SD State University Extension Press Release

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University Extension is pleased to partner with Dakota Rural Action and members of the South Dakota Local Foods Coalition to present the 2023 Local Foods Conference.

This year’s conference is themed “Grow, Nourish, Sustain” and will be Nov. 17-18 at The HUB, 2001 N. Career Ave., on Southeast Technical College’s campus in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

On Nov. 16, there will be a social event at Good Earth Farm by Lennox, South Dakota, including a farm tour and live music. Tickets are sold separately from the conference. Nov. 17 and 18 will feature speakers, panels and breakout sessions from industry experts and local food activities. New this year, the conference will include special activities for elementary-aged children.

“We are excited that this will make the conference more accommodating to families,” said Anna Tvedt, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist.

There will be activity bags for children on Nov. 17, and experts will provide hands-on sessions on Nov. 18 for kindergarteners through fifth graders to learn about nutrition, food production and sustainability.

“I am excited to offer this opportunity for children to learn this year,” said Sydney Trio, McCrory Gardens Education Coordinator and SDSU Extension Horticulture Assistant. “It is a great way to get younger generations excited and involved, as they are the future of local foods.”

Presenters include farmers, tribal members, chefs and economic experts, with keynote speakers Linda Black Elk, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Nick Olson, of Litchfield, Minnesota.

Black Elk is an ethnobotanist, studying regional plants and their uses through the knowledge, culture and traditions of the people in that region. She is also a food sovereignty activist who teaches others about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. Her speech will discuss food sovereignty, sustainability and what comes after the food is harvested.

Olson is an organizer with Land Stewardship Project, a nonprofit that promotes ethical farming and sustainable agriculture through developing healthy communities. Olson and his family also run a certified organic vegetable farm. His speech is about empowering the next generation of local farmers.

Breakout sessions will include Kristine Lang, assistant professor and SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist, talking about high tunnels and Andrea Bjornestad, associate professor and SDSU Extension Mental Health Specialist, on farm stress and building resilience. Other session topics range from indigenous leaders discussing rematriation and birth sovereignty to farm and business owners providing information on organic weed management, geo-air greenhouses and using farmhouse ingredients.

In addition, there will be expert and chef panels, and listening sessions on building resilience in the South Dakota local food system and aggregating/marketing food in South Dakota.

“I’m always excited to learn from our long list of speakers. This year’s line-up will not disappoint,” Lang said. “This is a great chance to network with community members from across South Dakota, and it’s a great opportunity to keep working toward a stronger food system within our state.”

Registration is required. For a full list of speakers and to register, click the button below. Tickets are available for one day or the full event for youth ages kindergarten through eighth grade, high school to college, and adults, and range from $25 to $150.

This year’s event is made possible by our planning committee organizations: SD Local Foods Coalition, SD State University Extension, McCrory Gardens, Budding Moon Farm, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Stockyards Ag Experience, and Dakota Rural Action.

For questions concerning this year’s conference, please reach out to katie@dakotarural.org or call 605-697-5204