CIAS co-hosts 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison – June 2-4

The UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems is one of three local co-hosts for the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place June 2-4 in Madison. The conference will convening a diverse group of 1500 food system practitioners focused on serving local and regional foods in the institutional cafeteria setting. Schools, universities, hospitals, business campuses and prisons will be in the spotlight, but the conference agenda moves far beyond just procuring and serving local foods. School gardens and college farms; farmer engagement; food policy; and equity and justice are woven through the two days of conference workshop sessions. A full day of local field trips on June 2 provide hands-on exploration of Wisconsin’s successful farm to institution projects in action, including two highlights on the UW campus: a work session with FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture and lunch provided by Slow Food UW.

“We’re thrilled to host the Conference in Madison this summer,” shares Vanessa Herald, Farm to School Outreach Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS). “It’s a great opportunity to elevate Wisconsin’s successes in this movement and to bring the UW Campus into the conference dialogue.” CIAS, in partnership with DATCP and Community GroundWorks, serve as conference Local Hosts, planning the event in partnership with the National Farm to School Network.

This year’s conference theme is Moving Forward Together, emphasizing the importance of strong partnerships in successful food system work. “We’re long on strong and diverse partnerships in Wisconsin, and that’s a big reason for our farm to school and other farm to cafeteria progress,” notes Herald. Although the conference has a national scope, a strong emphasis is placed on sharing and discussing Wisconsin’s farm to cafeteria highlights throughout the agenda.

Photo courtesy of the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference website.

The conference is a great opportunity for students interested in food systems to network with local/regional food leaders, community health professionals and sustainable agriculture advocates from across the country. There are a variety of opportunities to participate: attending the full conference June 3-4, joining a field trip or short course on June 3 or mingling at the Local Foods Reception on June 3. Early Bird Conference registration is open through March 31. Conference questions or volunteer interested can be directed to Vanessa Herald ( / 608-263-6064).

For additional information, please visit the following links:
Conference Website:
Registration Page:
Welcome letter from Local Hosts:
Schedule & Program: