Feast Down East Holds 3rd Annual Regional Conference

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wilmington, NC - Feast Down East (FDE) and its partners are holding the 3rd Annual Regional Local Food Conference on Friday, March 1, 2013, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Burney Center, on the UNCW campus. The theme of the conference is "Connecting Local Food & Local Folks."

The focus of the conference is two-fold: to empower small farmers with knowledge and skills to grow and sustain their farm businesses and to help consumers learn to advocate for and use local food in their communities.

"We are trying to build and support systems that will make it easier for people to purchase food from our local farmers and instill in them an appreciation of where their food comes from," said Jane Steigerwald, Feast Down East director and conference organizer.

For the first time, FDE will bestow the "Feast Down East Agrarian Stewardship Award" on two individuals, one chef and one farmer who have supported the work of FDE and our local farm communities in an exceptional way.

Roland McReynolds, the Executive Director of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) will kick-off the conference. The conference will include workshops on biodynamic farming practices, irrigation, aquaponics, natural pest management, farm business planning and marketing, local food advocacy, navigating the local food landscape seasonal menu planning and more.

Feast Down East, headed by UNCW sociology professor Leslie Hossfeld, in partnership with many local grassroots organizations, agencies and community leaders, has worked to build a sustainable local economy by supporting and marketing local farms. Its goal is to bring more local, fresher food choices directly to consumers, area restaurants, grocers, schools, college campuses, hospitals and other institutions.

"The conference is a major Feast Down East initiative, centered on helping our small farmers build capacity and strengthening our local food system," said Hossfeld, executive director and co-founder.

If you are a farmer or someone who wants to help bring more fresh, healthy local farm food into your community, register online at or contact Jane Steigerwald at for more information.

The conference is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item and open to the public. Donated items will be given to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Seating is limited to 280 participants with priority given to farmers.

Media Contact: Andrea Weaver, Office of University Relations, or 910-962-7631.