Last updated: September 19. 2013 11:22AM - 1007 Views

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington 30 Mile Meal is partnering with the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition to host an exhibition of local food producers in the Huntington and tri-state area.

Rescheduled from July to include more farmers, the Huntington Local Foods Expo will take place at the Big Sandy Conference Center, Oct. 23 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

The event will provide regional food growers, producers and processors with an opportunity to connect with buyers from restaurants, grocery stores, schools, institutions and other food venues. Not intended for individual consumers, the event is intended to help foster long-term sales relationships between these buyers and farmers. It is one of a series of regional Expos to be hosted throughout the state by the WV Food & Farm Coalition and local partners, with support provided by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture via a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. Other partners on the Huntington Expo include WVU Extension Service and the Charleston Area Alliance.

Registration is required and costs $15 for all attendees. Attendees will enjoy a tasting showcase of foods prepared with locally grown fruits and vegetables, a group “speed dating” session helping farmers and buyers get to know each other, and panel discussions on building relationships between farms and food service. An area of exhibition space will be reserved for organizations and agencies providing products and services that to assist producers, such as product liability insurance, food packaging products, training, and affordable loans. Those interested in a booth can contact the event organizers for details.

An additional outcome of the event is to create a Buyer Grower Directory of local food growers and buyers interested in volume sales, to increase the overall sale of locally produced goods in West Virginia. Huntington has several restaurants already sourcing local products and a more established network of farmers will make buying local more accessible. The Directory will include detailed information about the needs of each buyer and the products available from each grower; it will be distributed to attendees at the Expo and made available to the public. Buyers or growers who wish to be included, but are not able to attend the Expo, can still sign up for the Directory until October 16.

To register for the Expo and/or the Directory, visit http://tinyurl.com/local-expo. To register by phone or for more information about the event, call (304) 697-3007 or write to lauren@unlimitedfuture.org to speak with the event coordinator Lauren Kemp.

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