S.D. Local Foods Network Prioritizes Focus Areas
The South Dakota Local Foods Network met on June 15, 2021. The online meeting was attended by fifteen people representing over ten different agencies from across the state.
All of these agencies, S.D. Dept. of Ag. and Natural Resources, Sicangu Community Development and Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative, Dakota Rural Action, Wokinii Initiative, Wizipan Leadership Program, S.D. Animal Industry Board, SDSU Extension, S.D. Dept. of Tourism, Value Added Agriculture Center, and the S.D. Specialty Producers Association, as well as the institutions and individual producers in attendance, all make a significant contribution to South Dakota local foods. All in attendance agreed that communicating with each other and working together on goals and specific projects will have a positive impact on the local food system.
Therefore, it was decided to move forward and begin setting some parameters for the formation of the group, including the name, mission and vision statement. Some specific goals for this initial stage of the organization were voted on as well. Many ideas were presented by the group and then specific goals that were rated by members.
Among the highest rated ideas for areas of focus for the network were:
- Food security and sovereignty
- Connecting producers to state and federal programming such as: Senior Nutrition, SNAP, Food Rx
- Support Farm to School initiatives
- SoDak Grown – fund, expand and promote the use of the statewide local foods branding
Members of the group announced plans to pursue information on improving infrastructure for distribution of local foods to retail grocery stores, and discussed the possibility of having an in-person meeting in the summer.
If these topics are of interest to you, we encourage you to attend the next SD Local Foods Network Meeting, July 20th and help grow the local food system in our state! Contact SDSPA to participate.