Pamela Lanier

Spotlight on Pacific Asia Indigenous tourism

EcoGo - Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism and Trade Conference - PAITC 2015

Pamela Lanier, who heads the Friends of Sustainable Tourism International (FOSTI) and Ecogo.org, will be sharing eco-travel drivers and sustainable best practices at the upcoming Pacific Asia Indigenous and Tourism Trade Conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia this September. In this Pacific Asia meeting she will discuss how to attract more visitors to Indigenous-owned properties and tours, by taking full advantage of the all the local natural and cultural resources which also appeal to visitors. Here is the conference announcement.

Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism & Trade Conference 2015

International expert speakers selected

The Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC and the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) have selected a range of international expert speakers and panelists to present at the second Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism & Trade Conference – taking place Sept. 12 – 14, 2015 in Vancouver, BC.

Speakers for the second Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism & Trade Conference include:

Conference lectures, panels, and plenary sessions will examine topics such as: case studies for successful partnerships in Indigenous tourism, winning formulas in eco-cultural tourism, and best practices to work in the Pacific-Asia marketplace. Those interested in attending may register for the conference at PAITC2015. Early bird registration pricing starts at $550 for small businesses ($330 for students) and is available before Aug. 7, 2015.

Aboriginal Tourism BC welcomes participants

“We are excited to announce that representatives from Canada, the United States, Chile, Australia and New Zealand will be addressing conference attendees, providing insight into the growth of Aboriginal tourism,” says Keith Henry, CEO of Aboriginal Tourism BC, and host partner for the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism & Trade Conference. “Interest in Aboriginal tourism continues to expand on a global scale, and the tourism industry of British Columbia serves as an excellent catalyst for Aboriginal tourism products and experiences, helping to position our Aboriginal stakeholders as industry leaders.”

The host province of British Columbia,  home to one third of Canada’s First Nations and the second largest Indigenous population, has experienced strong growth in Aboriginal tourism over the past decade. In 2010, 3.7 million visitors included Aboriginal experiences on their itineraries and spent $40 million learning about and experiencing First Nations culture. This represents nearly 100 per cent growth since 2006. Today there are more than 200 Aboriginal tourism businesses in BC, an 85 per cent increase over 2006, which together contributes $561 million in value added GDP.

Conference fosters Indigenous tourism

The second Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism & Trade Conference (PAITC2015) will focus on the international opportunity for engagement and sharing by all peoples who have an interest in promoting, implementing and celebrating achievements — by fostering Indigenous self-determination through participation in tourism.

This Indigenous focus is consistent with the principles of the Larrakia Declaration on the Development of Indigenous Tourism (PDF), which was adopted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2012. It represents the most important statement of commitment from the tourism sector that it intends to take on an active role in giving practical effect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF).


About Aboriginal Tourism BC:  The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC) is a non-profit, stakeholder-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and co-operative marketing programs, AtBC is a one-stop resource for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities in British Columbia who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. AtBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help BC’s Aboriginal tourism businesses offer quality experiences and actively promotes these experiences to visitors and local residents.

About WINTA:  The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) is an Indigenous-led global network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests that seek to give practical expression to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through tourism. WINTA collaborates with Indigenous communities, tourism industry entities, states, and NGOs which have an interest in addressing the aspirations of Indigenous peoples seeking empowerment through tourism and producing mutually beneficial outcomes. WINTA undertakes tourism policy research, organizes tourism conferences and workshops, and provides strategic destination consulting services.

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Countries share sustainable travel wins

EcoGo - TIES Quito - Speaker Pamela Lanier

Pamela Lanier heads the Friends of Sustainable Tourism International (FOSTI) and Ecogo.org. She presented eco-lodging best practices at a recent industry conference, hosted by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). We report her news and findings below.

Conference that educates

The 10th Annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), held in Quito, Ecuador last week, was a resounding success. Some 500 delegates attended from 30 participating countries, and shared industry practices and achievements in sustainable tourism.

Educational sessions led by noted speakers in the field focused on sustainable destinations and community empowerment; biodiversity conservation; and ecotourism and sustainable tourism guidelines, certifications and development strategies.

