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Home Grown Economy Conference and Local Foods Showcase Hosted by Congressman Collin Peterson at U of M, Crookston on Sun., March 30 and Mon., March 31, 2008
March 13, 2008

Contact: Linda Kingery, director, Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership 877-854-7737 (, Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (

CROOKSTON, Minn. (March 13, 2007) – Connecting local foods and economic opportunity is the theme of a conference and showcase to be held Sun. and Mon., March 30- 31, 2008, at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The purpose of the Home Grown Economy Conference, sponsored by Minnesota Congressman Collin C. Peterson, is to engage people in discussion around local foods, the related economic opportunities and current developments as well as allow for interaction and networking.

Sunday, March 30, Local Food & Wine Sampler Showcase, Kiehle Auditorium and Rotunda,  5-8 p.m. – A presentation by Congressman C. Collin Peterson and a selection of short films will highlight the evening along with a showcase of local foods and wines from area wineries to sample. Films include Power of Community, a feature on how local communities strengthened their local foods system; Organic Opportunity, the story of Woodbury County, Iowa; Through the Lens: Local Food Challenge at White Earth, Minn., a documentary produced by Lakeland Public Television; and Mahnoomin, the story of wild rice and the Ojibway people. Registration for the showcase is $15 per person.

A special exhibit on “Reducing Children’s Exposures to Pesticides in the Red River Valley,” will be on display. The project, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota Foundation, uses Photovoice, a qualitative research method, to assess the perceptions of women, from a variety of communities in the Red River Valley, about children’s exposure to pesticides. The images and words are used to create awareness and thoughtful consideration about the safety and protection of children.

Monday, March 31, Home Grown Economy Conference, Bede Ballroom, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. – In the morning, Dr. Kate Clancy, Senior Policy Analyst for Union of Concerned Scientists, will be addressing the conference  “Connecting Food to Land, Health and Economic Policy” along with Ken Meter, MPA, Crossroads Resource Center, who will address the issue of “Growth in Local Food Economies.”

In the afternoon, GiGi DiGiacomo, endowed chair for the U of M, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources will present “Retail Sales of Local Foods, an Opportunity Ripe for the Picking.

Three panel discussions will take place during the afternoon “A Taste of the Region” moderated by Jim Stordahl, Extension educator; “Local Foods in Larger Markets: the U of M, Crookston Story” moderated by Barbara Muesing, president, Minnesota Rural Health Association; and “Gaining a Competitive Edge: a Sampler Plate” moderated by Mary Jo Forbord, executive director, Sustainable Farming Association.

A wrap up session led by Rob Larew, chief of staff, U.S. House of Representatives Agricultural Committee and Terry VanDerPol, Community-Based Food Systems Project director, Land Stewardship Project will conclude the day activities.
Registration for the conference is $35 per person and includes a lunch featuring locally grown foods and covers all conference materials. Students may attend the conference for $10. Register online at or contact the Crookston Regional Center at 218-281-8027 (

The Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (NWRSDP) serves Northwest Minnesota by promoting active citizenship; helping the northwest region attain a sustainable future; and building strong partnerships with the University of Minnesota and the region. The partnership works to foster development of agricultural, tourism and natural resources systems that are profitable for citizens, while enhancing environmental quality and supporting rural communities. For more information, visit

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. Invent yourself at the University of Minnesota, Crookston – become a leader, innovate through technology and research and secure the career you want. To learn more, visit