Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eat local - Speed Networking

Attention, food producers and restaurateurs:

Dutchess County Bounty will host its first ever Speed Networking for farmers and chefs at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 4. I think this is a great idea -- Slow Food Hudson Valley (disclosure: I formerly served on the board of directors of this non-profit group) used to hold a networking dinner with the same purpose: connecting local farmers and food producers with product to sell to local chefs, caterers and food buyers who are interested in serving locally raised foods. It all promotes the "buy local" philosophy and keeps business in the community.

Dutchess County Bounty is a relatively new group that is supported by Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corp., Dutchess County Tourism, Dutchess Economic Development Corp., Northern Dutchess Alliance, Assemblyman Marc Molinaro and "the generous support of a Dutchess resident." It is modeled after Columbia County Bounty in (yes) Columbia County.

Note: this is not an event for "regular" folks who just want to enjoy a good meal of local products. I am including it in this blog because I think it's a fine idea and I'd like to encourage everyone to patronize Dutchess (and Columbia) County Bounty food producers and chefs all year long.

Here is more from the event's organizers:

Like speed dating, Speed Networking gives farmers/chefs the opportunity to meet face to face to make a quick connection -- to follow-up in more detail later.

They will have 5 minutes per person to exchange information on what they grow or what they want to buy and how to reach one another. Then, they move on to the next person for another 5 minutes, and so on, till they've worked their way around the room and met all the farmers or buyers.

Participants should bring a stack of business cards and farmers should bring copies of their product list to hand out.

Food producers who use local product are also welcomed, as are farmers and chefs from neighboring counties.

The event opens up a lot of local, business-to-business potential markets. When Columbia County Bounty ran a Speed Networking this winter, there were 80 farmers and chefs/buyers in the room. It was very productive.

Patricia & Michel Jean have graciously offered to host the event at their Stissing House Restaurant, 7801 S. Main Street (Rtes. 199 & 82), Pine Plains, 518/398-8800.

The Networking will finish no later than noon. Anyone with questions can call Dutchess Bounty Coordinator Vicki Simons at 518/392-9696 or e-mail vsimons@fairpoint.net. Advance registration is preferred.

There is no charge to participate.

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