Public Invited to Participate at Third Annual Road Map for the Food Economy Conference: Putting Policy And Projects To Work in 2015

February 4, 2015   Tags:

Charleston, W.Va. (February 3, 2015) – Organizers announced today that Registration is now open for the February 17th Road Map for the Food Economy Conference: Putting Policy and Projects to Work in 2015.

This affordable event, the third held by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, will be located at the University of Charleston and will provide an opportunity for those interested in being leaders in West Virginia’s local food movement to learn from a nationally renowned food policy expert before participating in an activity that will seek to diagnose both food policy and economic opportunities around the Mountain State.  This Conference will focus simulataneously on big picture food policy and state needs as outlined in the Road Map for the Food Economy, a food systems charter that hundreds of individuals from across the state helped develop in 2011. Attendees will be a part of addressing these opportunities through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition’s statewide network, as well as regional work in their home communities.

The conference will start at 12:00pm with a lunchtime keynote by Mark Winne, Food Systems Expert, Senior Advisor to the Food Policy Networks Project at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future, and author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty.

Winne writes in his 2012 report, Doing Food Policy Councils Right, “Food experts and activists realized that a vast food system generated many policies, and for the most part, the average citizen didn’t have much of a role in shaping them. One way to address this lack of participation was . . . to bring together all stakeholders in a community food system and give them a say in constructing a system that reflected their values. . . . It might seem like a daunting task, but the work addresses something basic, something we can all relate to: our need for food that nourishes us.”

Following Winne’s keynote, the conference will highlight local food development that is underway in West Virginia by featuring a panel of local leaders involved in West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition projects and sections from a documentary film series that was filmed in the summer of 2014. “I think people are going to be inspired by the different kinds of people and organizations that are being leaders in food systems development already,” said Garnet Bruell, WVFFC AmeriCorps VISTA. “And the film series is a great way to show some of the promise of what we are trying to build.”

The afternoon will also feature a unique activity where attendees will use a facilitated format to discuss opportunities to change and grow different aspects of the food system in their local regions. “West Virginia is a wonderfully diverse state,” said WVFFC Executive Director Elizabeth Spellman. “We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of these discussions – the local food system that continues developing in southern West Virginia might be much different than the one in the Eastern Panhandle, for example.”

The conference will end with remarks by West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Walt Helmick.

The 2015 Road Map for the Food Economy Conference is open to any interested individual or organization. Registration is available at http://goo.gl/PfgllX and costs $15, payable at the door or via paypal online. The deadline for registration is February 9th, 2015. Please direct questions to WVFFC AmeriCorps VISTA Garnet Bruell at gbruell@wvfoodandfarm.org or (304) 877-7920.

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“West Virginia is a wonderfully diverse state,” said WVFFC Executive Director Elizabeth Spellman. “We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of these discussions – the local food system that continues developing in southern West Virginia might be much different than the one in the Eastern Panhandle, for example.”