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12th Annual Earth Conference - Food: Our Greatest Resource

Food is a blessing.
Eating is a sacred spiritual act.

Overtime food production has become an industry driven by economics instead of nutrition.  As a result we have become disengaged from the very food we put in our mouth.

In this conference we looked at the disconnect that has developed between humans and their food. We searched for ways to become active participants in our food choices and reconnect to the sacred act of nourishing our bodies.

In doing this we examined some aspects of the food industry: how food is grown, how we can access healthy, nutritious food, and how we can address the food waste dilemma.

We looked at the positive choices people in our local community are making. From local farmers to local shoppers we were inspired to look at our personal relationship with food, our greatest resource.

Keynote Speaker - Mary Jo Forbord

The Food in this Place

Reflecting on her over 40 years working within various aspects of the food and farming system, Mary Jo took us on a journey to reconnect to the very roots of our food.

She addressed how we can once again find nourishment in our food - nourishment not only of our bodies, but also of our families, our eco- systems, and our very souls.

Mary Jo bio: Mary Jo Forbord grew up in Swift County, MN and works as the Healthy Eating Coordinator at the U of M, Morris. She served as executive director of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota from 2003- 2009, and as chair of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition practice group of the American Dietetic Assoc., receiving the Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership Award in 2015.
Mary Joand her husband Luverne are 5th generation Minnesota farmers. They graze cattle and grow fruits and vegetables on their organic farm in the Upper Minnesota River Watershed. They are launching Jordan's Orchard Cooperative at Prairie Horizon Farm so that more people can participate in building healthy food and farming systems. Mary Jo says, "If we do our best to sustain the splendid diversity of life teeming in the tall-grass prairie, humankind can be sustained in this place we call home for generations to come."

Afternoon Panel - "Journey Through the Food Cycle"

In this panel we looked at our involvement in every step of the food cycle – from the growing of food, to shopping for food, to disposing of food waste. We asked the important questions:
How can we bring value back to our food choices and in return our mealtimes?
How can these choices help us reconnect to the heart of our relationship with food?

The afternoon schedule afforded time for interaction between conference attendees and panelists, through table discussions and a Q&A session.

Panel Speakers:
Dan Guenther, Organic Farmer, Common Harvest Farm, Osceola, WI
Natasha Frost, Member of Roots, Shoots, and Boots and Co-owner of Friesen's Bakery, Mankato, MN
Kate Seybold, Coordinator, Farm to School Program Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis, MN
Betty Winkworth & Jane Dow, Coordinators, MankatoZero Waste, Mankato, MN

Community Movie Night

Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away

Just Eat It looks at our systemic obsession with perfect produce and its devastating consequences around the globe. It brings farmers, retailers, inspiring organizations, and consumers to the table in a cinematic story that is equal parts education and delicious entertainment.