Ecotourism conference insights

Ecotourism is a popular consumer option. Demand is growing quickly, economic gains are real, and ecosystems get preserved. Here are several insights from the conference.

  • Top growing ecotourism sector:  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  pointed out that ecotourism is the number one growing sector of travel and truly represents the future of tourism because “we will have to visit nature as a museum if we don’t take care of it now.”
  • Improved economic returns:  Irene Lane of Greenloons presented the results of a study which highlighted the improved ROI of Irish ecotourism participants on The Wild Atlantic Way, after all economic factors were considered including (and beyond) direct operational expenses.
  • Namibia’s impressive conservation:  Another presentation highlighted Namibia’s phenomenal economic and environmental resurgence. Driven by community conservancies, some 44 percent of the land is now under conservation management — and the populations of lions and zebra have surged.

Ecuador gets just rewards

At the conference, Ecuador was recognized for its achievements. The country has long been regarded as a green growth leader, partnering with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to create standards for sustainable travel. GSTC Chairman Luigi Cabrini conferred the mark of “Recognition” on Ecuador, which fully adheres to universal standards. He presented a plaque to Sandra Naranjo, Ecuador’s tourism minister.

Ecuador had already become the first country in the world to solidify the Rights of Nature. In 2008, its Constitution recognized the inalienable rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish — giving people the authority to petition on the behalf of ecosystems and requiring the government to remedy violations of these rights.

Extra perks for attendees

When in Ecuador, appreciate Ecuador! Conference delegates raved about the fantastic, healthy farm-to-table cuisine presented by local college and culinary academy students along with top chefs. The cocoa grower associations also provided 12 distinctly different chocolate bars for an extensive, interpretive tasting.

For the adventurous, Napo Wildlife Center led a high altitude trip to observe avian and other wildlife in the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve. This park covers 1,430 square miles, including Volcán Cayambe and ten ecological zones.

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Celebrating aboriginal tourism in Quebec

EcoGo - Swimming Caribou - Indigenous site Mushuau-nipi

Among eco-travelers, one pinnacle experience is visiting aboriginals in an authentic fashion. There’s a desire to connect with locals, traditions, wildlife and the environment while having some creature comforts at hand. In response, locals are often interested in sharing their traditions and creating economic upsides. EcoGo applauds opportunities for aboriginals and their travel partners to develop eco-travel business.

Annual International Aboriginal Tourism Conference (IATC)

Nearly 350 aboriginal tourism industry players, including half from abroad, gathered in Quebec City, Canada on March 24-25th to discuss their unique efforts and challenges. Hosted by the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA), the attendees and WINTA leaders declared this meeting a great success.

Quebec leaders kicked off the show

Chief Ghislain Picard, of The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), served as honorary host and focused on themes such as authenticity, marketing and preferred destinations. Quebec’s minister of tourism, Dominique Vien, also welcomed over 40 top speakers and global leaders and congratulated Quebec Aboriginal Tourism (QAT) for the terrific job they did in organizing and leading this landmark conference.

Traditions night honored locals

One of the most inspiring events showcased the dynamic, local, aboriginal tourism and history in Quebec, while a gala for entrepreneurship recognition closed the conference on a very exciting note. Among the full list of winners, here are selected awardees:

Next aboriginal conference:  The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) and the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (Aboriginal Tourism BC) will present the 2nd Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference (PAITC 2015) in Vancouver, from September 12-14th, 2015. FOSTI director Pamela Lanier will be participating in this conference.

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Ecotourism pros to talk shop in Ecuador

EcoGo - Ecuador Travel - Galapagos - 3-25-15
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) provides global knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation and sustainable travel. Professional and organizational members hail from 135 countries, and individual travelers may join free. Next month, ecotourism pros will talk shop while visiting Ecuador.

The Society holds its international conference, the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), in Quito, Ecuador from April 27th to 30th 2015 with a record turnout of members and registered participants. ESTC conferences have always been held in outstanding ecodestinations around the world, including Oslo, Bar Harbour, Vancouver, Nairobi, Monterey, and Bonito and this year Ecuador is no exception.

TIES Chair, Dr. Kelly Bricker says Ecuador was chosen because [it] “epitomizes ecotourism and sustainable tourism — every destination in the country has a terrific story to tell…from the work within national parks, to the engagement of local communities, there are numerous champions of sustainability at its best.”

