Regional Plant-Related Event

Brookings, S.D. – Growers, processors, chefs and consumers passionate about local foods are invited to register for the 2018 South Dakota Local Foods Conference (SDLFC). This regional event will provide networking opportunities, roundtables, speaker panels and educational sessions on marketing, production, business, and food sovereignty.

The 2018 SDLFC is scheduled for Nov. 2-3 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD. Pre-conference workshops and tours are scheduled for Nov. 1.  For schedule details visit  Early bird registration ends Sept. 30, with prices increasing on Oct. 1.

This year’s conference features keynote speaker Mark Winne, local foods author and expert in policy and food access solutions. His keynote”Setting the Table for South Dakota’s Food Future”will discuss how a state like ours 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.

Four tracks of breakout sessions are offered during the conference on topics including: farm to school, ancient grains production, goats, hydroponics, hops, meat processing, farm entrepreneurship, greenhouses rain harvesting, selling to chefs, local food policy councils, food hubs, agritourism, local foods in Indian Country, farm transition, risk management for organic & non-GMO growers and more.

Other components of the event include vendor booths, a tasting social with area chefs, and meals using local foods. 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 the next steps to further South Dakota’s local food system.

A wide range of pre-conference sessions and tours are offered Nov. 1. All sessions require advanced registration and have a separate fee ranging from $10-$30 per session.

Good Roots Farm & Gardens of Brookings will offer two sessions at their farm. In the first, they will discuss the visioning through execution of their journey to become an organic vegetable farm, event space, CSA, commercial kitchen and beyond. Stewart’s Aronia Acres will join them for the second session featuring an introduction to aronia berry production.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren of Blue Dasher Farm will facilitate a session on the importance of pollinators and discuss ways to increase production by using regenerative agriculture.

SDSU Extension will cover the latest developments in produce safety regulations for farmers.  They will also discuss developing your own farm food safety plan.

Jennifer Quail from Brookings Economic Development Corporation will discuss developing a shared commercial kitchen. Participants will tour the Brookings facility, which is currently being renovated.

John D. Brown of the Northern Plains Resource Council and Yellowstone Valley Citizen’s Council is an organic producer in Montana. He will facilitate a participatory session to work towards bridging the gap between producer and consumers perceptions of natural farming practices.

Dakota Rural Action and SDSU Extension will introduce the new South Dakota Farm to School Handbook, which covers the rules, regulations and best practices as they relate to producers, schools and educators.

The SDSU Local Foods Education Center will present their history and mission. Future research and marketing tips will be shared and participants will tour the site, weather permitting.

Tickets are now available for The Local Foods Showcase Social Event featuring area chefs & producer food pairings. Chefs will serve up a variety of unique dishes while local beer and wine makers pour their favorite drinks.  The event, scheduled for Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. CT, will provide a fun and lively conversation while celebrating our state’s local food scene.  Tickets can be purchased for $30 each.

Early bird registration ends Sept. 30 for the two-day event at $90 per person ($70 for one day). October 1, the registration increases 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. Registration for all listed events is available at

The SDLFC 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 Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau, 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


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