S.D. Local Foods Coalition ~ Jan. 2024 Update

On Jan. 16, 2024, Rick Grosek attended the South Dakota Local Foods Coalition meeting. Grosek has been assigned to represent the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association at the meetings. Grosek has been with the Specialty Producers Association since Sept. 2023 in the role as the Urban Agriculture Liaison.  It was a good meeting with about 20 attendees representing various food-related organizations in South Dakota.  

As is common these days, this meeting was a virtual, online meeting on the Zoom platform.  The meeting started with a review of the coalition’s mission: “Working to promote resilient, equitable local food systems, and food sovereignty for all”, followed by a review of the coalition’s vision: “We envision sustainable food economies in South Dakota that are diverse, thriving, and equitable. We work to strengthen local food systems by connecting stakeholders and amplifying their voices so that South Dakota producers, eaters, and environments thrive.”  With these definitions in mind, we were all ready to focus on the meeting’s business.

Since the coalition recently identified new leadership, the new officers were introduced.  The coalition is Co-Chaired by Jason Schock, Rachel Lindvall, and Jared Lukens-Black.  Communications is handled by Kristine Reiner, and Membership & Outreach is handled by Michelle Grosek.  We all welcomed the new leadership positions!

The coalition’s sub-committees were identified and discussed:

  • Local Foods Conference Planning Sub-Committee
    This sub-committee reported 18 attendees at their first meeting on Jan. 8th  They are off to a great start in planning the 2024 SD Local Foods Conference.  Their next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12, from 2-3 p.m. (mountain time).
  • Farm to School Sub-Committee
    This sub-committee shared the SDSU Extension’s Farm to School website and the SD Farm to School Network website. The group briefly explored these sites and shared some great progress (e.g. mission, vision, structure, work outline, etc.).
  • Branding Sub-Committee (inactive)
  • Nutrition & Health (inactive)

A new sub-committee dealing with grant opportunities and grant services was suggested and briefly discussed.

All sub-committees are interested in recruiting new members.  Please consider how you could contribute (e.g. become a member of the coalition, become a member of a sub-committee, etc.).

Blake Pulse, SDSU Graduate Research Assistant, provided an update about his “Building Resilience in the South Dakota Local Food System” project.  Pulse has been conducting listening sessions and will soon be releasing results based on his research.  Great work Blake!

The meeting attendees were then split into breakout groups to discuss the question “What are the issues your organization is working on this year?”  The resulting information was very interesting.

Regular meetings of the SD Local Foods Coalition are scheduled to occur on the third Tuesday of every other month, at 1 p.m. (mountain time).  The next meeting is Tues., March 19, 2024.  Learn more.