Topic: International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York and the "Farm to City Expo: Connecting Farmers to NYC's Wholesale Food System"
Location: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center New York, NY.
Date: March 6th, 2012
Sponsor: The New York City Council sponsored the Farm to City Expo.
Speakers: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky; Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Dean Kathryn Boor; Bob Lewis of NYS Department of Agriculture; Jim Hyland of Farm to Table Copackers/Winter Sun Farms; Audrey Lynn Reith of Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County; Brian Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards; Cindy Barber of Barber Farms; Karen Karp of Karp Resources; Robert Cleary of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services' Office of Citywide Purchasing; Dominic Pelosi of Food Emporium and A&P; Terry Vouyiouklis of Teri Nichols Institutional Food Merchants; Casey Gilbertson of Brooklyn Salsa Company;
The main points of the meeting included the following: The event aimed at connecting local farmers with potential buyers. The afternoon was broken up into four sessions... opening speakers, a growers panel, a buyers panel, and a networking session. Panelists were asked to share their innovation and share how they have been so successful. The event also highlighted Food Works - New York City Council's plan for a more sustainable food system.
Critique of how balanced or biased the question was? What evidence was used?: The afternoon was mostly a sharing session. Growers shared difficulties they face in establishing successful relationships with buyers and buyers shared how they have formed great partnerships with some growers. However, because the two panels were seperated there was not a good exchange of ideas. Also, many of the panelists were large farmers. There was very little representation of small farmers on the panel and no representation of urban farmers. Given the momentum around small scale farming and young urban farmers I would have liked to have included a wider representation of panelists.
What you learned about presenting such a meeting? If you were going to present the session would you do the same? What would you do differently?: The first panel of growers went far too long leaving little time for the second group of panelists to share their thoughts. The moderator could have provided a more structured format for the panel in order to hit at key points while maintaining more control over timing. Because the two panels went over on time there was little time for networking - the main purpose of the event!
Determination of how successful the session was in meeting its stated goals?: I think its safe to say that some buisness was done as a result of the networking that took place during this event - so to that extent it was a success. A follow up email was also sent to all of the event attendees that included the contact information for all of the people who were in attendance. From the eyes of City Council, I think the event was also a success. They generated some press and further support for Food Works.
If any refreshments were served, were they appropriate and consistent with the themes and messages of the event?
The entire food show showcased a wide variety of food for all those in attendance. However, food was not served specifically for the farm to city expo. For the food show in general, the food was a great success!