Making Connections: Attention Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs, this One’s for You!

Attention Farmers, Food Entrepreneurs

and Those Who Love Them!

Do You Want to Scale Up the Local Food Economy?

This Event is for You!

Food Policy Meeting Oct 29 2015 REV


With the support of the newly formed Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council, RenewLV is hosting a FREE lunch/discussion from 12 to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Fowler Center on Bethlehem’s South Side, 511 East Third Street, 6th Floor and you’re invited!

This event, titled “Making Connections,” will present some compelling ideas on how to support food and beverage entrepreneurship and the ways that area farmers, food and beverage producers can scale up their businesses by understanding the perspectives of distributors and institutional buyers. The benefits of “going organic” (and the increased profits of doing so) also will be discussed.

This event has been especially designed for farmers and food producers.  So if this is you, please clear your calendar and plan to come!  

Supporting our region’s farmers and food producers is also important, so please come and help ensure the Lehigh Valley can develop a vibrant local food economy.

Many thanks to our sponsors — Samuel Adams, Brewing the American Dream and Wendy Landiak, owner of the beloved vegan Asian fusion restuarant, Shankara.

Space is limited.  To reserve your spot, register today!

The event will unfold as follows:

Starting at noon we’ll hear from our panelists and then break into small group discussions at the tables, where you can network, share information and move “from ideas to actions.”

We will be asking the question: “As a Region, Are We Leaving Money on the Table?”

At least 8.4 million people live 90 miles east of the Lehigh Valley in New York City. Yet produce is transported right by us from communities as far west of us as California and as close as Lancaster County. This food is headed to what might be the most lucrative market in the country and we should be capitalizing on our proximity to it?

A friend of RenewLV’s, Jon Middleton, who works with a large food service company believes that $200 million of what his firm spends on food could be sourced locally.  Another friend of ours who runs an organic catering business claims that there aren’t enough organic products for her to buy, even though organic produce would garner a premium price for the farmers and producers.  How can the Lehigh Valley capitalize on these opportunities?

We will explore how to close gaps in the regional food system so that everyone makes more money and farmland is preserved.

Small table discussion groups will explore options that can help local food and beverage entrepreneurs and the farmers who support them make more money, in other words, “grow the local food economy.”  We believe that if we are smarter about growing our local food economy, then more farmers will keep their land in production thus improving profits and preserving farmland!

Panelists for “Making Connections”

jon middleton

Jon Middleton, director of culinary operations at Muhlenberg College Dining Services

Middleton, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has used local, seasonal, sustainable and natural ingredients in his restaurants since the late 1970’s. He now grows his own on his 13-acre farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. He is interested in increasing the use of locally grown food in large institutions and believes efforts to buy local from just one large institution could result in as much as $200 million kept in the region annually.

Food prepared by Middleton and his team from GrowLV is featured each year at the Seed Farm‘s Farm-to-Table dinner. GrowLV is a consortium of Sodexo culinary teams in the Lehigh Valley sourcing fresh, local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients.

Frank Baldassarre

Frank J. Baldassarre, owner Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters and Artisan Exchange West Chester LLC

Baldassarre has extensive entrepreneurial experience as an owner and principal in Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters and Artisan Exchange West Chester LLC. He brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, including executive level experience at a number of the regions’ banks. He possesses extensive managerial, lending, accounting and regulatory knowledge that has been instrumental in the success of both projects.Golden Valley is a family-owned and operated artisan coffee roaster in West Chester, Pa. They specialize in roasting a large variety of organic, shade-grown, bird-friendly, and fair trade coffees. Artisan Exchange offers small-scale dedicated manufacturing space to food entrepreneurs in a fully-equipped 27,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution center. The Exchange was a finalist for the PA Governor’s Small Business Impact Award this year.

Baldassarre is interested in bringing a similar turn-key operation to the Lehigh Valley.  This event presents a unique opportunity for you to connect with Frank, hear his ideas, and perhaps be one of the first to benefit from his interest in developing Lehigh Valley food manufacturing and distribution center.

Andrew Puglia

Andrew Puglia, procurement manager for the Farmer Outreach program at Common Market based in Philadelphia

Common Market is a mission-driven food distributor of local foods to the Mid-Atlantic region.  They work to build strong relationships with farmers and producers in our region to ensure that they procure the highest quality local farm food available. The Farmer Outreach team coordinates with farmers on crop planning based on customer’s needs and conducts annual audits of farmers’ growing practices.

Common Market connects wholesale customers to farmers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware by marketing and distributing good food to schools, hospitals, grocers and workplaces. They aggregate food in our warehouse from about 75 regional producers and deliver six days a week to almost 150 public and private schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, workplaces, grocery stores, nonprofits and faith institutions throughout the Delaware Valley.

Cynthia James, Rodale

Cynthia James, ASC Program Manager, Rodale Institute

Cynthia James from Rodale Institute will be available to answer questions about how farmers and gardeners can get organic certification.

Rodale Insitute’s hands-on programs are ideal for aspiring organic farmers and food-systems advocates. They provide experiential, skills-based education in organic farming. Students get a unique and comprehensive education by participating in all aspects of Rodale Institute’s diverse farm operation, learning from educators in the classroom and in the field alongside a team of experts.

We hope to see you on 10/29!

Posted on October 20, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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