UF Food Summit to showcase issues surrounding Florida food systems, sustainability

March 25, 2010

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Office of Sustainability will host the first Florida Food Summit April 12-13. The event at UF’s Reitz Student Union will facilitate networking, dialogue, and visioning among members of the Florida food system, and help develop the connections needed for robust farm-to-institution programs.

The summit is part of the Office of Sustainability’s 40 Days of Change campaign – a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The event will commence with a welcome reception, followed by public panels focusing on food systems at the local and state level. Additional events include film screenings, multimedia presentations and a “Food on the Lawn” fair and farmers market. “Food on the Lawn” will take place on UF’s Plaza of the Americas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12, and feature food demonstrations, educational displays and local produce for sale. A photography exhibition, “Range, Furrow, and Grove: Images of Florida Agriculture,” will also be on display April 5-17 in the Reitz Student Union Gallery.

Michael Dimock, executive director of Roots for Change, will present a keynote speech on sustainable food system development the evening of April 12. Robert Stone, outreach coordinator for Florida Folklife Program, will present “Florida Cowboys and Agricultural History” the evening of April 13.

A special workshop will be held April 13 for local and national stakeholders invited to share their knowledge on and ideas for creating and accelerating farm-to-institution programs.

Additional programs hosted in the days leading up to the event will complement the summit program and include movie showings, student-led programs and a panel titled “Food and Faith,” featuring local religious leaders.

Sponsors of the event include Alachua County, Aramark Higher Education and Darden Restaurants, along with considerable support from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in planning and participation.

A full schedule of events with information on time and location is available on the University of Florida Office of Sustainability’s Web site, www.sustainability.ufl.edu.