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Farm and Food Conference to feature a Farm Festival

Sep. 28, 2012 @ 12:25 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Tri-State Farm and Food Conference this year will feature a Farm Festival with a farmer's market and a food fair, where local vendors will offer farm products and area chefs will showcase dishes made of locally grown products.

The 2012 conferences runs Oct. 12-13 at Pullman Plaza Hotel on 3rd Avenue in Huntington, and the festival will be begin at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, at Heritage Station on 11th Street.

The conference hopes to attract farmers, producers, cooks, restaurateurs and supporters of the local food movement. The focus will be on the food system, or foodshed, within 50 miles of Huntington, encompassing 15 counties in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

Topics include farm to school; good handling and good agricultural practices; farmers markets and direct marketing; homesteading 101; tree fruit; value-adding; farm transition; dairy regulations; branding your farm; agri-tourism; vegetable storage; farm taxation; crop insurance and much more.

West Virginians spend more than $7 billion on food every year, according to a press release, and right now less than 1 percent of that wealth stays in West Virginia.

But efforts are under way to change that, including the new local food market, The Wild Ramp, at Huntington's Heritage Station.

"With such opportunity for growth and expansion of the agricultural community and foodshed in the Tri-State region, we feel it is an ultimate necessity to bring farmers, consumers, cafeterias and businesses in this region together to continue revolutionizing Huntington's foodshed," Tom McConnnell, the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center program leader, said in the release.

High school and college students interested in attending are eligible for a discounted registration fee.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 12. Online registration is available by calling 304-293-2565 or visiting http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/farmfoodconference.