Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scaling Up Access to Local Food Workshop

All residents of northeastern Minnesota who are interested in local food and food access are invited to a workshop on Tuesday, November 1st from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Itasca Community College and the University of Minnesota’s North Central Research and Outreach Center. Farmers, farmers’ market staff, and agency and non-profit staff who work on issues of health and food access are especially encouraged to attend.

Learn how food assistance programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) can include locally grown foods. Hear about innovative ways that people across the region and across the country are using to connect local food supply (farmers and farmers’ markets) with low-income people who need and want healthy, local food. Network with diverse participants from across our northeast region. New ideas and new partnerships will be forged at this workshop! Together, we can build more and better channels for locally grown food to reach the hands of those who need it.

Presenters will include Rebecca Fee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, talking about the Blue Cross “Market Bucks” program that expands SNAP customers' purchasing power at farmers’ markets. Deonna Bouska of Minnesota Farmers Market Association (MFMA) will provide training for farmers’ market staff and vendors as well as for individual farmers on how to become certified to accept SNAP benefits (food stamps) from consumers. Carol Milligan of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be joined by staff from Itasca County Public Health to discuss the ins and outs of food assistance programs: how they work, who is eligible, and more. Community Action Duluth will lead a session on community food access, focused on how to connect low-income consumers with local food.

A delicious local food meal will be served in the ICC Dining Center. Cost of the workshop, including the meal, is $10. Thanks to the generous support of Blue Cross, that fee is waived for the first 100 people to register. Also through Blue Cross support, travel scholarships of $25 are available for up to 40 participants. Find the registration form and brochure online at www.misa.umn.edu; or contact Jane Grimsbo Jewett to register: jewet006@umn.edu, 218-845-2832.

The workshop is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association), Minnesota Farmers Market Association, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Minnesota North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the University of Minnesota’s North Central Research and Outreach Center.

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