Monday July 18, 2016 at 11:45 AM EDT
Wednesday July 20, 2016 at 2:00 PM EDT

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The Eclipse Company Store 
11309 Jackson Drive
The Plains, OH 45780

Driving Directions 


Meggan Loveland 
Appalachian Center for Economic Networks 

Real Food Real Local Conference

Whether you are a local food entrepreneur, farmer, processor, retailer, or locavore, this event has something for everyone: creative ideas, proven approaches, great connections, plenty of interaction and fun!

This year’s conference will focus on the economic impacts of local/regional food, the development of distribution hubs, retail markets and shared-use facilities. Expect in-depth panel sessions, tour options, engaging workshops and structured networking opportunities... plus great local food!


Online registration is now closed for the Real Food Real Local Conference! If you would like to register for the Community Food Initiatives workshop series: Seed Saving Afternoon: A Companion Workshop of the Real Food Real Local Conference, you can still do so by contacting Jess Chadwell at jess@communityfoodinitiatives.org or register via their facebook event HERE.


Monday July 18th                  At Eclipse Company Store

11:45 am – 12:30 pm

Opening Reception: Snacks, refreshments and networking.

12:30 – 12:45

Welcome: Opening remarks from conference planners and 30 Mile Meal communities.

12:45 – 1:45

Distribution Panel: Local food enterprise facility partners and regional producers from West Virginia, southwest Virginia and Ohio discuss the challenges of implementing a multi-state distribution network and collaborative plans for 2016 and 2017 to move local products throughout Central Appalachia. Leslie Schaller will provide an overview of our regional challenges and opportunities and facilitate updates from Mary Oldham of Natural Capital Investment Fund, Value Chain Cluster Initiative, Gail Patton of Unlimited Future Inc. and The Wild Ramp, Rosemary Roe of ACEnet and Annie Stroud from Downstream Strategies.

2:00 – 3:30

Track One: Food Business Enterprise Centers: Making Space for Local Entrepreneurs

In the last five years, Ohio has launched many new kitchen incubators and food hubs. What kind of processing, aggregation and distribution infrastructure does your community need to assist food and farm entrepreneurs? A panel of facility managers will share their models for building a stronger local food economy.  Management champions include presenters: Rosemary Roe—The Nelsonville Food Hub, Larry Fisher—The Food Ventures Center, Carol Humphreys—Foodworks Alliance, Melissa Miller—The Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, Paul Keida---Canal Market District Food Hub and Kate Djupe—The Commissary.

Track Two:  New Opportunities in Local Meat Marketing

Navigating policies surrounding local meat production and custom butchering has the potential to open economic opportunities for many food entrepreneurs and farmers. Learn about obstacles and success stories from Brian Williams leading the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Council’s Meat Task Force. Tony Logan State Director of Rural Development will share opportunities for Rural Development funding for farmers and processors looking to work together. If you are a regional meat producer or processor, please contact leslies@acenetworks.org, we would love to include your input on these issues.

3:45 – 5:00

Track One: The Market Model: Blurring the Lines between Farmers Markets and Retail Stores

Retail markets are springing up to provide a market place for local farm products to be sold, allowing farmers to expand production and sales without needing to be on-site to sell their produce. The story starts in Wooster, Ohio at Local Roots, when Jane Black a writer for the Washington Post publishes an article about this cool cooperatively owned market. Local Roots developed a consignment model indoor farmers market to increase the viability of farm and value-added food businesses. Then a group from Huntington, WV heard about the idea and adapted the model to fit their rural city. More markets focusing on community food access and locally produced foods have continued to pop up in Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia.  The panel will be comprised of experienced market managers including Melissa William--Local Roots in Wooster, Lauren Kemp--the Wild Ramp, Ashley Cavendar--the Boone Street Market and Bill Brinkerhof from Argus Farm Shop. Get an in-depth overview of how the social mission to increase community food access, creates stronger communities, new opportunities for farmers and producers and new economic impacts in low-wealth areas both rural and urban places.

