The S.D. Local Foods Conference (SDLFC), held Nov. 1-3, 2018 in Brookings, SD, provided educational sessions and experiences that benefited producers, chefs, consumers, resource providers and other local food enthusiasts. Those involved in the industry came together for the annual conference to learn, network, and celebrate South Dakota local foods.

Keynote speaker Mark Winne, local foods author and expert in policy and food access solutions, discussed forming food policy councils as a great place to start to foster change at the local and state level. He discussed building a roadmap with a compelling vision, multi-stakeholder collaborations, and good policies.

Four breakout session tracks were offered during the conference. Friday featured:

·      Farm to School with Holly Tilton Byrne, former Dakota Rural Action & Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension

·      Ancient Grains with Brian Stambaugh, Belle Valley Ancient Grains, Newell, SD

·      Food System Development with Nick Hernandez & Ernest Weston, Thunder Valley CDC, Porcupine, SD

·      An Agricultural Entrepreneurs Panel with Stephanie Peterson, Fruit of the Coop; Anna Maifeld, Glory Garden; Amy Crawford, Bumpy Road Ranch; & John Zuhike, Little Shire Farm

·      Farm to School with Mark Winne

·      Rainwater Harvesting for Greenhouses with John McMaine, SDSU

·      Myth Busting Ag on Tribal Lands with Zach Ducheneaux, Indian Agriculture Council, Cheyenne River Tribe

·      Mentoring a Transition with Schadé Vineyard & Winery featuring Jim & Nancy Schade & Dillon Ringling, Volga, SD


Locally sourced foods were incorporated into the event lunches, which included items like fresh buns, shredded pork, potato salad, salad toppings, butternut squash soup and fresh tarragon. Ingredient vendors included the Dakota Fresh Food Hub, Hillside Prairie Gardens, Dimock Dairy Products, Cottleston Bread, Fruit of the Coop, Hyatt Family Farms and Kool Beans Coffee.

The South Dakota Local Foods Coalition shared the progress of the network’s efforts. Five statewide committees have formed to work on state branding, youth outreach, aggregation, processing and infrastructure, and informing the public and decision makers. Attendees contributed ideas and needs, and all were invited to participate in future statewide DDN meetings and a spring face-to-face meeting to advance these topic areas.


Delicious samples were served at the Local Foods Showcase Social Event featuring area chef & producer food pairings & drinks. Participants included: Pouran Borchardt of Cafe Coteau at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota; Caryl Bunkowske of Celebration Catering; Donna Behrend of Choco Latte; Jenilee Schleusner of Day of the Dead Foods; Taylor Roberts of Drifters Bar & Grille; Eponymous Brewing; Kurt Osborne of Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie; David O’Neil of Parker’s Bistro; Michael Johnson of Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge; Schadé Vineyard & Winery; Andrew Litz of Westbound Coffee; and Wooden Legs Brewing.

An Agricultural Tourism Panel was featured Saturday morning. Speakers included Lynn Verschoor, SD Art Museum; Jim Schade, Schadé Vineyard & Winery; Kirk Hulstein, S.D. Dept. of Tourism; Jennifer Hoesing, Stockyard Ag Experience; and Peggy Schlecter, SDSU Extension.

An addition four presentation tracks were offered on Saturday featuring:

·      The Significance of Vegetables & Fruits to Human Health, Nancy Wirsing, Gregory, SD

·      Agritourism at Cherry Rock Farm with Laura & Marco Patzer & Kirk Hulstein, S.D. Dept. of Tourism

·      A Chef’s Panel with Chef Scott Brinker, Rapid City Regional Health; Chef Michael Johnson, The Pheasant Restaurant, Brookings, SD; and Chef Nicolas Skajewski, Avera McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD

·      The Community Impact of Shared Kitchens with Jennifer Quail, Brookings Economic Development Corp. and Joan Sacrison, Deuel Area Development, Inc.

·      Goats in South Dakota with Tom Barnes of Pleasant Valley Farm, Custer, SD

·      Hydroponic Farming & Controlled Environment Agriculture with Erica Proefrock & Alexander Hamaker of Column Greens, Spearfish, SD

·      The Feasibility of Hops Production in S.D. with Ryan Heine & Michelle Donner, 6th Meridian Hops, Yankton, SD

·      A Meat Processing Panel with Bryan Sanderson, SDDA Business Dev.; Adam Rhody, SDSU Meat Lab; Trenton Kor, Bruce Market; and Jessica Kruse, K Creek Ranch

·      Community Outreach & Partnerships with Michael Prate, REDCO, Mission, SD

·      Honey Lodge Honey & Youth Advocacy with Marla Bull Bear, Lakota Youth Development, Herrick, SD

·      Local Foods in Indian Country Round Table with Nick Hernandez, Thunder Valley CDC, Porcupine, SD

·      Local Foods Value Chain: Marketing & Distribution with Erin Hamann, Dakota Fresh Food Hub

·      Pesticide Drift Panel, with Amanda Bachmann, SDSU Extension; Dr. John Ball, SDSU; Attorney Lee Schoenbeck; & Angela Jackson Pulse, Prairie Sun Organics

·      Why I Want Local Foods with Kristen Gjesdal, The Carrot Seed, Brookings, SD

·      Risk Management for Organic & Non-GMO Growers with Angela Jackson Pulse, Prairie Sun Organics

Participants enjoyed visiting with conference vendors and learning from and networking with others in the industry.


The 2018 SDLFC Sponsors include the Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Carrot Seed Kitchen, Co., Nature’s Best, LLC, USDA-SARE, and Pomegranate Market. The SDLFC is hosted annually by a collaboration of partners including Dakota Rural Action, the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, and USDA Rural Development.

Anyone with an interest in attending the 2019 Conference is encouraged to follow the South Dakota Local Foods Facebook page to find details on the event as they are made available.