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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Northeast > Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems > Superior Grown Food Summit by Locally Adapted Food System Collaborative

Superior Grown Food Summit by Locally Adapted Food System Collaborative

Project files


  1. Build a Common Framework for understanding food as a public good that includes yet transcends the market.
  2. Gather Public Input on food needs and concerns over food availability, affordability, quality and security.
  3. Draft Attainable Goals for greater local, regional and state food production.
  4. Prioritize Pathways for success in localizing food.


University of Minnesota partners in the Summit
Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership
  • Office of Sustainability, UMD
  • Office of Civic Engagement, UMD
  • David Syring, Anthropology - UMD
  • Deb Shubat, Horticulture - UMD
  • Kathryn Milun, Cultural Studies- UMD
  • Stacey Stark, Geographic Information Systems- UMD

List community partners
  • Sustainable Farming Association
  • Duluth Community Garden Program
  • Whole Foods Coop


The Superior Grown Food Summit was staged on November 13, 2009, at the University
of Minnesota, Duluth. An estimated 225 people from across the western Lake Superior
bioregion took part in this event, which was publicized through newsletter articles and
conversations with individuals within a variety of networks in the region. Articles
publicizing the Summit appeared in the Whole Foods Coop newsletter, the Duluth
Community Garden newsletter, the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association
newsletter, the Duluth Hillsider, and the Duluth News Tribune. We held targeted
conversations regarding the Summit with people in the Duluth Public School system,
the Duluth city government, the Wisconsin Counties Association, etc. We sent letters
of invitation to all churches, environmental organizations, and most community level
elected officials (mayors and city council members) in the region.
We set up interviews on radio programs and submitted notices of the event on several
key websites. These activities were designed to build awareness and ownership of the
Summit by a wide array of people within our targeted networks.


We believe that the multi-step action plan we devised to gather, harness and channel
public input and desire for expanding local and regional food production was largely
successful based on the numbers of direct participants at the event as well as the feedback
we received afterwards. In addition to the people who attended the Summit itself,
the proceedings were videotaped and shown on Duluth Public Access Community
Television in three segments on several occasions. We also received favorable television
coverage of the event, projecting the importance of community food system planning and
development. We are seeking to use this event to further build the appropriate research,
public awareness, and policy formation for expanded local and regional food production
(see section below on ‘University Involvement’ for details). The networking within the
principals and community stakeholders in advance of the Summit, the convening of the
Summit itself, and the creation of a public document based on the Summit’s outcomes all
lend themselves to building momentum toward this goal.

Principals in the Summit organizing met after the event and discussed the possibilities
of staging a second Summit in 2010 given the public interest in doing so. However, we
ultimately decided that holding one in 2010 was premature, but we will likely stage a
follow up Summit in November, 2011, building on the initial Summit and showcasing
developments that have taken place in the fast changing world of regional food systems
in the interim. As part of the invitations and notices for this follow up Summit, we will
be sending the public document from Summit 2009 to everyone who had attended that

One special outcome of the event was that a landowner with 20 acres on the urban edge
of Duluth contacted Randel Hanson after reading a newspaper article in the Duluth News
Tribune outlining the Summit: the landowner inquired about whether a community
process to utilize that property could be created to maintain that land in agricultural
use in perpetuity. After nearly a year’s long series of trust building and information
exchange, we have initiated that community process to create the ‘Duluth Community
Farm’, a non profit farmer/agriculture enterprise incubator which will host initial farming
in the Spring, 2011. Key members of the Superior Grown Food Summit are helping
to create this non profit which, if it demonstrates soundness over the course of several
years, will have the land title transferred. We are also in discussions with the City of
Duluth to include an additional acreage on adjacent lands now associated with the City
of Duluth’s Tree Farm. We are excited about this development, which promises to be
a powerful community addition to the process of rebuilding local and regional food



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