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Sustainability, organic food production are focus of ‘World on Your Plate’ conference

Sustainable food systems for healthy living and New York State’s organic food production will be the focus of discussions next weekend during the “World On Your Plate” conference at Daemen College.

The conference will include presentations by regional agriculture leaders, a keynote address on mindful nutrition choices by an international authority, and workshops on a range of topics that will include plant-based nutrition for disease prevention, sustainable landscaping, importance of public transportation for healthy food access, and climate and food security.

Information from local vendors, live entertainment and other activities also are planned.

The 13th annual conference, entitled “From Seeds to Solutions,” will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Saturday in the Wick Campus Center on the Daemen campus, 4380 Main St., Amherst.

“The conference will feature experts who will explore the importance of creating a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system, and changes that can have a positive impact on the future of our food production,” said Brenda Young, chair of Daemen’s Global and Local Sustainability Program.

A panel discussion on Friday will focus on organic food production with facilitator Tom Szulist of Singer Farms Naturals. Panelists will include Tim Bartlett, manager of Lexington Cooperative Market; Jim Bittner, owner of Bittner-Singer Farms; Bridget O’Brien-Wood, director of food service for Buffalo Public Schools; and Erwin Rakoczy, a member of the Clarence Farmers Market Board.

The evening schedule will wrap up with a roundtable discussion on the New York Organic Action Plan led by Elizabeth Henderson and Liana Hoodes of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association.

On Saturday, “Resilient Seeds in a Changing Climate” will be discussed by morning keynote speaker Petra Page-Mann of Fruition Seeds Organic Seed Co., who will address the importance of saving seeds and revitalizing the regional food supply. Afternoon keynote speaker Frances Moore Lappe, author of 18 books on world hunger, living democracy and the environment, will discuss “The Solution is On Your Plate.” She will examine the social and environmental impact from the foods we choose and ways to reduce food waste and enhance sustainability.

Tickets cost $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Friday-only tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Area students may attend for free by preregistering and with appropriate school identification. To buy tickets or for more information, visit or contact Eveline Hartz at

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