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Virtual food systems sustainability conference set for this week

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(Lake County Leader) – A free five-day virtual conference focused on Montana’s local food systems, runs Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 10-14. 

“Community: the Heart of Resilient Food Systems” is the theme of EXPO 2021, the annual statewide conference of the nonprofit AERO, Alternative Energy Resources Organization. The 2021 event brings together food and farming entrepreneurs, food access organizations, and community, industry, and government stakeholders from around the state to share information, ideas, resources, and creative solutions.

The event’s goal is “to support network building and idea-sharing to inspire community leaders, working toward a more sustainable and food secure Montana for all,” according to a press release.

Each day features three free online sessions on a topic area relevant to strengthening sustainable food systems. Participants can attend any of the three 90-minutes sessions offered on each topic. Pre-registration is required to attend the free online sessions and can be completed at aeromt.org/event/expo-2021.

Evening “virtual happy hours,” 45-minute community conversations with invited guests, promote opportunities for visiting, connection, and information sharing each evening Wednesday through Saturday.

Daily themes include “Enhancing Small Farm Success” (Wednesday), “Ensuring Food for All Montanans” (Thursday), “Community Focused Solutions” (Friday), “Food Systems and Sustainability (Saturday) and “Resilient Communities and Regenerative Landscapes” (Sunday). A wide range of topics will be addressed, including the recently passed Food Freedom Act, building markets for small farms, soil regeneration, drought projections, high tunnels, pest management and more.

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