Inaugural Symposium Addresses Food System Topics
Posted: January 6, 2012
The symposium opened with remarks from Jeaneen Zappa, Sustainability Manager for Allegheny County, who highlighted several sustainable food system successes in the Pittsburgh area. She was followed by Jamie Moore, the Director of Sourcing and Sustainability for the Eat’N Park Hospitality Group and a member of the PFPC. Jamie outlined the responsibilities of steering committee members on the PFPC council and then related how individual members contribute to and benefit from involvement in the council.
Morgan Taggart, a Program Specialist in Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Ohio State University Extension, and the co-convener of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition, was the first guest speaker. Morgan presented an informative and entertaining talk on the “ins and outs” of collaborating with local government which offered optimism and advice to attendees from rust belt towns.
Kim Davidson and Gretchen Natter, from Gettysburg College and the Adams County Food Policy Council, discussed food access and leveraging public/private partnerships. Coming from a rural setting, the women demonstrated how to accomplish goals when you know practically everyone in town. Their successes were numerous; the attendees from rural areas were reassured by their positive attitudes.
Grace Yogaretnum and Grace German, co-chairs of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, introduced concepts on harnessing the energy of youth. Their presentation highlighted the incredible involvement they have had from community members in Toronto and they explained how their council functions within larger organizations.
The last hour of the Symposium, dedicated to breakout discussion groups, addressed the following topics: Urban Agriculture Issues & Interfacing with Public Officials, Rural Agriculture Issues, Connecting Supply & Demand and Food Access Issues. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with experts on a specific topic while networking with other attendees.
Event Coordinator Ann DeSanctis commented, “The enthusiasm at the Symposium was incredible and the presenters were all well received. Attendees really seemed to get a lot out of the day and many connections were made that will hopefully lead to future collaboration and continued learning.” Ann, the 2011 Student Conservation Association Green Cities Fellow with the Allegheny County extension office, was supported in her leadership role by PFPC chairperson Heather Mikulas. Heather, also with county extension, is the Community Based Agriculture Program Associate.
For more information on the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, please contact Heather Mikulas at email@example.com