2019 S.D. Local Foods Conference Provides Education and Networking

Keynote speaker Kelsey Ducheneaux, Natural Resources Director for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, presented Friday, Nov. 1.

The S.D. Local Foods Conference (SDLFC), held Nov. 1-2 at the RedRossa Conference Center in Pierre, SD, provided educational sessions and experiences that benefited producers, chefs, consumers, resource providers and other supporters of local foods. Those involved in the industry came together for the annual conference to learn, network, and celebrate South Dakota local foods.

Keynote speaker Kelsey Ducheneaux, fourth-generation beef rancher, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Natural Resources Director for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, presented Friday, Nov. 1. She discussed ‘Embracing our Tribal Sovereignty to Promote Local Food Systems.’ She shared her perspective on ways we can embrace our diversity across the state to support more regenerative production practices, producer friendly agricultural environments, and community-driven food systems.

“The messages shared by the keynote speakers were rated as being of great value and provided much food for thought,” said Pat Garrity, S.D. Specialty Producer Members Coordinator.

Peggy Martin of Cedar Creek Gardens & Lindy Geraets of B & G Produce discuss ‘Farm Innovations for Success.’

Three breakout session tracks were offered during the conference featuring ‘Tools for Success,’ ‘Production to Market,’ and ‘Collaborative Ideas.’  Friday featured:

  • Getting Your Product on the Shelves- Brian Stambaugh (Belle Valley Ancient Grains)
  • Food is Medicine- Chef Scott Brinker (Regional Health)
  • Farm Innovations for Success- Jason Schoch (SDSU Extension), Cedar Creek Gardens, Backyard Produce, B&G Produce
  • Gathering Your Finance Team- Dusty Moorhead (Lender), Jeanne Hamilton (NRCS), Rich Knuppe (Farm Credit), Abby Husted (FSA)
  • Diversifying with Agritourism- Jacey Ellsworth (S.D. Dept. of Tourism) & Peggy Schlechter (SDSU Extension)
  • All About Organic- J. Granelli (Pastured Poultry & Pork), Michelle Grosek (Bear Butte Gardens), Colette Kessler (NRCS)
  • Bee-Keeping and other Ag. Programs- Kelsey Murray (Western Dakota Tech)
  • Integrated Pest Management- Amanda Bachmann & Phil Rozeboom (SDSU Extension)
  • No-Till Food Production & Soil Health- Donna Adrian (Master Gardener)
  • Beef to School- Ken Chafaruos (Wall Meat Processing) & Josh Geigle (Wall area rancher) 
  • Audubon Conservation Ranching Program- Josh Lefers (Audubon Dakota)
  • Farm to School/Youth Initiatives; Tribal & Non-Tribal Initiatives; Peer Sharing with Resource Providers- Andrea Krueger (S.D. Dept. of Ed School Lunch), Jennifer Folliard (SDSU Extension), Matt Wilson (REDCO), Dianne Amiotte-Seidel (Thunder Valley CDC)        

Ken Chafaruos (Wall Meat Processing) & Josh Geigle (Wall area rancher) showcasing ‘Beef to School.’

Chef Scott Brinker from Rapid City Regional Health did a super job of sharing why ‘Food Is Medicine.’ “He stressed the point of eating whole, nutritious foods because their unique substances work synergistically to create an effect that cannot be replicated by taking a supplement. He emphasized why it is so important to know the story of your food—to know how that food was grown, if it contain chemicals that are not good for your body, and how far it traveled, as fresher food is more nutrient dense,” said Peggy Martin, Cedar Creek Gardens.

Delicious local foods for lunch with beef donated by Evergreen Ranching and Livestock. The Osso Buco beef was prepared from Criollo heritage cattle, originally brought over by the Spaniards in the 1400’s! During lunch Executive Chef Scott Brinker described the characteristics of grass-finished beef prepared for the meal.

“Josh Lefers of Audubon Dakota provided an alarming statistic: 1 in 3 birds in our area are declining,” said Garrity. Audubon Dakota is collaborating with producers with the Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative. The program provides resources and education to provide: habitat management, forage & feeding, animal health & welfare, and environmental sustainability.

“The Western Dakota Tech session added good insight on training opportunities for those interested in getting involved.  The funding sessions offered valuable information for producers needing startup or operating capital. All in all there was something for everyone,” said Cindy Tolle, Evergreen Ranching and Livestock.

Locally sourced foods were incorporated into the event lunches.

Locally sourced foods were incorporated into the event lunches. Cedar Creek Garden provided fresh vegetables, Carl Beckwith provided vegetables and fruit, and B & G Produce provided vegetables, hummus and granola. Evergreen Ranch provided grass-fed & grass-finished beef & organic pasture raised pork came from Hyatt Family Farm. South Dakota grown grains and fresh eggs from Nancy’s Nest were also utilized in the meals. Chef Brinker described proper cooking technique for preparing grass-fed grass-finished beef during Friday’s lunch.

