South Dakota held its first state-wide Local Foods Conference on November 11-12th in Huron, S.D. In conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), South Dakota USDA Rural Development sponsored the two day event meant to continue the dialogue on local foods among producers, consumers, school nutrition programs, grocers, restaurants and resource providers.
Topics covered at the Local Foods Conference on the first day included high tunnels, community gardening, food safety, Farm-to-School, community-supported agriculture, value-added agriculture products, organics and farmers’ markets. The South Dakota State University Extension Service hosted a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training on the second day. Other sponsors included the South Dakota Value Added Ag Development Center, Buy Fresh Buy Local and Dakota Rural Action.
“The conference really showed the collaborative efforts that are being made in South Dakota by state, federal and grass roots organizations”, said USDA Rural Development State Director, Elsie M. Meeks. “USDA Rural Development supports Local Food efforts to increase jobs and economic opportunities in the state; conservation, stewardship and community building is accomplished through healthy food systems found in local markets, schools and institutions.”
“The local foods movement is gaining momentum around the nation and right here in South Dakota. It’s something people really want to know about,” said Walt Bones, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture.
Locally grown produce and foods were offered as conference snacks and meals such as apple bars from Hebda Family Produce from Mission Hill, S.D.