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*  Purdue Extension
*  Northwest Indiana Local Foods Expo

February 21, 2007

Local Foods Expos to take place at 2 northern Indiana locations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The first Local Foods Expos, which aim to strengthen local food networks in the state, will take place at two locations in northwest and north-central Indiana.

"Homegrown, Northwest Indiana" will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT on March 13 at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso. "Homegrown, Elkhart County," the expo for north-central Indiana, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT the following day, March 14, at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen.

Producers of locally grown foods can have difficulty selling their products because they don't know where to market them, said Brad Clinehens, Purdue University Extension educator in Lake County. However, chefs and retailers are often interested in buying locally produced foods.

"The idea is to connect producers and growers with restaurant chefs and buyers," Clinehens said. "The goal of the expo is to see what the possibilities are to begin a coordinated network for the region."

The keynote speaker will be Lisa Johnson, coordinator of Valley Food and Farm, a local foods network in New Hampshire and Vermont. Johnson will discuss the formation of that network, which links producers with retailers, institutions and consumers. Other sessions will include direct and specialty marketing, action planning, and business development.

"The expo will be part conference, part trade show and part planning session," said Kris Parker, Purdue Extension educator from Porter County. "Additional vendor opportunities are available at the northwest event for those who would like to showcase their products or services."

Registration is $15 and includes lunch. The northwest (Valparaiso) expo registration form is available online at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/Porter/Foods%20Expo/Expo%20Registration%20Form.pdf and must be completed by March 1. For vendor information, contact Parker at (219) 465-3555 Ext. 27, parkerkj@purdue.edu.

To register for the north-central (Goshen) expo, contact the Purdue Extension office in Elkhart County by March 7. For more information, call (888) EXT-INFO.

Writer: Becki Francis, (765) 496-1050, rfrancis@purdue.edu

Sources: Brad Clinehens, (219) 755-3240, bclinehens@purdue.edu

Kris Parker, (219) 465-3555 ext. 27, parkerkj@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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