Of special note, this year’s ESTC will also feature Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Sandra Naranjo. ESTC is very excited to feature Ms. Naranjo, the first sitting Minister of Tourism to deliver a keynote address at a TIES conference. Her vision is to utilize tourism as an economic instrument to achieve sustainable development, something ESTC delegates will hear more about during the conference.

Founded in 1990, TIES is the largest and oldest ecotourism society in the world, with over 14,000 members. Since 2005, TIES has hosted the ESTC, offering international tourism professionals, conservation groups, academicians, and government the opportunity to network and share best practices in a supportive setting, while experiencing the ecotourism and sustainable tourism initiatives of the host destination.

Building on previous conferences, ESTC15 in Quito is expected to expand up to 500 attendees, having grown significantly every year since 2011. The benefits have increased as well, as this year there will be numerous low-cost field sessions, sponsored tours, and workshops.

Oliver Hillel, Program Officer at Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, commented, “The ESTC provides global players with the best venue to discuss joint proposals and projects, and network with the best practitioners all over the world. The width of the issues discussed, the diversity of skills and experiences of participants, and the innovative solutions shared make it a reference and a watering hole for professionals trying to make a difference in the competitive and growing fields of ecotourism and sustainable tourism.”

Focusing on ecotourism’s role in sustainable development, the ESTC aims to strengthen the tourism industry’s commitment on global positive impact. The conference program will highlight ideas for conserving natural areas, alleviating poverty, empowering women, enhancing education, and improving the well-being of local communities.

TIES is committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. Our global network spans over 135 countries, with members who are leading the vital efforts to make travel and tourism more sustainable.

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MiaGreen teaches building green

EcoGo - Mia Green - Pamela Lanier - 3-17-15

Pamela Lanier, who heads the Friends of Sustainable Tourism International (FOSTI) and Ecogo.org, came back from the MiaGreen annual conference with enthusiasm about building practices. MiaGreen covers sustainable practices in the U.S., Latin American and Caribbean.

The MiaGreen Expo & Conference 7th edition took place February 10 at the Miami Airport Convention Center. It is the only event in the United States providing access to the ever-growing, green, renewable and sustainable markets for ALL the Americas.

The tone was set at the opening when Tim Connor discussed “Success is a Sustainable Decision – Are you in the Proper Track?” As Conner says, “Success for everyone, in the end, is a decision – a decision to act rather than wait, a decision to learn rather than remain ignorant, a decision to live with passion rather than with apathy, and a decision to hope rather than despair.”

With its unique marketing mix (USA + Latin America & the Caribbean), MiaGreen has developed as the one-stop interactive conference and marketplace for sustainability, combining a major trade show with front edge extensive educational and networking programs including several levels of LEED training and unique seminars on everything from “Water efficient Strategies for Commercial Plumbing” to “ECOpreneuring: Turning your care for the Planet into Profits” and technical topics like “Three Phase String Inverters and the 1000v Revolution.”

The seminars were led by experts and hands-on specialists. Wisconsin innkeepers John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist spoke about ECOpreneuring and their achievements at Inn Serendipity. They farm their property, act as stewards of their local woods, and operate on a carbon neutral basis using wind turbines and solar cells.

Conference President Jose Garcia-Pineyro focuses on empowering green building, solar, clean tech,and energy savings and the scope and breadth of this year’s program which offered bi-lingual Training in pertinent topics.

The conference closed February 12 with a talk on a subject at the forefront of this nascent industry “What is Really Purchased in Sustainability Materials and Systems and Why?”

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We agree: Support cultural tourism

Ta Phrom, Cambodia

The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, or UNWTO, connects country travel development and efforts together. At the heart of the organization’s mandate, it supports “the tourism sector to adopt sustainability principles.” Here is UNWTO’s report about their most recent February conference, held in Cambodia.

Over 900 participants, including over 45 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism and Culture, international experts, speakers and guests from 100 countries, gathered at the UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to explore and advance new partnership models between tourism and culture (February 4-6, 2015).

