NEWS RELEASE: Ripening Food Movement to Harvest Ideas at Conference Oct. 15 & 16

NEWS RELEASE: Ripening Food Movement to Harvest Ideas at Conference Oct. 15 & 16

Small farmers, state officials, restaurateurs, academics gather to focus on “Our Foodshed”

Factory farms and food recalls are making news. Are small family farms part of the solution? Can higher education help?

WHITE PLAINS, NY, October 8, 2010 – With food recalls making regular headlines and large factory farms getting the blame, the public is increasingly turning to farmers’ markets and small, family farms for sources of local, fresh food.  A recurring question is whether the regional foodshed – the geographic areas that feed population centers – can realistically supply the region.

Michelle Land of Pace University says, “A sustainable food revolution is upon us.  Industrial agriculture’s large-scale production and dependence on long-distance transportation of product is significantly contributing to concerns of climate change, water pollution and consumption of unhealthy food.  Advancing the concept of a well-functioning foodshed requires an interdisciplinary analysis of how to combine traditional local and regional self-reliance with new thinking to address the distributional and consumptive challenges.  Through this conference, we hope to explore such issues for the Hudson River Watershed.”  Land, director of the Environmental Consortium and the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, serves as the conference planning chair.

From global to gritty, current issues in food supply will be explored at the seventh annual meeting and conference of the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities all day Friday and Saturday morning, October 15 and 16 at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY.

The conference will bring together a colorful array of people including small-scale, family farmers, chefs and restaurant owners, agricultural policy experts, New York State officials, representatives of non-profit organizations, and academic researchers.  Conversations will focus on policy, culture, justice, as well as the roles of higher education in all facets, including integrating more local food in campus dining.

Media admission by press pass. Early responses appreciated.

The conference is open to the public. The rate for people affiliated with institutions in the Consortium is $25 for students ($35 for non members), $125 for members ($150 for non-members).  The fee includes admission to conference days, meals and breaks, Friday reception, dinner and documentary film screening, exhibitor expo, poster session, and a field trip.

Speaker Lineup and Documentary Screening Friday

Ways of evaluating an area’s capacity for local food production will be taken up in the opening keynote by Christian Peters, an Assistant Professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. He is the lead author of the 2009 published paper “Mapping potential foodsheds in New York State: A spatial model for evaluating the capacity to localize food production” (Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems).  His areas of research include local and regional food systems and the impact of dietary preferences on land use.

Other conference speakers and presenters are:

·         Polly Armour, Co-Founder and Farmer, Four Winds Farm

·         Jacquie Berger, Executive Director, Just Food, NYC

·         Stephanie Boyd, Director, Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, Williams College

·         Heath Braunstein, General Manager of Pace University Dining Services, Lackmann Culinary Services

·         Cara Cea, President, Suffern Farmers’ Market Board

·         Jean-Paul Courtens, Farmer, Roxbury Farm
·         Jennifer K. Grossman, Vice President for Land Acquisition, Open Space Institute, Inc.

·         Susan Grove, Executive Director, Poughkeepsie Farm Project

·         Daniel Guenther, Farmer, Educator and Activist, Brook Farm Project

·         David Haight, Director, New York Chapter, American Farmland Trust

·         Peter Hoffman, Chef and Owner, Savoy Restaurant

·         Jill Isenbarger, Executive Director, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

·         Michael Mascarenhas, Assistant Professor, Science & Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

·         Ann McMahon, Coordinator, NYS Council on Food Policy, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

·         Kenneth Oldehoff, Director of Marketing and Sustainability for Campus Dining, Vassar College

·         Fabio Parasecoli, Coordinator, Department of Food Studies, The New School

·         Andrew C. Revkin, Dot Earth blogger, The New York Times, and Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, Pace University

·         Tom Sleight, Executive Director, New York Farm Viability Institute

Friday’s events will finish with a special preview screening of the upcoming documentary on the new generation of young farmers, “The Greenhorns.”   The film is named for the non-profit (www.thegreenhorns.net) led by Severine von Tscharner Fleming, director of both the organization and the film.  The mission of The Greenhorns is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers in this ample and able 21st century America.

The guest speaker Friday, following the film, is Benjamin Shute, co-owner and farmer of Hearty Roots Community Farm.

Breakout sessions will address policy, culture, justice, the roles of restaurants, farmers, individuals,

and higher education. The conference will also include an interdisciplinary session of poster presentations and discussions on food and other environmentally related topics involving the Hudson watershed, an exhibitor expo, and a book table. It will culminate with a field trip to the Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamics and the Environment in Chestnut Ridge, NY, a demonstration and training center with 70 garden beds, an apiary, an oven, and an orchard.

Full details and registration information are at www.environmentalconsortium.org.

Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities

The Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities was established in 2004 to advance understanding of the cultural, social, political, economic, and natural factors affecting the Hudson River Watershed and currently has 55 member institutions. The Consortium’s mission is to harness higher education’s intellectual and physical resources to advance regional, ecosystem-based environmental research, teaching, and learning through interdisciplinary, collaborative programs and information sharing.

Spearheaded and hosted by Pace University, the Consortium is headquartered within the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies in White Plains, New York. Among the Academy’s goals is applying the University’s strengths to local and global environmental problems. As a testament to its commitment to interdisciplinary pedagogy, scholarship, and service, the Academy provides essential administrative support for the Consortium’s programs.

The Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies

The Academy is the first of several centers envisioned by Pace University’s President, Stephen Friedman, to promote high-level collaborative and interdisciplinary programming in key thematic, academic areas throughout the University. The Academy is a freestanding institute that renews and deepens the University’s long-standing commitment to environmental research, scholarship, and service.

The Academy for Environmental Studies builds on its predecessor, the Pace Academy for the Environment, created in 2002 and known for regional leadership spearheading the formation of the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges & Universities and serving as the incubation office for the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, which concentrates on applied technological innovation.

The current breadth and depth of Pace University’s environmental programming is evidenced by globally recognized undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs augmented by related curricular, co-curricular, experiential, and service programs centered on the environment. The Academy recently created the Pace Environmental Gateway, an online clearinghouse and integrated network of the environmental offerings across the University.

Contact:

Donna Kowal, Environmental Consortium, (914) 422-4077, info@environmentalconsortium.org

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