Track Two: Moving from Program to Policy

How do local food coalitions and policy councils build overcome economic and political barriers to local food? In rural communities and neighborhoods, local food champions often experience barriers to increase agricultural production, processing, sales and distribution. Amalie Lipstreu from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Brandon Nida from the WV Food and Farm Association will discuss regional food plans, statewide policy changes and new cooperative legislation. Other experts from Central Appalachia working at local and state levels will be on hand to share new policies and incentives working in their communities.

5:00 – 6:00

Cocktail Hour Cash Bar: Enjoy local brews and spirits with some of the entrepreneurs who are making local beverages happen in Athens! Dinner will be provided from Kiser’s BBQ.

6:00 – 7:00

Kick Off Dinner: Keynote Speaker – Sara Eckhouse

Sara Eckhouse serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focusing on local and regional food systems and related issues. From 2012 to 2016, Sara was Chief of Staff at USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products in domestic and international markets. In that role, Sara advised the Administrator on the full range of agency activities, with an emphasis on policies and strategies that support USDA and AMS priorities related to organic agriculture, local and regional food systems, and access to healthy food.


Tuesday July 19                     At Eclipse Company Store

8:30 – 9:00

Check in: Refreshments and networking

9:00 – 10:30

Track One: 30 Mile Meal Communities: Branding and Collaboration

30 Mile Meal Communities representatives from Huntington, Youngstown, Athens and Licking County will provide updates on how regional branding is impacting food and farm entrepreneurs in their towns and counties. The 30 Mile Meal brand program continues to attract regional attention and regularly garners local and regional earned media. Brand managers, restaurant owners and tourism professionals will discuss the economic impacts of the program since its inception in 2010.  Learn how branding can help leverage local food initiatives in your community and create stronger connection between buyers and sellers in local food value chains.

Track Two: Local Food and Cooperative Development.

Interested in implementing more local food enterprises into your community or wanting to take a new direction in your business model? Learn from multiple coop models working in the cooperative field. Presenters will review promising cooperative models for farm incubation, worker ownership and producer associations. Coop experts Hannah Scott, Thomas Snyder and Ursulette Huntley from Ohio and WV will detail the opportunities for cooperative development support from the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, the WV Food and Farm Coalition, New Leaf Cooperative, Inc. and the OH-WV Food Hub Network.

10:30 – 12:00

Track One:  A Peek Behind the Curtain of Institutional Food Procurement

S.K. Piper, the Sustainability Coordinator for Bon Appetit Management Company providing Denison University’s food service, presents on her work sourcing local food at Denison University. Procurement procedures and institutional policies have long been a barrier to getting local foods into larger institutions. Piper suggests that “once people understand some of the intricacies and reasons behind the obstacles, they can better figure out how to overcome them”. Tips and troubleshooting techniques for procuring local food will be discussed. This workshop will engage participants to think about their own institutional purchasing barriers and prepare attendees to navigate through procurement policies.

Track Two: Farmers Markets and Food Tourism

Consumers are indicating a growing preference for locally and ethically produced foods. As consciousness of food sources expand, farmers markets and other local food venues enjoy increasing popularity. Learn how to harness this interest in local and sustainably produced goods in order to provide a tourism opportunity for communities with thriving local food economies. Panelists Bekky Hobson, Leslie Schaller, Paige Alost and Lauren Kemp will feature examples from recent success stories: the Canal Market District in Licking County, the Wild Ramp in Huntington West Virginia, the Keller Market House and the Athens Farmers Market.

12:00 – 1:00

Food Truck Lunch –Enjoy lunch from Chelsea’s Real Food Truck serving locally-sourced, made from scratch, gluten free foods, offering seasonally based items sourced from local farms

1:00 – 2:00

Downstairs Track:  Keynote Speaker Anthony  Flaccavento presents Beyond the Margins:  Six Transitions to Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up

The local food system has made great strides in many parts of the country, from Athens, Ohio to Arizona.  In spite of this, and a great deal of other work to promote local economies, the overall impact of this work remains small.  Additionally, the progress we have made frequently comes under threat, whether from bad trade deals or corporate-driven food and farm policy.  What can we do to both strengthen emerging healthy economies, and magnify their impact on the public debate and public policy?  In this talk, Anthony Flaccavento will share some stories from his research on the bottom up economy, and describe six essential transitions he believes we must make to build a healthier, more just and sustainable economy and food system.  Following the talk, he will be selling and signing copies of his recently-released book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up.

