Announcing Local Food Summit January 29, 2009 for the Washtenaw County Area

Countdown to the Summit
Greetings and thank you for your interest in the Washtenaw County Area Local Food Summit. Registration for the Summit filled quickly and there is currently a waiting list. (Note: if you are registered but not able to attend, please let us know by emailing asap so we can notify someone on the waitlist.) 

The program we (volunteers, Board of the HomeGrown Festival) have organized has been made possible by an outpouring of generous donations of time, space, food, and materials from our community.

Pre-Summit Activities
  • Pre-Summit Happy Hour (open to everyone) at Vinology on Main Street in Ann Arbor from 5:00-7:00pm on Wednesday, January 28th. Chef Brandon Johns has reserved space and extended the regular happy hour for us. Please indicate your interest with the poll on the right side of this page. 
  • Screening of the made-in-Michigan movie "Asparagus: Stalking the American Way of Life" is a fund-raiser for Think Local First. The director will be giving a brief talk afterwards. Taking place at the Michigan Theater on Liberty Street in Ann Arbor at 7:15pm on Wednesday, January 28th. Cost is $10, advance tickets at Shaman Drum and online. Also open to everyone. 
  • Summit opens at Matthaei Botanical Gardens at 8:30am (sharp) on Thursday, January 29th. Because of capacity limitations, walk-in registration will not be possible. Matthaei has generously donated the space for this event and their parking is somewhat limited. They have asked that we request people to carpool if at all possible. 
  • Bagels and coffee (generously donated by Zingerman's) will be served with local cider and apples (courtesy of Slow Food Huron Valley).
  • Lisa Brush, Executive Director of the Stewardship Network is donating her time as our facilitator. 
  • The official program begins at 9:00am. In addition to group activities, three wonderful speakers are giving their time to participate with us and to address the following topics:
  • Patty Cantrell, Program Director, Michigan Land Use Institute: "Regional Food Systems as Community Economic Development"
  • Fran Alexander, Alexander Resource Consulting: "Food Gatherers' Survey on Washtenaw County's Food Security and Food Gatherers Future Directions"
  • Chris Bedford, Center for Economic Security: "Building a Community-based Regional Food System and Farm-to-School Program in Muskegon County"
  • Organic, fair-trade flowers provided by Pot and Box container gardening services. 
  • Lunch (with vegetarian option) of soup, salad, and bread is being prepared by A Knife's Work. We are asking anyone who is able to bring homemade cookies for dessert. 
  • We will wrap up at 3:00pm.
Post Summit

All information gathered during the Summit will be made public. The intention is to enable as many people as possible to participate in post-summit activities undertaken by working groups. 

If you would like to work on post-Summit communication modalities, please email  If you would like to receive follow-up information and summaries from the Summit working groups, please email

We apologize to anyone who is not able to attend the Summit meeting because of our space limitations. Our extremely small budget made having a no-cost space a requirement for this meeting. We very much want to include every single person who is willing to take positive steps toward a healthy, secure, safe and fair local food system and will find ways to communicate next steps to anyone who is interested. 

Note also: it's possible to leave comments at the bottom of this page if you'd like. 

Dear Farmer, Chef, Non-profit Leader or Volunteer, Business owner, Health professional, Government staff or Elected official, or just plain Eater

This is an invitation to meet, learn about, and join together with the many groups and individuals in this community working on re-localizing our food system. Many positive changes are already happening with our sustainable farms, community gardens, schools, artisan producers, businesses, groceries, restaurants, and non-profits. These are indicators of the potential that a vigorous local food system has for our community's improved health and economy.  But many of us are not aware of the work OR the needs and resources of the others. And not everyone who should be involved currently is involved. 

In order to share information, forge relationships, and grow our impact with the power of networks, the board of the HomeGrown Local Food Festival is extending an invitation to you to attend a Local Food Summit on January 29th, 2009 at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (details below). 

The goals of the Summit are to map our current food system, find gaps, identify priorities, and coordinate efforts leading to a healthy, just and secure local food economy. 

One effort being planned is a Local Food Month in September 2009, with a calendar of all our community events that will help us work together and engage a wider public. Other possible directions that have been identified as needs include: a farm incubator; a Food Policy Council; micro-lending for small food and farm businesses; Plant-A-Row and Victory Gardens; commercial kitchen space for food classes and processing; and many more. Which priorities, among these or others, are important to you? Which of these should our community work on?

We need your voice and your involvement in the network of people who demand food that is healthy, sustainable, safe and fair. Please come to help define what our commnity most needs and to work with others who believe in the power of food to improve the lives of all who live in our beautiful state. Together we can do what none of us can do alone.

Registration Is Required
The Summit is open to all, but space is limited. Please register early. If you know someone who should be involved, please also encourage them to register.

Save the date for: Thursday, January 29th, 8:30am - 3:00pm
Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (map)
Registration fee: $12
Optional Lunch: $12
Summit Scholarship: Please contact
Registration (required): Registration for 2009 is closed.

Questions, more information or to volunteer please email:

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