Local Foods and Gardening Specialist to Present Seminar Supper Program at the University of Minnesota Crookston on Thursday, February 6, 2014, in Bede Ballroom; Presentation begins at 5:30 p.m.

The second gardening and local foods seminar is scheduled for Thursday, February 6, 2014, at 5:30 in Bede Ballroom. Randel Hanson, Ph.D., will present the seminar "Anchoring Food Systems Change: The Sustainable Agriculture Project at the University of Minnesota, Duluth." Hanson is the founder and "farmer-in-chief" of the Sustainable Agriculture Project at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), where he leads a faculty collaborative for systems change that includes a 10-acre campus garden and a 5-acre orchard on the former Northeast Experimental Station. The garden produces a substantial portion of the food for UMD's food service. 

Seminar suppers are free, but reservations are required. Attendees are requested to go through the Brown Dining Hall at 5:30 p.m. and bring their meal down the hall to the Bede Ballroom. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and conclude around 7 p.m. For reservations, call or email Megan Luxford or Laura Gabrielson at 218-281-8128 (luxfo003@crk.umn.edu). For more information, contact Dan Svedarsky, director of the Center for Sustainability at 218-281-8129 (dsvedars@crk.umn.edu).

Earlier in the day, Hanson will be speaking to Svedarsky's capstone class in integrated resource management where his topic will be, "Managing Resources in Time and Space: The Case of our Agro-food system." The public is invited to attend that presentation from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Peterson Classroom in Heritage Hall on the U of M Crookston campus. 

Hanson holds a faculty appointment in environment and sustainability at UMD, where he teaches courses in food systems, organic agriculture, urban ecology and ecological history. Before joining UMD, he held faculty positions at Arizona State University and Rice University. In addition to his work on regional food systems development, Hanson has published on challenges associated with locating and managing high-level radioactive waste, particularly with reference to American Indian communities.

His current focus engages organizational and institutional development and change in building small and mid-sized food and agricultural systems for creating better outcomes in human health, economic development and ecological resilience. He is interested in ways of networking stakeholders within institutions, communities and regions to create ideas, policies, and actions to expand production of and access to "good food." 

In particular, he is focused on integrating "anchor institutions" such as education, medical and other place-based organizations that have become increasingly important in local and regional sustainable development for many urban and regional economies. Colleges and universities have a special responsibility in preparing future leaders for a world of rising challenges around, but not limited to, sustainably-produced food and health.

This event is part of a continuing supper seminar series scheduled the spring semester at the U of M Crookston to explore and inform aspects of gardening and local food production in the Crookston community and the Crookston campus. The programs are supported by a Mini-Grant from the U of M's Institute on the Environment to UMC's Center for Sustainability and are free and open to all interested in the topic.

The kick-off of the seminar series occurred January 23 and featured Noelle Hardin, a U of MN Extension Educator whose focus is Community Food Systems in northwest Minnesota.  Hardin and U of M Crookston student sustainability assistant, Laura Gabrielson lead a workshop to explore the many values of local foods and over 35 participants from the community and campus shared their experiences. "It was a cold night but people turned out with great ideas and warm enthusiasm," according Svedarsky, "Folks even had an opportunity to draw out their vision of gardening on paper with colored markers." 

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus--as well as 13 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (dsvedars@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)