Symposium Summary and Objectives

The Local Foods Symposium was an opportunity for local food proponents from Northern and Central California to come together to exchange ideas surrounding the current trends and future challenges involved in creating a sustainable food system. Cooperative Extension specialists, researchers, non-profit personnel, farmers, nutritionists, and community members participated in a two day conference which presented 07-08 SAREP research grants and facilitated roundtable discussions on local foods issues.

SAREP invited Cooperative Extension personnel, researchers, administrators, government agencies, nonprofits, farmers and community participants to learn together from these and other food systems efforts. Participants:

  • Learned about new county and regional food systems activities
  • Shared and discussed lessons learned, challenges overcome and tools developed by these and other food systems enterprises
  • Shared ideas about how to increase the effectiveness or expand these initiatives
  • Shared insights across disciplines and between university and community partners
  • Shared ideas about improving future SAREP-funded competitive grants programs in local food systems
  • Networked with colleagues and new acquaintances

The Local Food Systems Symposium convened at 1:00 pm on December 2nd (Tuesday) and concluded at 4:00 on December 3rd (Wednesday). The conference began with an inspirational address by Paul Muller of Full Belly Farms, an innovative California organic farm. Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change, shared his vision of sustainable food systems and provided context for the conference's discussions on the second day. The conference included panel presentations, smaller break-out groups and open time for networking.