The 2018 South Dakota Local Foods Conference (SDLFC) is scheduled for Nov. 2-3 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD. In addition, Thursday, Nov. 1 offers several in-depth pre-conference sessions and tours. Registration opens Sept. 1, 2018.

This conference provides educational programming and networking opportunities for producers, chefs, grocers, nutrition programs, consumers, local food enthusiasts, and resource providers of specialty crops and other local food products. Other components of the event include vendor booths, a tasting event with area chefs, and meals using local foods.

This year’s conference features keynote speaker Mark Winne, a local foods expert in policy and food access solutions. He is the author of ‘Stand Together or Starve Alone’ and ‘Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty.”

His keynote”Setting the Table for South Dakota’s Food Future”will discuss how a state like South Dakota can move along a path to sustainable food production that strengthens the economy and ensures access to healthy and affordable food. He will discuss building a roadmap with a compelling vision, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and good policies.

The SDLFC will provide several pre-conference sessions and tours on Nov. 1. Sessions planned at Good Roots Farm & Gardens include ‘Small Farm Income Diversity’ and ‘Aronia Production.’ Sessions at McCrory Gardens Visitor Center & Strawbale House will include ‘Natural Farming Practices,’ ‘Farm to School,’ ‘Pollinators- Increasing your Production,’ and ‘Starting A Shared Commercial Kitchen.’ Additional tours include the SDSU Local Foods Education Center on campus. These sessions require advance registration and additional fees beyond the conference registration.

The full conference, Nov. 2-3, will take place at the Swiftel Center.  Learning tracks during the event include ‘Tools for Success,’ ‘Production,’ ‘Food Sovereignty,’ ‘Business,’ and ‘Marketing.’

Specific breakout sessions on Nov. 2 include farm to school, ancient grains production, food system development, a farm entrepreneur panel, local food policy councils, rainwater harvesting for greenhouses, mentoring a farm transition and more.

Nov. 3 will offer breakout sessions showcasing goats, hydroponics, the feasibility of hops production, a meat processing panel, a chefs panel, food hubs, agritourism, vegetables and fruits and human health, community kitchens, community outreach and partnerships, local foods in Indian Country, Honey Lodge Honey and Youth Advocacy, risk management for organic & non-GMO growers and more.

The event will again feature a Plenary Session, held on Nov. 2, which will bring participants together to continue the discussion on the big picture vision of local foods and discuss the next steps to be taken to further the local food system in South Dakota.

The Local Foods Showcase is scheduled for Friday evening. This social event is centered on bringing together talented area chefs to promote the local fare of South Dakota. Area restaurants and chefs will serve a variety of unique dishes and local beer and wine producers will pour their favorite drinks. Tickets are limited and sold separately from conference registration.

Early bird registration runs Sept. 1 – 30 for the two-day event at $90 per person ($70 for one day). October 1, the registration goes to $115 per person ($80 for one day). A 2-day student rate is available to currently enrolled college, technical institute and university students for $70. Proof of enrollment is required. Registration includes general and breakout sessions, a light breakfast, snacks and lunch. Beginning Sept. 1 visit to register and complete your online payment for any of the pre-conference sessions and the conference.

The Local Foods Conference is hosted by a collaboration of partners including Dakota Rural Action, the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, and USDA Rural Development. The 2018 Conference Sponsors include The Carrot Seed Kitchen, Co., Nature’s Best, LLC, USDA-SARE, and Pomegranate Market.

Anyone with an interest in local foods is encouraged to attend.Direct any questions to conference organizers at sdlocalfoods@gmail.comor 605-697-5205 Ext 250. Follow the conference event on the South Dakota Local Foods Facebook page at