers markets in 2013.
  11. Wholesale Infrastructure for Processing, Distribution, Retailing (Urban Greens)
    Discuss and identify current needs for the supply chain to encourage growth in wholesale local food operations. What channels need to be in place in order for affordable, locally focused food operations to thrive in Southeastern New England?
  12. Health Insurance For Local Food Producers (RI Health Benefits Exchange)
    Do you buy your own insurance or go without because it’s too expensive? Starting in October, Rhode Islanders will have a new place to buy and compare health insurance called the “health benefits exchange.”  Learn what this means for local farmers and small businesses. Rhode Island needs your ideas to design a system that’s effective, useful and user friendly.

2:30 Wrap-up

Local Food Forum

Information about the Local Food Forum in 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 is still available if you're curious.