January 28, 2015
Michigan Dining not only provides tasty food to the university, it is investing in the future of sustainable dining. This year, the group is sponsoring a homegrown event on Central Campus that is sure to spark opportunities for anyone wanting a sustainable, equitable food system in southeast Michigan.
The 7th Annual Local Food Summit comes to Rackham Auditorium and the Michigan League from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 15. It will include presentations, breakout sessions and initiatives for a sustainable community.
The summit is a non-profit event generated by Slow Food Huron Valley, its volunteers and sponsors who provide education and networking. Registration by Jan. 31 is $40 per participant. Beginning Feb. 1 registration is $50. Scholarships are also available through an application process.
"Solutions for a sustainable food system are within miles of where we work, learn and eat. Every year, this summit sparks new endeavors to bridge local food producers with local consumers and people in need," said Keith Soster, director of student engagement at Michigan Dining.
Michigan Dining and University Unions are reducing their carbon footprint by buying more local food products for eateries, reducing food waste and conserving water.
Currently, the university is on track toward meeting part of its "Healthy Environments" sustainability goal to purchase 20 percent of its ingredients from local farmers, sustainable producers and food entrepreneurs. Already, the university community has multiple sustainable food offerings in seven dining halls and 17 cafes across campus.
Since 2009, the Local Food Summit has become a catalyst for finding and filling the gaps leading to healthy food choices. A few food victories shared in the past include ordinances for urban farming, increased purchases of locally produced food for public schools, opening of food hubs in Washtenaw County and supporting local food entrepreneurs.
This year's summit will carry the theme "Food Love" and share the passion through stories, experiences and perspectives that can further ignite the local movement.
Michigan Dining will present during one of the breakout sessions. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be prepared by U-M chefs, who will be using ingredients from local farmers and businesses.
"For the cost of a box of Valentine's Day candy and roses, participants can make an impact on our local food ecosystem, which is pretty sweet," Soster said.