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Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities

Regional Food Systems: Economic Opportunity through Entrepreneurship is a rollout event for a Federal Reserve System publication, Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities to be held on September 18, 2017, at Burr Oak State Park, 10660 Burr Oak Lodge Rd, Glouster, OH 45732. Forum participants will discuss how communities use regional food strategies to advance their economic and other community goals, including models for collaboration between policymakers, practitioners, and the financial community. Participants will also explore unanswered research, policy, and resource gaps that, if addressed, might contribute to the advancement and success of regional food systems strategies.

The convening will be hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Richmond in partnership with ACEnet and the Central Appalachian Network (CAN). This forum will coincide with the publication of Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, a book that focuses on regional food systems as a means for enhancing economic opportunity.


9:00 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:30 am


Bonnie Blankenship, Regional Community Dev Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Daniel Davis, Manager of Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
10:00 am

Economic Impacts of Regional Food Systems: What Are They and What Drives Them?

Rural communities are pursuing numerous ways to create economic opportunities for their residents. This session will explore the potential that regional food systems represent as one of those strategies, what we know about the key elements to successfully deploying regional food systems as an economic driver, and the experiences of several organizations involved in developing and implementing regional food strategies in rural areas.
Panelists: Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet)
Adam Watson, Compliance and Grower Manager, Appalachian Sustainable Dev: Appalachian Harvest
Gail Patton, Executive Director, Unlimited Future, Inc.
11:30 am

Regional Food Systems

Providing an overview of regional food systems, this session examines the impact of regional food systems on local economies and residents alike, discusses food systems’ evolution and what’s driving their growth, and highlights the economic impact of investing in food systems. The session focuses on how recent findings apply to policy and shares promising practices based on experiences across the country
Speaker: Debra Tropp, Deputy Director, USDA
12:00 am


1:00 pm

Regional Food Jobs and Businesses: Working to Ensure Equitable Access for All

Investments in supporting regional food systems create opportunities for job creation and small business development. This session will explore the current understanding of how regional food system investments impact businesses and job quantity and quality throughout the supply chain, and work that is underway to ensure that traditionally underserved or marginalized populations have access to those new prospects.
Panelists: Larry Fisher, Executive Director, ACEnet
Tom Redfern, Director, Rural Action
Sean Terrell, Director, Hocking College
Becky Clark, Owner, Pork & Pickles
2:30 pm

Investing in Regional Food Systems: Deploying Capital to Advance Opportunity

Regional food systems present numerous avenues for engagement by financial, philanthropic, and government stakeholders. This session will explore a number of those investment opportunities, ways that different stakeholders are partnering to deploy resources, and capital gaps that are holding the industry back from realizing its full potential.
Panelists: John Molinaro, President and CEO, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth
Scott Nisley, President, Hocking Valley Bank
Omar Elhagmusa, Lending Officer, Finance Fund
4:00 pm


Jen Giovannitti, Community Development Regional Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

When & Where

Monday, September 18, 2017
9:00 am – 4:00 pm EST

Burr Oak Lodge & Conference Center
10660 Burr Oak Lodge Rd
Glouster, OH 45732


Questions? Email Bonnie Blankenship