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It looks like I’ll need to participate by telephone today, and I have been trying to organize my thoughts a bit. Following are some initial ideas about the conference. I will also post this at www.localfoodsystems.org
Conference theme needs to focus strongly on collaboration and networking
Possible conference goals could include some of these:
Bring together/introduce people from various sectors: farmers/food producers; culinary folks; tourism folks; local/state officials; educators; press. Important to have representation from all relevant sectors and plan conference to include multiple ways for them to meet one another and begin to develop working relationships.
ü Populate on-line databases (Pure Michigan, MarketMaker, Culinary Tourism, maybe others) and teach participants how to keep them updated.
ü Map culinary tourism in Michigan
ü Develop rural/urban regional culinary tourism linkages
ü Reflect on 2010 and plan for 2011
ü Consider how we can collectively assess our impact
ü Consider ways to engage youth in meaningful ways
ü Identify MI culinary tourism research, educational, training needs
ü Engage conventional agriculture
ü Be sure that the conference itself is a model for using social media
Some possible conference components that could support some of these goals might include:
ü “Speed dating” session to get people introduced. This has been used in Oregon with great success to help farmers and chefs meet one another
ü Use of video to bring some of Michigan’s key attractions to the conference
ü Report from MSU Extension study tour in France
ü Media use how-to sessions
ü Session that explored Michigan’s ethnic enclaves with regard to current and potential culinary tourism
ü Development of a MI Culinary Tourism glossary to define terms and explain acronyms. This could be a collective process before and during the conference via a wiki.
ü Make opportunities during conference for people to find others from their region. Name tags could facilitate this.
ü It might be possible to structure a “what do I bring to the table” session to help all participants better understand the assets we have.
ü Since we will be at Kellogg Center, there may be an opportunity to involve Allen Sherwin. Here’s a bit of info about him: CHEF ALLAN L. SHERWIN (BA '64), M.S., CEC, CCE, FMP, a graduate of MSU's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management and the Honors College, returned to campus as the Dr. Lewis J. and Mrs. Ruth E. Minor Chef-Professor of Culinary Management. An active member of the American Culinary Federation, Chef Sherwin is responsible for the kitchens of the Food Production and Management Education Facility. He has written the curricula for HB 345 - Quantity Food Production Systems and HB 485 - Hospitality Food Service Operations to reflect contemporary practice used in industry. He has owned award-winning restaurants, and combines years of industry experience with academic expertise and service.