Feast Down East, also known as the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program, will host its annual regional conference Feb. 6. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Burney Center.
Feast Down East helps small and limited-resource farmers, fisherman and other food providers gain access to restaurants, grocers, schools and hospitals as customers. The conference, now in its fifth year, is a gathering place for all those interested in supporting the local food effort. Jane Steigerwald, director of Feast Down East, encourages all community members to attend.
“Whether you grow, produce, cook, eat, sell or advocate for fresh local farm food -- this conference is for you,” Steigerwald said.
Randy Gore, state director for USDA Rural Development, will be the keynote speaker. Gore’s North Carolina Strikeforce Initiative has created a network of support and resources for small-scale farms.
One of the highlights of the conference is presentation of the Feast Down East Agrarian Stewardship Award. Previous winners are Margaret Shelton of Shelton Herb Farm, Stefan Hartmann of Black River Organic Farm, chef Tripp Engel of Brasserie du Soleil and chef James Doss of Rx/Pembroke's Restaurants.
This year’s sponsors include Farm Bureau of New Hanover County, Farm Bureau of Pender County, Whole Foods, NC Department of Agriculture and the Wilmington Box Company.
“It is important that we bring everyone to the table,” said Leslie Hossfeld, co-founder and executive director of Feast Down East. “A strong local food system positively impacts the health and well-being of our communities in addition to boosting the local economy.”
For more information on workshops and to register, click here
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