Portland Farmer-Chef Connection Conference brings buyers and growers to table to foster local food economy
Release Date: 02-14-2007

PORTLAND, Ore. — Author Daniel Imhoff paints a picture of a new American agrarian movement that promises healthier food and healthier ecosystems when he presents the keynote speech at the seventh annual Portland Farmer-Chef Connection conference on Monday, March 5. The one-day conference brings farmer and buyer to the table to establish business relationships, collaborate and gain practical knowledge.

A joint effort of Ecotrust’s Food & Farms Program and the Portland chapter of Chefs Collaborative, the seventh annual Portland conference will take place at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, Ore., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A $20 entrance fee includes lunch and a copy of the 2007 Guide to Local and Seasonal Products. Space is limited, so register now at www.farmerchefconnection.org. Online registration closes on February 28.

Working off the conference’s central theme — the 2007 Farm Bill — Imhoff will make the link between one of most significant pieces of land use legislation enacted in the United States and the survival of rural economies, health and nutrition, national security and biodiversity.

“Imhoff’s take on the Farm Bill coupled with workshops designed for entry level participants as well as returning pros is our attempt to evolve the conference to engage growers and buyers in all aspects of expanding our local food economy,” explains Krista Anderson, Portland Chefs Collaborative member.

Inspired by Imhoff’s words, attendees will head off to conference sessions designed to provide hands-on information for moving food through the local food system. Learn how to navigate the new regulatory landscape in Local Meat; or unravel the Mechanics of Institutional Purchasing in schools and hospitals; perfect the art of the deal in Farmer Chef 201 by discerning the finer points of planning, contracts, collaboration and pricing; or demystify the value of certification and claims in Certification: Claims, Verification and Multiple Truths.

During an afternoon workshop participants can observe where bacon really comes from in thePork Butchering Demonstration. Find out in Farmer-Chef 101 how to get started in farm-direct purchasing; or delve further into the complex Farm Bill with in-depth national and regional experts; and, finally; access new markets and extend your season in Food Processing.

It wouldn’t be a Farmer-Chef Connection without a chance to network — to make market connections — that is for farmers to find a chef, growers to find a retailer.

Says Andrew Haden, market connections manager for Ecotrust’s Food & Farms program, “Ultimately, we want attendees to leave with a business relationship solidified — a market connection made. That gets us one step closer to our goal of moving more local food through our regional food system.”

The Farmer-Chef Connection is now in its seventh year of developing and deepening market connections throughout the Pacific Northwest. What started as a partnership in 2001 between Ecotrust’s Foods & Farm program and the Portland Chapter of the Chefs Collaborative has expanded to include partners throughout the Cascadia region who are committed to advancing change in the region’s food system. Portland conference sponsors include Organic Valley Family of Farms, Kettle Foods, Burgerville, Stahlbush Island Farms, Columbia Oil Seed Cooperative, Truitt Brothers, Food Services of America and Organically Grown Company, with support from Grand Central Bakery and Café, Pastaworks and Shepherd’s Grain.

About Daniel Imhoff
Daniel Imhoff has been writing and researching for nearly 20 years on issues of design, sustainable agriculture, and the environment. He is the author of numerous essays, articles, and books, including: Building with Vision: Optimizing and Finding Alternatives to Wood (2001); Farming with the Wild: Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches (2003); Paper or Plastic: Searching for Solutions to an Overpackaged World (2005); and Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill (2007). Dan is the president a co-founder of Watershed Media, a 501c3 nonprofit publishing house founded in 2000 and the president and co-founder of the Wild Farm Alliance, a national organization that promotes agricultural systems which accommodate wild nature. He lives with his family on a small homestead farm in Northern California.

About Ecotrust’s Food & Farms Program www.ecotrust.org
Since 2001, Ecotrust’s Food and Farms program has been investing in building direct market connections between farmers, ranchers, and fishermen and restaurant chefs, grocery retail buyers, institutions and distributors. One of five major program areas of the Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit Ecotrust, the Food and Farms Program is building a vision for a sustainable food system.

About Chefs Collaborative
Chefs Collaborative is a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of cooking local, seasonal and artisan foods. While celebrating the pleasures of food, Collaborative members recognize the impact of food in our lives, on the well-being of our communities, and on the integrity of the global environment. Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is the only culinary organization that provides its members with tools for running economically healthy, sustainable food service businesses and making environmentally sound purchasing decisions.