April 19, 2012
Grassroots & Groundwork Conference Examines Ways to Tap Food Systems To Create Jobs and Living Wages
Conference also offers sessions on workforce development, asset building, public policy, and leadership
ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 19, 2012) They sell us their produce at farmer’s markets; they supply our local restaurants, and they may even donate their surplus to food pantries. Immigrant and refugees farmers are among the many aspiring entrepreneurs turning to food systems to earn a living wage. Learn about efforts of the National Immigrant Farming Initiative (NIFI) to bolster farm-to-market business models at Grassroots & Groundwork: Working Together to Reduce Poverty and Build Prosperity held June 6 – 8 at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in suburban Minneapolis. NIFI along with the Minnesota Food Association will present the breakout session “How Immigrant Farmers are Reducing Poverty and Hunger in America.”
“(Immigrants and refugees) have been very successful farmers in their home countries. Here, it’s very complicated. They face challenges such as learning a new language, culture, and climate while navigating a complex new web of rules and regulations,” said Rigoberto Delgado, executive director of NIFI, “they need advocates that can help them organize partnerships, share resources, and establish best practices.”
Additional sessions addressing food systems, hunger, and economic development include: “Tools to create healthy Food Financing Initiatives in Your Community,” by the Food Trust of Philadelphia; “Transforming Lives Through Foodservice Social Enterprise,” by Catalyst Kitchens of Seattle; and “A Recipe for Success: Oregon’s Plans to Prevent Hunger and Poverty,” by the First Lady of Oregon and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.
Grassroots & Groundwork is a national conference designed to showcase both tested and emerging models and tools being used to help low-income populations get out and stay out of poverty. The event features 30 breakout sessions presented by the on-the-ground organizations doing the work in the areas of wealth creation, public policy, food systems as economic development opportunities, and community leadership. The conference also offers inspiring keynote speakers, site visits, an optional half-day skill-building workshop, and lots of networking opportunities.
“We believe all communities can prosper,” said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of Northwest Area Foundation, conference sponsor. “We’re learning that every community – including those that are struggling and have deep needs – bring important ideas and energy to efforts that help people get out and stay out of poverty. This conference invites attendees to examine and share what’s working to build sustainable prosperity in all types of communities.”
Held every other year, this fifth national conference will be on Native American lands for the first time. Northwest Area Foundation sponsors the conference. Listen to what past attendees have said about the conference.
To register for Grassroots & Groundwork, visit www.grassrootsandgroundwork.org.
The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by people, organizations and communities to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. The Foundation’s service region includes urban, rural and American Indian reservation communities in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The Great Northern Railway, founded by James J. Hill, served these states. Hill’s son, Louis W. Hill, established the Foundation in 1934. For more information, please visit www.nwaf.org.
Susan Buckles, APR
Public Relations Specialist
Northwest Area Foundation
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