Tourism, moving more than one billion people across international borders each year, offers immense possibilities for socio-economic development in destinations around the world. Cultural tourism has proven to increase competitiveness, create employment opportunities, curb rural migration, generate income for investment in preservation, and nurture a sense of pride and self-esteem among host communities. Yet, in order to effectively promote and safeguard the very heritage cultural tourism relies on, a sustainable, multi-stakeholder approach is crucial.

Over the course of two days, the First UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture brought together Ministers, leading experts and stakeholders in the two fields to highlight the need to create a new framework for collaboration between tourism and culture, which includes active participation of host communities, visitors, the public and the private sector.

Worldwide and UN leaders speak up

“We need cross cutting policies to promote the sustainable development of cultural tourism”, said Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, opening the meeting. “This Conference represents an important contribution to advance the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the link between tourism and culture,” he added.

“Cultural heritage tells mankind’s story; it tells our story. Carefully managed, tourism can protect and enliven this heritage, generate new opportunities for local communities, and foster tolerance and respect between peoples and nations”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai opening the Conference. “It is up to us to work together to harness the sheer force of one billion tourists, turning it into one billion opportunities to contribute to inclusive economic growth, social development and advancement of the post-2015 sustainability agenda around the world. I trust this Conference will allow us to strengthen our partnerships and work closer together as architects of such a sustainable future,” he added.

“Every tourist must be a custodian of world heritage, an ambassador of intercultural dialogue. This is why safeguarding cultural heritage must move forward with sustainable tourism,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in her message to the conference. “This vision guides our efforts to promote culture as a driver and as an enabler of sustainable development.This has never been so important at this time of change, when countries are shaping a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.”

In his key note address to the Conference, King Simeon II, former Prime Minster of Bulgaria, said: “As one of the three living heads of state from World War II, I must share with you what first came to my mind when reading about culture coupled with tourism: peace, harmony, mutual understanding. Promoting peace and understanding among people, securing thus a better standard of living, bonds of friendship in a world with far too much aggressiveness, hatred, inequality and prejudice, is vital. We need to ensure that cultural tourism is on the international community’s agenda for sustainable development in view of the new Sustainable Development Goals.”

In his key note address, HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities stressed the efforts of the Saudi Commission in “promoting cultural heritage on various levels including its linkage to tourism, to the national economy and the development of the nation.”

In message to the Conference, the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, stressed that “the power of culture diversity has been acknowledged as an integral component for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and will remain an essential element of the post 2015 Sustainable UN Development Agenda. In this context, tourism plays an essential role in helping people of different cultures understand each other and eliminate cultural barriers.”

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World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney

Australia

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) 2014 has concluded in Sydney, Australia, with the release of “The Promise of Sydney” which outlines an agenda for the protection of the Earth’s natural assets over the next decade, and positions protected areas (PAs) as effective and in-place efficient solutions to many of the world’s critical developmental and environmental challenges.

This collaborative outcome document recognizes that human life on Earth depends on ecosystems, and that recalibrating the core relationship between human society and nature is essential. Key messages from the Congress’ streams and cross-cutting themes, presented as

“Innovative Approaches to Transformative Change” include:

– responding to climate change

– improving health and well-being, supporting human life

– enhancing diversity and quality of governance

– respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture; and

– inspiring a new generation.

An online portal launched during the Congress, allows the sharing of studies and success stories regarding issues related to PAs, aimed to “Inspiring Protected Areas Solutions” (IPAS), around the world.

Action pledges in support of the Promise of Sydney were made by nearly 100 governments and other entities including:

– UN Development Program (UNDP), to mobilize at least US$100 million to support the diversity and quality of governance of Pas;L-R: Pamela Lanier, Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina & Mrs. Rajaonarimampianina

– Australia, to provide AUS$14 million to conservation;

– Brazil, to protect 5% of its marine waters;

– China, to increase its PA coverage by at least 20%;

– Kiribati and the US, to jointly conserve nearly 490,000 square nautical miles; and

– Madagascar, to triple its marine protected areas.

This document also includes an outline for achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Target to protect -17% of land and 10% of oceans by 2020.

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General, called “parks by far the best investment the world can make to address some of today’s biggest challenges” and this World Parks Congress has “propelled major commitments from leaders across all levels of society to secure the benefits protected areas provide to humanity and ensure a sustainable future.”

