3rd Annual Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase

White canopies draped with burlap cloth, dozens of farmers standing by proud displays of produce, and people in sunhats smiling wide and admiring brightly colored fruits and vegetables: welcome to the third annual Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase!

This year's Showcase, held on October 23, 2015 at the Leichtag Foundation Ranch in Encinitas, was a huge success! Over 200 attendees had the opportunity to meet nearly 50 exhibitors, including 37 local farms and food producers, 3 produce distributors, and 8 educational partners. This year's Showcase was held in conjunction with Food Day (October 24th), a nationwide day of action promoting a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care.

The Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase is the cornerstone event in CHIP's work to grow the local food economy by helping large institutional buyers connect with growers of fresh, healthy, local produce and other sustainable food producers. Fostering the market in which these buyers and sellers interact sets the stage for profitable and sustainable business relationships that help grow a healthy community, economy, and food system. Let's go Local! is a unique opportunity for these buyers and sellers to meet face-to-face to explore potential business relationships and community partnerships.

During the Showcase's brief comments, Kevin Gorham, Aquaponic Specialist at Solutions for Change shared these eloquent words:

"Currently the Vista Unified School District (VUSD) is our largest buyer.  Our relationship with VUSD started at Farm to School Taskforce meetings, with casual conversations between interested parties.  We've got a saying at Solutions, "Connect, Trust, Act" If you don't connect with someone you can't trust them and if you don't trust someone you're not going to act on anything with them, and you definitely aren't going to buy your food from them."

Liz Gary, with San Diego Soy Dairy said, "Due to the Let's Go Local program we are well on our way to introducing our product into a number of new venues."  Janis Garcia with Daily Harvest Market told us, "We loved, loved, loved the Let's Go Local event!!! We connected with lots of new growers which is really helpful and made some great connections.  Thank you for including us and we can't wait till next year!"

Thanks immensely to those who attended and exhibited at the 2015 Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase. An impressive array of dynamic organizations, businesses, and individuals continue to advance the shared goal of a creating a food system that contributes to a healthy community, economy, and environment. We are in this together. Now, onward!

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