The Article below was published in the December 2011/January 2012 edition of the Central Wisconsin Sustainability Newsletter. The newsletter is published by the Wisconsin Center for Land Use Education.
“Local Foods Supported at Statewide Conference”
By Susan Schuller
For the 2011 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Fall Conference at the Wisconsin Lions Camp (WLC) in Rosholt, Wisconsin, the conference planners wanted to have as much locally produced food available as possible. Finding local food is all about building relationships and forming partnerships.
In order to provide local food, one must connect with their local farmers. As the event required organizing meals for 150 participants over the three days, conference planners created a relationship with the kitchen staff at WLC to provide local and/or organic foods. They started by creating a list of local farmers and the foods they could provide in November. This list was given to the kitchen staff at the WLC providing them the tool they needed to make contact with the local farmers. Then it was in the hands of the kitchen staff. The WLC staff did a great job of reaching out to their local farmers and building new relationships.
As a result, every meal had something on the menu that was supplied by a local farm or business. Fresh greens were on the salad bar each day. Root vegetables were used in soups and roasted for side dishes. Local eggs and bacon accompanied tasty morning meals.
The effort to find local and/or organic food paid off. It was apparent to the participants as they commented in the conference evaluation:
“The Lions Camp did a fantastic job with the food. The facility is always very nice.”
“Wonderful local, sustainable food!! Way to walk the talk!! Please continue purchasing local, sustainably grown food for future WAEE conferences.”
This is one of the first times WLC kitchen staff was asked to provide local and organic foods for an event. They did an outstanding job of working with the conference planning team. Hats off to the Wisconsin Lions Camp and the 2011 WAEE Fall Conference Planning Team on a job well done.