Arizona Food and Farm Forum cultivates prosperity in 2019

A 2-day Conference for Farmers in Modern Markets

Gilbert, Arizona (March 8, 2019) -- Cultivating prosperity for local farmers and food artisans is the goal of this year’s Arizona Food and Farm Forum, returning to the Town of Gilbert on April 30 - May 1 at the Farm at Agritopia. The event is set to draw farmers and ranchers, community and government leaders, restaurateurs, food access advocates, distributors, and investors from around the region to connect on strategies to increase opportunity for Arizona’s agricultural industry.
 
“In 2019 we will focus on increasing connection for long term resilience, and business strategies to achieve prosperity.” said Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Foundation Food Development Coordinator, “Local food isn’t a fad, and we are here to support our growers like they’re here to stay: because they are.”
 
Now in its sixth year, the event tackles challenges facing farmers and small scale food producers today by bringing innovative solutions for the future of agriculture. National and local leaders, like Steve Sossaman of Sossaman Farms and Gary Paul Nabhan of the University of Arizona, will arm attendees with tools and strategies to better market their products to an ever-evolving customer base, develop business partnerships that work for the buyers and sellers, access traditional and alternative funding sources, as well as a federal regulations overview for bringing product into wholesale markets and retail shelves.
 
“The agenda for last year’s Food and Farm Forum was expertly created. I found a seminar for every business question our farm was facing with expert guidance and easy application methods to put into practice,” says Gibson Rade, Farmer at Whipstone Farm, “Absolutely one of the best Arizona food focused conferences we have. Local First Arizona Foundation has reignited a fire in my professional life. 2019 is going to be another step in the right direction for Arizona, and the Food and Farm Forum is one of those central pieces.”
 
With the success of last year’s event, host Local First Arizona Foundation is returning to the Farm at Agritopia to continue reaching new audiences. “This event connected me to some of the most kind and generous people in our farming community, “ says Tim Colby, Head Farmer at The Farm at Agritopia, “as a beginner farmer, having connections with experienced farmers has helped me jump ahead on the learning curve and given me resources to tap into that I would otherwise be left searching for on my own.”
 
“I found the comfortable environment was perfect for collaboration and networking between events. It was easy, comfortable, informative, inviting and certainly had my interest as a farmer as top priority,” says Rade.
 
Gilbert’s revitalized Heritage District sets the perfect backdrop for the event, welcoming all in to see the Town’s commitment to urban agriculture, high-quality food, and local heritage. "Our partnership with Local First Arizona Foundation has been, and continues to be, outstanding," said Dan Henderson, Director of the Gilbert Office of Economic Development. "Hosting the Food and Farm Forum in Gilbert allows us to showcase the best of Gilbert as well as highlight the exceptional work of Arizona's farmers and restaurateurs."
 
The event is open to anyone interested in Arizona's local food economy, including food producers, civic leaders, buyers of local food, food manufacturers, financial institutions, farmers market managers, agribusiness developers, beginning farmers and ranchers, suppliers, chefs and restaurateurs, policy makers and elected officials, non-profit staff, and students. Special reduced ticket prices are also available to the young farmers of Arizona (under the age of 20).
 
By educating and connecting local food professionals across the state, Local First Arizona Foundation hopes to further empower Arizona's agriculture and local foods industry. “With agriculture being one of Arizona's largest industries, it is important that we do what we can to support our local growers and producers,” said Local First Arizona Foundation Executive Director Kimber Lanning. “By giving them the tools and relationships to succeed, we can have a self-reliant local food system that contributes significantly to the state's economy, benefiting everyone by creating local agriculture jobs and bringing local foods to our tables.”
 
Tickets for the two-day event are on sale now, with early bird pricing through March 19, 2019. Speakers and programming will be announced on a rolling basis. Registration and more information is available at http://localfirstazfoundation.org/azfoodforum.
 
The 2019 Arizona Food and Farm Forum is made possible with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, The Town of Gilbert, Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture, The Farm at Agritopia, Arizona Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Edible Phoenix.
 
Event details:
Arizona Food and Farm Forum
Date: April 30 & May 1
Location: The Farm at Agritopia: 3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296
Tickets: Early Bird (through March 19)
?      2-Days: $69
?      1-Day: $49
Full Price (beginning March 20)
?      2-Days: $99
?      1-Day: $59
Young Farmers (same pricing)
?      2-Days: $40
?      1-Day: $20
 
Purchase tickets here: http://bit.ly/2019AZFFF
 
About Local First Arizona Foundation
Local First Arizona Foundation (LFAF) works to strengthen local economies and build opportunity for all Arizonans to create an economy that is sustainable, resilient, and celebratory of diverse cultures. LFAF focuses on a wide range of strategic initiatives that target systems of inequity. These initiatives include powering Arizona’s entrepreneurs through the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program; celebrating Arizona’s homegrown foods through the Healthy Local Foods Initiatives, and strengthening Arizona’s small town economies through the Arizona Rural Development Council and other rural programming. LFAF is the sister organization to Local First Arizona, where both work hand-in-hand to strengthen Arizona’s economy. Find more information at localfirstazfoundation.org.