PLATTSBURGH - Where does my food come from? What makes a food organic? Where in my area can I find the most nutritious food possible?
These are just a few questions that will be answered as Cornell Cooperative Extension hosts "Eating Local Yet? Finding and Using Local Foods," Thursday, May 6, at Plattsburgh High School.
Conference organizer Bernadette Logozar, local foods specialist and a rural and agricultural development specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, said the conference was designed in response to the needs expressed by North Country residents.
"Many people are interested in buying local, but they don't necessarily know where to find it, when to find it or what's available," said Logozar. "If you don't know what to ask or how to ask, you might not ask the questions and you might not make the purchase. So, this conference is meant to help consumers ask those questions."
The conference will feature keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer L. Wilkins, a nutritional science senior extension associate with the Community Food Systems Project at Cornell University. Wilkins, creator of the first regional food guide in the U.S., will discuss how consumers can plan a diet using locally-grown foods, the health aspects of eating local foods, and how a local food system supports community food security.
"It is a good idea to learn how to eat locally for several important reasons," Wilkins said in a statement, "your health, the health of your community, and for a sustainable future."
During the conference, nutritionist Martha Pickard of the Adirondack North Country Association will give tips on "how to get the most nutritional bang for your buck with local foods."
Also, Mark Kimble, a farmer from Essex County, will discuss buying meat directly from your local farmer and Cathy Hohmeyer, owner and chef for Hohmeyer's Lake Clear Lodge, will discuss seasonal menu planning.
"What we wanted to do is to get people to understand what's going on with the local food movement and the research that's going on," said Logozar.
Logozar will also discuss the "language of local foods," explaining what terms like local, organic, natural and grass-fed mean.
"It's getting that muddiness cleared out of the water for terms that can be confusing," said Logozar.
The May 6 conference will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The agenda, added Logozar, will also include networking time with locally-grown and processed finger foods for tasting.
Pre-registration for the conference is required by Saturday, May 1. The $10 registration fee covers admission, refreshments and materials. For more information or to register, call 483-7403 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.