The Acadiana Food Alliance, in partnership with EatLafayette, is launching the inaugural South Louisiana Food Summit being held June 17 – 18. The two-day summit aims to foster and facilitate an ongoing conversation that brings together growers, distributors, restaurants, and the general public to discuss the challenges and opportunities each face within our local food economy.
The first day of the summit will be spent in the field where attendees will experience firsthand each part of the food and supply chain from various vendors in the region as well as get a chance to network with other attendees. The second day will be held at the Cajundome Convention Center and will feature presentations and panel discussions in between morning and afternoon keynote speakers that will include audience participation throughout the day. The event will conclude Tuesday evening at the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off and Taste of EatLafayette Kick-Off event at the Cajundome Convention Center.
Tickets to the South Louisiana Food Summit are available for one- and two-day passes. Both ticket options include lunch as well as coffee and snacks. The two-day ticket option includes entry into the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off and Taste of EatLafayette Kick-Off event at the Convention Center being held Tuesday, June 18 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tickets are only available in advance by visiting SOLAFoodSummit.Eventbrite.com.
See below for the South Louisiana Food Summit’s full schedule of events.
Monday, June 17
Depart for Lafayette
Attendees will meet and park at a central location in Lafayette where the tour bus will depart for the day.
Tour: Baker Rice
Baker Farms, also known as Acadian Gourmet Foods, Inc., is located in Gueydan, Louisiana. Roy Baker, Sr., a fourth-generation farmer in southwest Louisiana, began farming rice in 1975. His decades of farming experience have taught him the hard work it takes to grow a quality product. This quality work ethic is what allowed he and his wife Beverly to purchase Acadian Gourmet Foods, Inc. in 2012. Since then, their Gourmet Popcorn Rice has been grown on Baker Farms property near where Roy’s family originally settled in the 1800’s.
Depart for Brookshire Cattle
Tour: Brookshire Cattle
The craft of beef artisanship starts on Brookshire Farm with healthy pastures of native and selected cultivated forages. The mother cows are selected by the farmers and their calves are allowed to mature on their own natural timetable using no growth stimulants, antibiotics or other synthetic additives. The pastures are carefully managed to graze grasses at optimal stages of growth necessary to promote pasture health and meet the animals’ nutritional requirements. When ready, the meat is dry aged in a temperature-controlled cooler for 14 to 21 days to maximize tenderness and intensify natural beef flavor.
Depart for Crawfish Haven
Tour: Crawfish Haven
Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose’s is the only bed and breakfast near Lafayette and possibly all of Louisiana that offers crawfish excursions. Experience firsthand how these amazing crustaceans come to appear on our tables. A guide will assist you in a unique boat ride through crawfish ponds allowing you to catch your own crawfish the way it’s done commercially. Later, you can sample the crawfish during lunch while learning more about how this crustacean is produced, harvested, and distributed.
Lunch at Crawfish Haven
Depart for Blazing Star
Tour: Blazing Star
The story of Blazing Star Farm began at a farm conference in Arkansas where owners Jacob & Alisha Delahoussaye met for the first time before either of them had ever worked on a farm. With the goal of one day owning and operating their own farm, they worked at farms throughout the U.S. gaining experience for several years before returning to Lafayette to establish their own farm on a lease of land near Scott in 2016. Blazing Star Farm sells flowers and vegetables at local and regional farmer’s markets as well as to local restaurants and assembles designs for small events in the area.
Return to Lafayette
Attendees will return to their cars after the tour.
EatLafayette Dining by District (Optional)
Following the tour attendees have their choice of local dining options by district in partnership with EatLafayette. Dinner is NOT included in the tour and will need to be paid for on their own. EatLafayette will provide a list of local restaurants by district as well as any specials offered to attendees of the Summit.
Tuesday, June 18
Welcoming & Opening Comments
Opening Keynote: Grant Estrade, Laughing Buddha Nursery & Local Cooling Farms
As a philosophy student at the University of New Orleans, Grant was intrigued by applied philosophical models and “wisdom literature,” including Zig Ziglar. In 2003 when Grant started his first business, Laughing Buddha Nursery, Ziglar’s principles helped him set and achieve long-term goals, build winning relationships with customers, vendors and partners and persevere through the tough times. Now he takes pride in passing on these principles that have helped him succeed to others as a Ziglar Legacy Instructor. He continues to operate Laughing Buddha Nursery, as well as a soil and livestock farm, Local Cooling Farms, with his wife, Kate. He is an Eagle Scout and has been recognized by Gambit’s 40 Under 40 (2004) and City Business.
