Press Releases

North Country Food Summit Returns to Tupper Lake

All Interested in Creating a Just Food System for All Urged to Attend

TUPPER LAKE, N.Y. – Ensuring that all Adirondack North Country residents have access to healthy, affordable food in all seasons, while helping Adirondack farms remain viable, is a big challenge. The North Country Food Justice Working Group is lending a hand.

The working group will hold its second annual Winter Food Summit FEED BACK: Cultivating Action on Thursday, February 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event’s main sponsors are the Adirondack Council, Asgaard Farm and AdkAction. The summit will be held at The Wild Center. 

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“The 2018 Summit began the process of identifying priority projects, working to strengthen existing initiatives, and aiding collaboration,” said Racey Henderson, Program Director for the Essex Farm Institute and a founding member of the North Country Food Justice Working Group. “This year’s summit will build upon last year’s investigation of the North Country’s food system, emphasizing action toward our collective vision of a just and sovereign regional food system. The summit will include contributions that instruct advocates, activists, farmers, and consumers on creating long-lasting changes to the food system and reaching out across socioeconomic and cultural differences.”

The 2018 Food Justice Summit welcomed over 30 speakers, panelists, and presenters. There were over 160 participants, including community leaders, elected officials, teachers, organizations, businesses, farmers, and individuals who came together to ask big questions: “What does food justice look like?” and “How do we create a strong food system, together?” 

This year, participants will learn about the Adirondack food system and how to get engaged in creating positive change, including farming the land, food security efforts, political activism, community organizing, and nutrition education.

The Summit will include a keynote address by Frances Westley, a renowned scholar and consultant in the areas of social innovation, strategies for sustainable development, strategic change, visionary leadership and inter-organizational collaboration.

Her most recent book Getting to Maybe (Random House, 2006) focuses on the dynamics of social innovation, and institutional entrepreneurship in complex, adaptive systems. Experiments in Consilience (Island Press, 2004) focuses on the dynamics of inter-organizational and interdisciplinary collaboration in the management of ecological and conservation problems.

Participants have the option to attend two of 10 possible breakout sessions. Topics include: Grass-tops change for the North Country Food System; Addressing Food Security in the primary care setting; Education as a tool for food system transformation; Digital Storytelling and Food Justice in the North Country; Underground Railroad Training; Advocacy for Farmers; Storytelling and Reaching across differences; Food Access Panel; Who Controls the Land?; and, The Farmacy Model: a case study for incorporating farm stores into existing rural brick-and-mortar business.

The Summit’s morning and afternoon breakout sessions will be punctuated by breakfast, lunch and snacks of local food and drink prepared by The Wild Center, all included in the $20 registration fee. An afternoon discussion hour will round out the day with topics such as: Farm to School, Farm to Institute and Visioning for the North Country Food Justice Working Group.

“More than 20 speakers and presenters will guide participants through a truly productive and inspiring day,” Henderson said.  Guests hail from NY Center for Worker Justice, Farm Bureau, Eco Practicum, University of Vermont Environmental Studies Program, Sierra Club, Garden Share, Adirondack Foundation, Adirondack North Country Association, Clinton County Department of Health Services, Adirondack Action, and many other local and regional organizations, businesses and institutions. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will be represented at the Summit by David Valesky, the Deputy Commissioner.

FEED BACK’s other sponsors include: Craigardan, John Brown Lives, ANCA, Hamilton College’s Adirondack Program, North Country School/Camp Treetops, Cornell Cooperative Extension and The Adirondack Foundation.

The North Country Food Justice Working Group is a coalition of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, community members, local businesses, farmers and farm workers, and government agencies who have come together to start the conversation about creating a more equitable food system in the North Country. The group seeks to address our region's unique issues of accessibility, inclusivity, nutrition and justice from field to fork.

Essex Farm Institute is a project of the Adirondack Council. Essex Farm Institute supports, promotes and trains farmers to build resilient, diversified farms that are economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally beneficial. It is a co-founder of the North Country Food Justice Working Group.

Registration is open and spaces are limited. Registration options include sliding-scale and work-trade opportunities. Visit foodsummit2019 to register by February 18.  For more information please contact the North Country Food Justice Working Group at

For more information:

Racey Henderson
Program Coordinator, Essex Farm Institute
Founding Partner, North Country Food Justice Working Group


John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 (cell)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 29, 2019


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