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Peterson sponsoring economy conference

WASHINGTON, DC -- After two successful local foods conferences in 2007 and 2008, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has announced that he will sponsor another conference on the topic. The Home Grown Economy 2010 - Equipping You to Build Community Based Food Systems, will be Feb. 15 and 16 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

"My goal in sponsoring this conference again is to continue to explore ways in which local foods can become an economic development engine for farmers, rural communities and development organizations, and how we can all work together to meet growing market demands," said Peterson, D-Minn.

In order for constituents to participate across the 35-county 7th Congressional District, interactive video sessions will be available Feb. 16 at the following campuses: University of Minnesota-Crookston; University of Minnesota-Morris; Bemidji State University; and Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been invited to provide the keynote address. Ken Meter of Crossroads Research Center will present his insights on how food networks thrive and strengthen local economies. Panel presenters will provide information about what is happening at the local level, and each regional site will be afforded an opportunity to discuss how they can expand upon their local community based food system.

Watch for further details at Peterson's Web site at