Local Food Summit allows people to express their Food Love

Gathering was held day after Valentine’s Day, which provided the opportunity for local food lovers to gather on the University of Michigan campus to learn and share their enthusiasm.

More than 360 people attended the seventh Local Food Summit in mid-February on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. Summit planners took full advantage of the scheduling proximity to Valentine’s Day by naming the event Food Love. The love for local foods was evident by everyone’s enthusiasm for the speakers, programs, displays and the locally sourced lunch.

Judy Wicks, a nationally known local food advocate, entrepreneur, author, speaker and former owner of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia was the keynote presenter. She provided a history of her long affiliation with, and affection for, local food beginning with her experiences abroad and continuing throughout her experience as a restaurant owner. She now works to impart her philosophy of sustainability to communities and individuals through the BALLE Network.

A Story Slam featured storytellers who held the rapt attention of the audience with funny or serious, but always passionate stories of their experiences with food.

Influential organizations, individuals and groups were recognized for their notable local food work as part of the Local Food Victories recognition presentation. A list of 2015 awardees can be found on the Local Food Summit website by clicking the “Local Food Victories.”

Following the locally sourced lunch, summit attendees could select from a menu of 22 breakout sessions ranging in topics from food justice to health-related topics to food policy work. There were even sessions designed especially for youth attendees.

Local food summits are encouraged by Michigan State University Extension as one strategy for focusing attention on the importance of local food to the good health and well-being of people and communities.

The Local Food Summit keeps archives of information about previous summits on its blog. Interested in attended a future summit? Be sure to save Sunday, February 15, 2016 for the 8th Local Food Summit in Washtenaw County.

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