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Eastern Oregon Food & Farm Connection Conference

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Eastern Region Food & Farm Connection on March 15th aims to connect local producers, buyers, and sellers of food One-day conference to feature speakers, training, and networking

  • Conference
When Mar 15, 2012
from 10:00 am to 04:00 pm
Where Pendleton, OR
Contact Name
Contact Phone 541-969-7620
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Eastern Region Food & Farm Connection on March 15th aims to connect local  producers, buyers, and sellers of food One-day conference to feature speakers, training, and networking.

Building a network, a food network in this case, is all about developing relationships. On March 15th, CAPECO’s Community Foods Program and Columbia Blue Mountain RC&D will host the Eastern Oregon Food & Farm Connection, a day-long conference for local producers, buyers, and sellers of food to network and share information and inspiration. The event will feature inspiring speakers, educational breakouts sessions, training in marketing, season extension, and a speed-networking event for farmers, chefs, food processors, and distributors.  Anyone in the region who farms commercially, processes or prepares food, or purchases wholesale product is invited to attend. Planners and decision-makers are also encouraged to come and learn about the economic development opportunities related to developing the regional food and farming economy.
Registration for What’s Your Connection is only $10 and can be paid for at the door. Call or email before March 9th.  The price includes a gourmet, locally-sourced lunch prepared by local restaurants and chefs.  The conference will take place from 10 am to 4 p.m., at the Red Lion Hotel. Visit the Columbia Plateau Food Links website for more information. 
The activities of the conference are varied.  Key note speaker, Ken Meter from Crossroads Resource Center (Minneapolis, MN) will lead off, sharing the results of his food and farm economic analyses recently conducted in NE Oregon, focusing on Umatilla County, one of the five counties assessed.
A panel of speakers will follow, including: local chef Brian Von Eggers of Wildhorse Resort, Cheryl Cosner, Upper Dry Creek Ranch, David Seltzer farmer and owner of Azure Standard, Dave Gordon from Andy’s Market, Vicky Brown, North Powder school district food purchaser and John Finley, a farm-direct grower and CSA owner serving many markets and institutions in the region. These speakers will share how their businesses help build a stronger regional food system and vice versa – how a stronger regional food system will help grow stronger businesses, theirs and others’.
Afternoon sessions will provide a little something for all – farmers, institutional buyers, planners, chefs.  The day will end with a speed-networking event for producers and buyers, farmers and chefs. This will be an opportunity for farmers, chefs and food buyers to make new connections for marketing and purchasing products regionally.
Farmers and processors are invited to bring product samples, which can be prepared or heated-up in the on-site commercial kitchen. Participants are encouraged to bring many business cards. A raffle will follow to reward those who make the most connections during the speed-networking event.
Networking may continue at an optional post-event gathering at the Prodigal Son in the early evening. This local brew pub features local food, beer and wine; attendees can make more connections and learn more about what the Columbia Plateau Food Links is doing and planning to strengthen the regional food system. Ken Meter will present again to the public who is welcome to attend this portion of the event.
This eastern region connection conference is being organized by CAPECO Community Foods Program and co-sponsored by Columbia Blue Mountain Resource Conservation & Development as a collaborative effort to meet the needs of local farmers, institutions and food entrepreneurs to enable a stronger and healthier regional food system. Check the Columbia Plateau Food Links website for more details on the agenda, lunch menu, registration details, and more.
This event is possible thanks to the Farmers Market Promotion Project award #OR-481-2010-G-1186; and a Rural Business Opportunity Grant, courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture; Oregon Department of Agriculture program – My Oregon Farmer; the Port of Umatilla; Umatilla County Economic Development; Umatilla Electric Cooperative CAPECO’s Community Foods Program, in partnership with the Columbia Plateau Food Links, is organized to promote, coordinate and network a local food system that will support our region’s access to healthy, sustainable and economically viable food.

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