URI to host third annual Food System Summit

Hundreds of local food movement supporters expected to attend

Media Contact: Tracey Manni, 401-874-2145 |

KINGSTON, R.I., — January 16, 2018 — Rhode Island’s farmers, growers, producers, distributors, retailers, servers and other small businesses each play a role in our state’s food system, a burgeoning economic sector with growing momentum behind it.

The Rhode Island Food Center at the University of Rhode Island is hosting its third annual Food System Summit, at which hundreds of food system representatives will join with state and national food system leaders to identify ways to better support the state’s food economy.

Experts will discuss the role of food-related businesses, as well as that of state policy makers and consumers, in the state’s comprehensive Food Strategy, and its main areas of focus: production, sustaining and creating markets, enhancing the climate for food-related businesses, food security and food waste.

Where:           University of Rhode Island’s Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Road, Kingston.

When:            Friday, January 18, 2019 from 8:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (See complete agenda link with time breakdowns at the bottom of this advisory)

Why:               Food and related businesses impact Rhode Island families and our state’s economy. Join us in supporting and celebrating this burgeoning industry and to hear from experts on issues from growing and producing to dealing with food waste, and everything in between.

Who:               Keynote speaker Kathleen Merrigan, executive director, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University and former deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Keynote speaker Danielle Nierenberg, president, Food Tank

Sue AnderBois, director of Food Strategy for the State of Rhode Island, and Nessa Richman, network director of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council will also present at the Summit. Kenneth Ayers from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; Kathleen Gorman from URI’s Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America; Michael Hallock, CEO of RI Mushroom Co. and RI Agricultural Technologies; Leo Pollock, co-founder of The Compost Plant; and Elizabeth Tanner, director of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, will participate in a panel discussion.

Media Note: At the conclusion of the formal program, at approximately 3 p.m., field trips/tours with attendees who have pre-registered will commence at the following locations:

  • Matunuck Oyster Farm (South Kingstown)
  • Whalers Brewing Co. (South Kingstown)
  • Hope & Main (Warren)
  • Farm Fresh RI (Providence)
  • RI Mushroom & Shaidzon Beer Co. (West Kingston)
  • Port of Galilee (Narragansett)
  • Farming Turtles (Exeter)
  • Earth Care Farm (Charlestown)

More detailed program information is available.

The Rhode Island Food System Summit is hosted by the University of Rhode Island, with support from URI’s Business Engagement Center and the Rhode Island Foundation.