Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Rebuilding Local Food Systems

20th Annual Southern Plains Conference provides information on growing and marketing local food.

Written by: Jessica Behnham


The 20th Annual Southern Plains Conference will focus on re-establishing personal relationships to the land through the restoration of local food systems.

The 20th Annual Southern Plains Conference will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Texas Tech University's International Cultural Center.

Two nationally-known speakers on local food systems, ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan and food activist Mark Winne, will give keynote addresses.

In conjunction with the conference, a special Local Foods Evening Soiree will be held at the International Cultural Center from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb.24.

The soiree also will feature an hour-long program of music by Andy Wilkinson, Andy Hedges and Lesley Sawyer, intermingled with a presentation from Gary Nabhan titled, “Coming Home to Eat on the Southern Plains.”

The event is open to the public, and the theme, “Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Rebuilding Local Food Systems,” will be demonstrated through presentations, exhibits, recipes and information on growing backyard produce as well as marketing local food.

“The land always welcomes us back,” said Andy Wilkinson, artist-in-residence at the Southwest Collection. “With the milk-and-egg money of the Great Depression and the Victory Gardens of the Second World War, the land welcomed us back. Now, on the eve of a great, new economic restructuring, the land again waits to welcome us back. This conference provides folks from around our region some key ideas and practical tools for rebuilding our connections with local food.”

The price to attend both the conference and soiree is $75; each individual event is $40. For registration and schedule information, visit the Ogallala Commons Web site.

Texas Tech’s Southwest Collection, Ogallala Commons, South Plains Food Bank, Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Community Food Security Coalition and Casa del Llano are sponsors for the conference.