Bathroom & Coffee Break
Panel: Culinary Storytelling with Denny Culbert (photographer), Megan Wyatt (journalist), and George Graham (food writer)
In the past storytelling was communicated largely through text with imagery included to compliment the story. Fast forward to present day and the concept of storytelling has evolved rapidly in the past decade with the availability of social media outlets and blogging platforms allowing everyone to be a teller of stories. With the rise of image and video sharing platforms aimed at capturing a story in a single image or video coupled with an audience who is inundated with hundreds of visuals daily and a decreased attention span, how do you create and share your story? In this panel we will explore how writers, photographers, and bloggers select the stories they share and discuss which mediums they use to best promote those stories to ensure they’re getting seen by the right people.
Bathroom & Coffee Break
Panel: Reduce Waste, Boost Sustainability with UL Lafayette Department of Sustainability Representative, Jacob Pohlman (Alive Works), Emily Slazer (Second Harvest Food Bank), and Larry Fontenot (L.J. Farm)
The concept of reducing waste while boosting sustainability is not a new concept. With the expansion of technology and information available it seems almost negligible to not incorporate some practices no matter your profession. But in the food industry progress towards sustainability and cost savings can seem at odds with one another. In this panel we will discuss real world examples of how to reduce waste, adopt more sustainable practices, boost your bottom line, and engage with customers on the path to sustainability.
Bathroom & Coffee Break
Policy Presentation with John Dean (Director of Rural Prosperity Initiative for the Central Economic Development Alliance)
From the Farm bill to local ordinances, farm to school initiatives and farmers market developments, policy is critical to developing, regulating and supporting the local food economy. How do we apply national legislation at the community level? How do we initiate municipal guidelines that support the local agriculture work force? This lunch presentation will guide attendees through “Big P” Policy of federal regulation and oversight to the “little P” policy of local incentivization and development.
Bathroom & Coffee Break
Panel: Journey to Local with Scratch Farm Kitchen Representative, Helical Outpost Representative, Covey Rise Farms Representative, Allison Tohme (Farmers Market Development Director, CLEDA), Allison Guidroz (Fullness Farm), and Margee Green (Sprout NOLA)
To the general public the thought of being able to eat as locally as possible may not seem like a challenge. On the consumer end, farmer’s markets can be found in most major cities without having to go to great lengths to purchase local protein, produce and other goods. But when it comes to taking the concept of local and replicating it to the masses the challenges our local farmers, distributors, and restaurants face become apparent. In this panel we will discuss the journey to local through the stories of farmers, distributors, restaurants, and farmer’s markets that have faced those challenges head on and within those challenges found opportunity.
Bathroom & Coffee Break
Keynote: Graison Gill, Bellegarde Bakery
Graison Gill is the owner of Bellegarde Bakery in New Orleans and has been baking professionally for ten years. He trained at the San Francisco Baking Institute under Mac McConnell and Frank Sally. Graison is also an educator and advocate for freshly stone milled flour; he has worked with public health professionals, the university system and the private sector to teach the economic and ecological value of whole grains. He hosts dozens of artisan baking classes each year in the USA and Europe. In 2016, he wrote a Local Foods Resolution (HR 113) that passed the Louisiana Legislature 92-0.
Networking Happy Hour
Attendees will be treated to local cocktails, brews, and wine while having the opportunity to network and continue the discussions started from the day’s panels and keynotes.
Taste of EatLafayette & LA Seafood Cook-Off
The summer long EatLafayette campaign will kick off with a Taste of EatLafayette event in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off on at the Cajundome Convention Center. The tasting event offers a chance to sample the cuisine from some of the restaurants participating in EatLafayette while watching chefs from around the state to compete for the title of Louisiana Seafood King/Queen. Entry is included in the two-day event ticket. Tickets are available at the Ticketmaster box office next to the Cajundome Convention Center.