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Wisconsin Local Food Summit slated for January 24

The 2nd annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit will be held on Jan. 24 and 25, 2008 in Eau Claire in conjunction with the 10th annual Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference.

The summit and conference bring together value-added agricultural producers and advocates of local food. The Wisconsin Local Food Summit offers an excellent opportunity for local food enthusiasts to share experiences and learn from others around the state.

“Local food issues are gaining mainstream recognition. This is a wonderful time to strengthen connections and learn through networking,” said Jane Hansen, PriceDirect Marketing Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Price County.

John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri, will give the keynote address. He has authored several titles, including Return to Common Sense and Sustainable Capitalism.

General session speakers include Will Allen, founder of Growing Power; Kelly Cain, director of the UW-River Falls St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development; Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and Gene Hugoson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

One registration allows participation in both events. The conference and summit will be held at the Plaza Hotel and Suites in Eau Claire. For more information and to register for the conference please visit the conference website at

The Wisconsin Local Food Network is sponsoring events for students, including a poster display and writing contest. Wisconsin college students or student groups can submit posters that highlight local food projects, including organic and sustainable agriculture projects, food security and consumer research, economic and environmental benefit studies, and more. Students registering posters by Jan. 11 will be entered into a drawing for a free conference registration and other prizes. For more information, please contact Tracey Mofle at .

Undergraduate students are invited to participate in the writing contest by submitting poems, short stories, and creative essays that celebrate food, agriculture and local communities. The winners will receive a free conference registration and an opportunity to read their creative work for conference participants during the evening of Thursday, Jan. 24. For more information, please contact Joel Friederich at

Organizers include: Buy Fresh Buy Local – Iowa, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Dane County Food Council, Farmers from both Minnesota and Wisconsin, Hiawatha Valley RC&D, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy – Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service, NW Wisconsin Regional Food Network, River Country RC&D, Slow Food Wisconsin SE, St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – Wisconsin, University of Illinois, UW Barron County, UW Center for Dairy Profitability, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Extension Agriculture Innovation Center, UW-Extension – Dunn and Price Counties, Whole Food Cooperative, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Local Food Network.

This event is funded in part by: AgStar Financial Services, Automated Data Processing (ADP), Badgerland Farm Credit Services, Chippewa Valley Bean, Greenleaf Market, Hammerand Farm, Houligans Steak and Seafood Pub, Menomonie Market Food Coop, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Minnesota NCR-SARE, Minnesota NRCS, PastureLand Cooperative, The Bullfrog’s Eat My Fish Farm, Wells Fargo, Wisconsin NRCS, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin SARE.