BROOKINGS, S.D. — The annual South Dakota Local Foods Conference will take place Nov. 17-19, 2022, at the Sturgis Community Center in Sturgis.
Conference attendees will enjoy locally sourced meals catered by Chef Travis Bartels of the northern Black Hills and Chef Jordan Taylor, chef and co-owner of Bread and Circus, Pizza Cheeks, En Place Catering, and Boathouse Bar and Grill in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Tickets are $100 for one day or $150 for the full conference; students receive a discounted rate of $65 for one day, or $100 for the full conference.
This year’s conference starts Thursday evening with a mixer at the Sturgis Brewing Company, followed by a weekend of presentations by agricultural experts on specialty crop production, industry challenges, new technologies and opportunities, and local food projects in South Dakota. During the vendor fair, participants can connect with others involved in local foods to discuss ways to improve their business.
The conference will wrap up with tours of multiple farms committed to organic and regenerative practices around the Sturgis area, including Bear Butte Gardens, Belle Valley Ancient Grains, and Moonrise Mountain Ranch.
Keynote speakers this year are Natalie Stites Means, a Rapid City-based entrepreneur and advocate for indigenous people, and Hannah Breckbill, an organic farm operator from Iowa.
Stites Means will speak on how hunger, food justice and sovereignty affect quality of life in South Dakota. She founded the HeSapa Voter Initiative, a civic engagement effort for urban Indians in South Dakota, and co-founded Wotakuye Mutual Aid Society, the community pandemic response for urban Indians in Rapid City. She was appointed to the South Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was a part of the Rapid City cohort of the Creative Community Leadership Institute, and is a My Sisters Are Warriors Ambassador for Thrive Unltd.
Breckbill of Humble Hands Harvest in Decorah, Iowa, is in her 10th season of production and will speak about her experiences building a local food community in her presentation “Relying on Each Other: The Practice of Community.” She will also host a breakout session on “Adding Livestock to a Vegetable Farm.”
The conference schedule includes:
- Four panels and forums: Local Chefs, Farm to School, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Farmers, Seed Saving
- Automation for High Tunnels, Watering Systems, and Monitoring Coolers – Peggy Martin & Bud Manke, Cedar Creek Gardens
- SNAP and Incentive programs at Farmers Markets – Barbara Cromwell, Black Hills Farmers Market
- Growing and Marketing Unique Vegetable Varieties – Jeremy Nelson, Tillford Rye Farm
- Cover Crop Strategies – Shawn Freeland, Dry Creek Farm & Ranch
- A Mechanical Engineer’s Approach to Gardening – Darin Waldner, Waldner Farms
- Soil Health & Cover Crop Management for Vegetable Production – Rhoda Burrows, Professor & SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, and Kristine Lang, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist
- Lamb & Wool: Adding Value to Your Operation – Lisa Surber, LM Livestock Services, and Jaelyn Quintana, SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist
- Regenerating a local food system on the Pine Ridge Reservation – Nick Hernandez, Makoce Agriculture Development
- Controlled Environment Agriculture at Western Dakota Technical College – Kelsey Murray, Western Dakota Tech
The event is hosted annually by the South Dakota Local Foods Coalition, a collaboration of partners including Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, SDSU Extension, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service of South Dakota. For more information and to register for this year’s conference, visit https://extension.sdstate.edu/
Registration is also open for an optional pre-conference workshop about South Dakota Agritourism, coordinated by Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist, and Jacey Ellsworth, South Dakota Department of Tourism. This event will address visitor expectations, collaborations, developing a tour, communications with visitors, and other important action steps. Visit https://extension.sdstate.edu/
— SDSU Extension