Upstairs Track:  Hacking Hybrids-Developing Stronger Open Pollinated Varieties for Climate Change: Utilizing Hybrid Traits to Protect Against Diseases and Pests

This workshop will provide an understanding of how to unlock and stabilize certain traits within hybrid seed varieties that may be useful in expediting the development of protection for open pollinated seeds to ensure strong and adaptive plant varieties for an uncertain future.                  Presenter: Dr. Art Trese, Ohio University Environmental & Plant Biology Professor

2:00 –5:00

Downstairs Tracks

2:00 – 3:00 Open Space Café

Throughout the conference, attendees can post ideas, themes, topics, or obstacles they are experiencing within their local food systems work throughout Monday and Tuesday morning of the conference. ACEnet staff will identify overall themes and topics throughout the conference and organize tables centered on the emerging themes. During this hour, table topics will be identified and announced. Conference attendees are asked to sit by table of their interest. Open Space should fit the networking and information sharing needs of both new and returning Real Food Real Local communities. Please start thinking about what you most want to talk about during Open Space. Conversations will be facilitated by identified conference attendees with experience relating to table topics. Attendees are free to move from table to table throughout the Open Space Café timeframe.

3:00 – 3:15 Break

3:15 – 5:00 Flash Talks Competition

10 speakers will have 7 minutes each to present a project model or idea that might inform actions and collaborations with other partners in their neighborhood, sub-region or state.  At the end of all the flash talks, audience members will get a chance to vote for the one flash talk they feel will be the most impactful for the replication in their communities. The top three ideas will receive cash prizes. Contact leslies@acenetworks.org for more info on participating.

Upstairs Tracks

2:00 – 3:30 Do-It-Yourself Seed Cleaning Equipment for a Quality Product: Get Your Hands Dirty and Your Seeds Clean

A hands-on building workshop utilizing open-source schematics designed by seed growers to reduce seed cleaning costs and improve the ease and quality of seed cleaning. Participants will gain an understanding of how to easily and cheaply clean seeds. The equipment made during the workshop will be made available to Community Food Initiatives' Seed Company participating growers in SE Ohio. Presenter: Mary Nally, Community Food Initiatives Executive Director and Jess Chadwell, CFI Seed Company Developer
3:30-4:45pm A Conversation among Regional Seed Growers

Seed Savers and Growers convene to share their stories: why they do it, how they do it, and what they see as their role in local food systems and food security. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, barriers, and opportunities facing seed savers and the critical importance of including them in the local food system.
Facilitator: Community Food Initiatives Staff

5:00-6:00pm Regional Seed Exchange at Little Fish Brewery

Seed savers from across the region will attend to swap and sell their localized open-pollinated seed crop varieties with each other and the general public. Facilitated by Community Food Initiatives Staff.

Wednesday July 20         At ACEnet (94 Columbus Rd.)

8:30 – 9:00

Check in: Refreshments & networking

9:00 – 10:00

Funding Panel: Grants and funding help leverage programming work and development within local food economies. Learn from funders about sources available for food hubs, kitchen incubators, farmers market, food entrepreneurship programming, renewable energy programs and more. Presenters will provide detail on various public grant programs and new collaborations between philanthropy partners. USDA programs, such as the new Strikeforce initiative will be covered in detail.


Tour of the ACEnet Food Ventures Center: Celebrating its 20thanniversary this year!

11:30 – 12:30

Renewable Energy: Learn about businesses in Athens that have made significant increases in renewable energy. Only a year old, Little Fish Brewing Company owners Sean White and James Stockwell will give a tour of the brewery and their many innovations will be the first tour stop.

12:30 – 2:00

Lunch:  Enjoy a 30 Mile Meal at Della Zona. Owners, Christine Hughes and Bob O’Neil will discuss their renewable energy commitments to incorporating solar and geothermal into their business model. As leaders they are making the connections between food, water, energy, health and social justice in the Athens food economy.

Upgrade Athens County and SOPEC will talk about their efforts to help Athens decrease energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy technologies.


Meggan Loveland 
Appalachian Center for Economic Networks