Dear friends ,
I’d like to personally invite you to join us January 13th to 15th 2014 for a gathering that just may change the way Arizona feeds itself and does business locally. The upcoming Arizona Food and Finance Forum will feature naturally-acclaimed speakers to help Arizonans foster new farms and food micro enterprises as means to jump start the recovery of our local economies.
We are hopeful that use this historic moment we can collectively serve as matchmakers between social entrepreneurs and investors—private and public—to begin to bring Arizona up from its fifth worst ranking among states in poverty and third worst ranking in childhood food insecurity. To do so, we feel we need to recruit and finance through a variety of sources tangible initiatives toward systemic food system change that not only nourish those among us who nutritionally at risk, but to alleviate poverty by creating green jobs with live-able wages in the farming, ranching, food processing, distribution and serving sectors of our economy. To achieve these lofty goals, we are asking for some of your time, skills, contacts, wisdom and perhaps financial resources to develop a tangible road map for food systems change.
Our Forum will begin in one venue in downtown Tucson on the afternoon and evening of January 13th, then move out to a “retreat setting” at the Biosphere Two Conference center near Oracle for the following day and a half, ending by mid-afternoon on the 15th.
The night of the 13th will take place at the Sea of Glass concert hall next to the Food of Ascension Cafe on 7th Street and 4th Avenue in downtown Tucson. Following a 4 pm film showing of Jesus Garcia’s A Taste of History tastings of local foods and beverages, we will feature public lectures by two nationally-recognized speakers from Slow Food USA (Michael Dimock, former SFUSA Board chair and founder of Roots of Change in California) and from Slow Money (founder Woody Tasch, also a founder of the Investors’ Circle). For the 4 pm to 8 pm film showing, light food, tabling by food non-profits and the lectures by these two food system visionaries from, we request a five dollar payable at the door.
The rest of the forum will be for pre-registered participants only at Biosphere Two Conference Center in Oracle, Arizona, 50 minutes north of Tucson abnd 90 minutes such of Metro Phoenix. The retreat-oriented forum will take place all day Tuesday the 14th and Wednesday the 15th until 2 pm. It will begin with a brief “food system diagnostics” slide show and introduction by Gary Nabhan with Paula Schaper, followed by keynote lectures by Elizabeth U, food financing strategist author of Raising Dough, and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona, a board member of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. It will then move into training workshops by Lisa Pino of United Food Bank, former deputy undersecretary ofthe USDA, and Alex Young, founder of Zingerman’s Roadhouse and Cornman Farm, which are part of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses that employ 670 workers and gross $50 million/yr in the Ann Arbor Michigan area. Additional speakers, workshop trainers are social entrepreneur showcases are being scheduled. Beginning farmers and food micro-enterprise planners are invited to submit 8 minute “pitches” for financial help for the Social Entrepreneurs Showcase late Tuesday afternoon.
The forum is hosted by the Kellogg Program for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona, in collaboration with Local First Arizona, Good Food Finder, Slow Money Arizona, Edible Baja Arizona magazine, Edible Phoenix Magazine, Sustainable Tucson, Avalon Gardens , Slow Food Tucson, Slow Food Phoenix, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Pima County Food Systems Alliance and Native Seeds/SEARCH.