UMaine and ESTIA hosting conference on Slow Food

Posted Oct. 16, 2012, at 2:13 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine and ESTIA, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization based in Maine dedicated to the protection of cultural and biological diversity, will host the 9th annual ESTIA Conference on Slow Food: A Model for Sustainable and Healthy Living.

Interest in the concept of Slow Food has grown in recent years as more people seek to understand the value of local, in-season and organic food that boosts the local economy while protecting the environment.

The conference will be held 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, at UMaine’s Wells Conference Center.

The conference will address various topics such as understanding the Slow Food model and its contribution to sustainability, its health benefits and its viability in boosting Maine’s economy. The conference will also explore food policy as it relates to Slow Food and present success stories from Maine institutions and businesses.

More than 20 speakers from local, state and national organizations will explore different aspects of Slow Food. Roger Doiron, the founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, will give the keynote address at 7:15 p.m. Oct. 26. Doiron led the successful campaign for a kitchen garden at the White House, earning him the Hearst Media’s Heart of Green Award as one of the 10 most inspiring people in sustainable food.

Carlo Petrini, the founder of the International Slow Food movement, will greet conference attendees via video. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and a national voice for local, sustainable farming, will deliver a talk titled “Food Policy — Incorporating the Slow Food Model into the Maine Economy.”

Other speakers are Walt Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Mark Lapping, distinguished professor of public policy and management at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine; and Russell Libby, executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

The conference fee, which covers local, in-season and organic food, is $40 ($50 on-site registration) and $25 ($30 on-site) for students.. To register and for the full schedule, visit estiamaine.org.

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