STURGIS, SD – The annual South Dakota Local Foods Conference (SDLFC) is set for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 4-6. A three-day, virtual event celebrating local food production and use in South Dakota, SDLFC invites all supporters of local food to attend and discuss presentations on specialty crop production, industry challenges, new technologies and opportunities, as well as local food projects happening in South Dakota and neighboring states.
The SDLFC is hosted by a collaboration of partners including the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce, Bear Butte Gardens, South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, South Dakota State University Extension, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of South Dakota.
This year’s SDLFC will feature two keynote speakers. On Thursday evening, Rob Hage of Blind Butcher Brewery Co. will tell the story of how his family unexpectedly turned a machine shed into a small-batch brewery.
On Friday the keynote speaker is Jean-Martin Fortier, a farmer, educator and award-winning author of the best-seller “The Market Gardener- A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming.” Fortier is a recognized authority on small-scale organic vegetable production whose work has inspired hundreds of thousands to embrace a vision of agriculture that is human-scale, ecological and profitable.
Two tracks of breakout sessions will be offered during the conference on topics including: agritourism, farm to school, South Dakota food cottage laws, integrated pest management, cover crops, food preservation, pricing and budgeting, chickens and eggs, and more.
The North Central Region-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Farmers Forum is a traveling annual event giving ranchers, farmers, researchers and others the chance to share information about sustainable agriculture practices with a national audience.
The forum is scheduled for Thursday evening. These presentations focus on research, demonstration and education projects that promote profitable practices that are good for the environment and community. The projects highlighted in these presentations and the Farmers Forum are funded by grants from NCR-SARE, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program that supports and promotes sustainable ranching and farming by offering competitive grants and educational opportunities.
Registration is open now until Nov. 1, with tickets available for $35. The first 100 registrants can request a free goodie box, which will include a book published by SARE, an event program and other sponsored gifts.
Event sponsors include NCR-SARE, SD-SARE, NRCS, Monument Health, Xanterra, the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition, and support by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the USDA.
Other participating partners include Dakota Rural Action, Sicangu Community Development Corporation Food Sovereignty Initiative, the Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Initiative and Lakota Youth Development.
Direct any questions to conference organizers at [email protected] or 605-681-6793. To join the conversation, visit South Dakota Local Foods on Facebook.