Friday evening included a ‘Nose to Tail’ Chef Experience at Drifters Bar & Grill guided by two regional chefs. Drifters Head Chef, Uriah Steber, featured a locally raised hog and discussed utilizing all parts of the animal, as well as seasonal vegetables from local growers. ‘Nose to Tail’ means using all parts, including secondary cuts, which may not be that popular, but can be as delicious as their well-known primary cut counterparts. Tougher cuts require alternative preparation, such as braising or stewing. It also includes using parts like hearts, necks, kidneys and other uncommon parts.

Matte Wilson from REDCO’s Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative, showcased Indigenous and Lakota cooking techniques. Dessert was prepared by local bakers Beth and Josh Penrod of Flavorgasm. Guests enjoyed paired drinks from a variety of South Dakota craft wine and beer while enjoying the meal.

Carol Ford, Minnesota vegetable producer specializing in Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) production presented her keynote talk Saturday, Nov. 2.

Carol Ford, Minnesota vegetable producer specializing in Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) production, educator with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships at Minnesota Extension, and author of ‘Northland Winter Greenhouse,’ presented her keynote talk Saturday, Nov. 2. She presented ‘Building Resilient Rural Communities in Northern Climates’ integrating discussion on how DWG production can provide options for young people interested in farming, a method of farming on less land, a welcome income stream in the off-season, a source of fresh foods in food deserts, and a way to circulate dollars locally, bolstering the local economy.

“As a producer, I want to provide healthy, nutrient dense food to those that need it: the sick, the elderly, the unfortunate. It is the least I can do,” said Ford.

Ford gave an overview on the design of the structure, discussed how it works, shared production methods of crops, and highlighted marketing opportunities. “Carol Ford presented a very informational talk on Deep Winter Greenhouses. She gave a well balanced and dynamic presentation covering the benefits and the challenges of this type of gardening.” said Martin. 

Kristianna Gehannt-Siddens of Dakota Fresh Food Hub presenting ‘New Directions for SD Food Hubs.’

An additional three presentation tracks were offered on Saturday featuring:

  • Homesteading on the Rosebud- Deanna Eagle Feather & Carlos Jarrett
  • YOUR Web Presence- Peggy Martin (Green Thumb Web Designs & Cedar Creek Gardens)    
  • Opportunities for New Farmers- Brett Owens & students (SDSU Local Foods Center)
  • Deep Winter Greenhouses- Income in Winter- Carol Ford (Minnesota Extension)
  • Thermo Greenhouse Community Project- Andrea Powers & Katie Brunson
  • Production with a Restaurant Slant- Jerry & Renee Cornett (Lakehouse Farm, Waverly, NE)
  • Value-Added Producer/SARE Grants- Dana Kleinsauser (USDA Rural Development), Cheri Rath (Value Added Ag. Development Center) & Rhoda Burrows (SDSU Extension)
  • New Directions for SD Food Hubs- Kristianna Gehannt-Siddens (Dakota Fresh Food Hub) 
  • Resources for Farmers Markets- Rhoda Burrows (SDSU Extension) & Market Managers    
  • Integrating Production into Institutions- Cindy Tolle (Evergreen Ranching and Livestock)     

Jerry Cornett of Lakehouse Farm (Waverly, NE) presenting ‘Production with a Restaurant Slant.’

“Attendees enjoyed learning about raising meats & vegetables organically, Deep Winter Greenhouses, improving efficiencies in small scale production, getting local products into local institutions, and weedless gardening techniques.  Other well-rated sessions were about food hubs and true farm-to-table operations,” said Garrity.

The 2019 SDLFC sponsors include the Intertribal Agriculture Council, The Co-Op Sioux Falls, SARE, Audubon Conservation Ranching Program, Evergreen Ranching and Livestock LLC, and East Pierre Landscape & Garden Center. The SDLFC is hosted annually by a collaboration of partners including Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA), SDSU Extension, USDA Rural Development, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, and Rosebud Economic Development Cooperation (REDCO).

Soil Health Coalition & SARE Vendor Booths at the 2019 Local Foods Conference.

“We appreciate the strong support & participation of conference sponsors and vendors again this year.  Each year the planning committee works to host the conference in different parts of the state to make the event & learning opportunities available to a wide variety of audiences. Be sure to watch for information about the 2020 conference, which tentative plans indicate it may be held in the Rapid City area,” said Kim Brannen, SDSPA Treasurer.

Anyone with an interest in attending the 2020 Conference is encouraged to follow the South Dakota Local Foods Facebook Page to find details on the event as they are made available.