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National Heirloom Expo

Heirloom Expo

Pamela Lanier at the Heirloom Expo

There are few places where cattle ranchers, home gardeners and rare-fruit aficionados, can mingle with world-renowned scientists and environmental visionaries and last week Santa Rosa,California was just such a place.. Whether it’s heirloom seeds or heritage breeds, genetic conservation was at the core of the fourth annual National Heirloom Exposition. 20,000 gardeners, farmers, environmentalists, students, educators, food advocates, food labeling activists, and chefs from across the globe congregated in Sonoma county which world famous botanist Luther Burbank called “the chosen spot as far as all of nature is concerned”.

So, what is an heirloom seed and why an expo? Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated so they can be saved and planted year after year. Today, many seeds are created in biotech labs and patented by multinational corporations .. with a concept of ownership. Many times these genetically modified seeds are treated with pesticides and herbicides. Critically, they cannot be saved and replanted. The fear is that these seeds will dominate and diminish biodiversity indeed, in the last century, some 30,000 vegetable varieties have become extinct and fewer and fewer types of food plants are being grown in the industrial world.
The Expo also served as a celebration of heritage lifestyles and food traditions with more than 200 speakers, 4000 varieties of produced displayed and 250 leading companies of sustainable, ecological and healthful goods and services ….and some amazing food ranging from a duck taco to homemade pickles and a sensational Mexican style cinnamon chocolate ice cream!
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, American Poultry Association and other heritage animal organizations conducted a livestock show with prizes and a winning giant pumpkin was weighed in.

“Pure food is about shopping locally and seasonally—if you know your farmer, you know your food,” says Paul Wallace, manager of the Petaluma Seed Bank and leading organizer of the expo.
Here is a sample of the many talks and presentations:

  • Stories and Photos of Joseph Simcox’s Amazing Travels Across the Planet Collecting, Documenting, and Eating Edible Plants – Joseph Simcox.
  • Farming 101 Panel Mentoring the Next Generation – Jeffrey Westman, Albert Straus, Guido Frosini, Marissa Thorton, and Peter Martinelli.
  • How a Win in Oregon Will Lead to National GMO Labeling – David Bronner.
  • The Agrian Elders Conference: Clips From a Documentary in Progress – Deborah Koons Garcia.
  • Panel: Heirloom Seed sand How They Adapt to Modern Usage, Both in Gardens and Commercially – Jere Gettle, Grant Brians, William Woys Weaver.
  • Our Seeds Fight Back: The Roughwood Seed Collection and Baker Creek Alliance – William Woys Weaver.
  • Agritorism Panel: Visiting Where Your Food Comes From – Tony Linegar, Pamela Lanier, Heather Gordy, and Peter Ruddick

The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered on the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables and anti-GMO activism. It concluded with a rousing Rooster Crowing contest!
www.theheirloomexpo.com.

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Heirloom Seed Festival

Pamela Lanier at the Heirloom ExpoThere are few places where cattle ranchers, home gardeners and rare-fruit aficionados, can mingle with world-renowned scientists and environmental visionaries and last week Santa Rosa, California was just such a place.. Whether it’s  heirloom seeds or heritage breeds, genetic conservation was at the core of the fourth annual National Heirloom Exposition. 20,000 gardeners, farmers, environmentalists, students, educators, food advocates, food labeling activists, and chefs from across the globe congregated in Sonoma county which world famous botanist Luther Burbank called “the chosen spot as far as all of nature is concerned”.

So, what is an heirloom seed and why an expo? Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated so they can be saved and planted year after year. Today, many seeds are created in biotech labs and patented by multinational corporations .. with a concept of ownership. Many times  these genetically modified seeds are treated with pesticides and herbicides. Critically, they cannot be saved and replanted. The fear is that these seeds will dominate and diminish biodiversity indeed, in the last century, some 30,000 vegetable varieties have become extinct and fewer and fewer types of food  plants are being grown in the industrial world.

The Expo also served as a celebration of heritage lifestyles and food traditions with more than 200 speakers, 4000  varieties of produced displayed and 250 leading companies of sustainable, ecological and healthful goods and services ….and some amazing food ranging from a duck  taco to homemade pickles and a sensational Mexican style cinnamon chocolate ice cream!

