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Local food summit to take place at Heartland College


From Illinois Business Journal news services

The fifth annual Local and Regional Food Summit will take place at Heartland Community College, Astroth Community Education Center, 1500 West Raab Road, Normal, Ill., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 12. Last year, more than 300 registered for the conference to learn from leaders in the local and regional food industry on all the different local food projects taking shape in the state.

Conference registration fee is $20 per participant ($15 for Farm Bureau members). Registration fee includes all conference materials and lunch. Registration deadline is Nov. 6 at .

More information can be found on the registration website including full agenda and hours.

A few of the topics will include:

– Jim Ryan, city administrator, Rockford, will speak on measuring the financial impact of a public market. He will share findings from a recently completed economic evaluation study determining the benefits of both farmers’ market vendors and nearby businesses.

– Buyers from the grocery store and foodservice industry, including Steve Jarzombek, vice president of produce, Roundy’s; Peter J. Sikorski, chief financial officer, Get Fresh Produce, Inc.; and Tom Phelps, director, Produce Operations, Niemann Foods, will discuss sourcing local and regional food.

– Chris and Audra Wyant, owners, Finding Eminence Farm share the topic: The Farmer Florist—Why Your Story Matters
J. Robert Sirrine, Ph.D., community food systems educator, Greening Michigan Institute Affiliate, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, will discuss successful hops production for craft brewing.

– Julie McCoy, director, school nutrition, Bloomington Public Schools will present “School Foodservice 101: Learn the basics on the National School Lunch program, menu planning and how food gets onto our student trays.”

– Jerry and Lisa Thurston, owners, Spring Valley Farm & Vineyard will present “Getting Your Packing House Prepared for Certification.”

– Tara Roberts, president, and Kelly Maynard, food safety specialist, Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative will present “How Wisconsin Farmers Came Together to Form a Thriving Grower Cooperative.”

– Jim Fraley, livestock program director, Illinois Farm Bureau and Matt Witte, owner, Bloomington Meats will present “So You Want to Be a Livestock Producer? The Top Ten Things You NEED to Know” and “Customer Livestock Harvesting: How Livestock Becomes Meat.”

This one-day event is hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Agriculture and Heartland Community College.

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