2014 Local Food Summit kicks off at 10 a.m. today

Billed as "Denver's largest gathering of local food producers, manufacturers, growers, retailers and restaurateurs," the 2014 Local Food Summit, hosted by the Mile High Business Alliance, in partnership with the City of Denver, kicks off this morning at 10 a.m. at the McNichols Civic Center Building with a full day of food-intensive panel discussions and workshops.

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The conference-style event, now in its second year, also includes lunch, entry into the Local Food Producers Hall -- aisles of local food samples from brewers, bakers, coffee roasters and other local food producers -- as well as an evening reception featuring local beer, wine and spirits.

Judy Wicks, author, activist, entrepreneur and founder of Philadelphia's landmark White Dog Café, a restaurant that was singled out for its environmental stewardship and leadership in the local food movement, will give the keynote address at 10 a.m. Later in the day, Mile High Business Alliance will announce the launch of the Colorado Food Guild, "a collaborative project that brings together all elements of the food system to support a healthy food economy."

Breakout sessions include Humane Ranching Practices and Their Impact on a Healthy Food System, a panel discussion led by rancher Mike Callicrate (Ranch Foods Direct), Carrie Balkcom (American Grassfed Association), Joe Maxell (Humane Society of the United States) and Paul Reilly, chef-owner of Beast + Bottle. Other panel discussions will focus on urban farming; business growth and funding opportunities for food-based businesses; government policy issues surrounding a sustainable food system; developing successful food product companies; and GMO food and farming, a panel discussion that features Bob Blair, chef-owner of Fuel Cafe and an outspoken opponent of GMO food and farming.

The summit is open to the public, and attendee registration, which is $45 (or $35 for Mile High Business Alliance members), includes access to all of the panel discussions and workshops, lunch and a closing reception. To register, go to milehighbiz.org/civicrm/event/register?id=174&reset=1. Registration is also available at the door for an additional $10 fee.

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