With fall harvest season in full swing, there was good news from the USDA for consumers who prefer to buy their produce, meat, dairy and eggs directly from farmers: the number of farmer’s markets in the United States has grown by 13% over the past year. According to the agency, 5,274 farmer’s markets are now operating nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008 (a gain of 589 markets). The USDA has just launched the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity.
George Washington University’s Urban Food Task Force, Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) have joined forces by providing a platform for DC’s vibrant culinary community to focus on strengthening the supply chain for sustainably raised meat.
The State of the Plate DC (www.StateofthePlateDC.net) daylong conference is set for Monday, October 17, 2011 at George Washington University’s Marvin Center and will feature a series of panels and notable speakers, focused on sharing best practices, information, and strategies. The event is designed for chefs, restaurateurs, distributors, farmers, ranchers, food leaders, students, faculty and those interested in the topic.
Ultimately, producers want to sell meat and restaurants want to buy it. This event will allow both producers and chefs/restaurant owners to discuss the terms of the trade via lively discussions, and then potentially engage in actual deal‐making that satisfies the needs of both groups. Designed to share information in a positive format, focus will be on sustainable farming, animal product preparation, the myths and realities of food labeling, and supply chain management.
This event is organized by Animal Welfare Approved, the industry leader in auditing and certifying family farms that raise their animals sustainably, outdoors on pasture or range according to the highest welfare standards. The co‐organizer is Educated Eats (the education foundation arm of RAMW), dedicated to creating the next generation of culinary professionals. The George Washington University’s Urban Food Task Force is the event’s key collaborator.
“DC chefs are increasingly renowned for their commitment to top‐quality, sustainable, healthy, and delicious foods. I’m delighted to see more of them entering the dialogue about sustainable and high‐welfare farming. State of the Plate DC fits well with the mission of George Washington’s Urban Food Task Force; it offers hands‐on opportunities for chefs and producers to work together in advancing the conversation about food policy and action,” says Diane Robinson Knapp, Chair, The George Washington University Urban Food Task Force.
Animal Welfare Approved program director Andrew Gunther added, “We believe that attendees will gain a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of developing sustainable food supply chains, but even more importantly, participants will have the opportunity to meet with and taste products from farmers already delivering solutions.”
“Educated Eats is thrilled to be working with our partners on this sustainable meat conference, continuing our series of seminars for our members,” says Gregory Casten, Chairman of the Board of RAMW. “We look forward to raising awareness for chefs and restaurateurs about the many benefits of sustainable farming practices‐‐including raising animals outdoors on pasture or range. Using sustainably raised animal proteins can help improve a restaurant’s image, efficiency and performance.”
Tickets: $55 includes continental breakfast and boxed lunch from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Advance registration is required. Seating is limited so be sure to register early. To register online visit www.StateofthePlateDC.net. From 5:00‐6:30 pm a sustainable meat tasting reception will bring together members of the RAMW with farmers, distributors and processors.
Location: The conference will be held at the George Washington University’s Marvin Center, 800 21st Street, Washington, DC 20052.
Questions: Contact Laura Colombi with questions at (202) 446‐2138.
Members of the press are encouraged to contact Beth Hauptle at (202) 446‐2155 to reserve complimentary press passes.