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, American Poultry Association and other heritage animal organizations conducted a livestock show with prizes and a winning giant pumpkin was weighed in.

 “Pure food is about shopping locally and seasonally—if you know your farmer, you know your food,” says Paul Wallace, manager of the Petaluma Seed Bank and leading organizer of the expo.

Here is a  sample of the many talks and presentations:

  • Stories and Photos of Joseph Simcox’s Amazing Travels Across the Planet Collecting, Documenting, and Eating Edible Plants – Joseph Simcox.
  • Farming 101 Panel Mentoring the Next Generation – Jeffrey Westman, Albert Straus, Guido Frosini, Marissa Thorton, and Peter Martinelli.
  • How a Win in Oregon Will Lead to National GMO Labeling – David Bronner.
  • The Agrarian Elders Conference: Clips From a Documentary in Progress – Deborah Koons Garcia.
  • Panel: Heirloom Seed sand How They Adapt to Modern Usage, Both in Gardens and Commercially –   Jere Gettle, Grant Brians, William Woys Weaver.
  • Our Seeds Fight Back: The Roughwood Seed Collection and Baker Creek Alliance – William Woys Weaver.
  • Agritourism Panel: Visiting Where Your Food Comes From – Tony Linegar, Pamela Lanier, Heather Gordy, and  Peter Ruddick

The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered on the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables and anti-GMO activism. It concluded with a rousing Rooster Crowing contest!

www.theheirloomexpo.com.

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Farm to Table International Symposium

The Farm to Table International Symposium (F2Ti) which has just concluded in New Orleans, Louisiana, is an annual event featuring the brightest thought leaders and leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement. F2Ti explores the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food and drink sourced locally. Topics include the best practices for urban farming, bringing products to market, sourcing locally, and the latest with the imposing Food Safety Modernization Act. The conference concluded with an address by USDA undersecretary Edward Avalos discussing the importance of world tourism and the impact of the 2014 Farm Bill and how it will impact small farmers, local and regional food systems and organic agriculture.

This year’s theme, “The Process,” examined the agricultural-culinary cycle at all levels and featured its own organic fertility research project. Topics included the best practices for:

o urban farming,

o bringing products to market,

o sourcing locally, and presentations on:

o Preventing Food Waste from Field to Fork

o Food and Cultural Identity

o Crop to Cup

o Starting a Farm-to-Glass Distillery

o Get the Lead Out: Heavy Metals and Urban Farming

For the first time this years symposium included a panel on Agritourism and Experiential F2T: Bringing Farmers, Chefs & Guests Together. Gabriele Marewski, the founder of Paradise Farms Organic discussed the dining series where Miami Florida’s best chefs produce “Dinners in Paradise” allowing diners to sample micro greens and tropical fruits while providing substantial income for the farm.

Poppy Tooker famed New Orleans author focused on the fascinating evolution of the Gulf States’ agritourism now featuring a “Hot Tamale Trail” and “Shrimp and Petroleum Festival”.

Pamela Lanier convened the session and discussed new opportunities developed in Europe for agritourism tours such as the Coloratour.com, Rural Dubrovnik and Peljesac Peninsula seafood gathering and organic vinery tour. Australian Italian guide Hugh Rowe has developed single and multi day tours delving into the centuries old agriculture and colonial traditions of Rome’s romantic nearby Castelli Romani region in conjunction withwww.inItalytours.com.

The closing key note by the Honorable Edward Avalos himself farm-raised in the Mesilla Valley New Mexico enthusiastically discussed provisions in the Farm Act specifically geared to promote environmentally positive agriculture and get more young people – both hereditary farmers and new entrants – into a positive market position. Programs such as Farmers Market promotion, Specialty Crops grants, and the Organic Cost Share program illustrate that the United States USDA is “all in” in supporting local and new agricultural and ranch producers.

The symposium, produced in partnership with the SoFAB Institute and the LSU AgCenter, brings together the leading practitioners in the growing farm-to-table movement to explore the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food and drink sourced locally while presenting the opportunity to connect consumers and chefs and producers. Chef Michel Nischan, CEO, Wholesome Wave, was this year’s Chairman of the symposium which took place at the New Orleans Earnest N. Morial Convention Center.