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Open house set for local food producers, establishments

WILLMAR -- A meet-and-greet that brings together local food producers and food serving establishments will be hosted from 2 to 4 p.m. April 1 in the multi-purpose room at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building.

The event is hosted through the Statewide Health Improvement Project at Kandiyohi County Public Health.

The event grew out of an initiative last year by the Kandiyohi County Food Steering Committee to gather information about the use of locally grown foods. A survey was sent to all Kandiyohi County establishments licensed to sell food, asking them if they were willing to use locally grown foods and what types of foods they needed. Growers and producers also were surveyed to find out if they sold or were willing to sell their products to entities such as farmers' markets, co-ops, grocery stores, restaurants and other food establishments.

Based on the positive response rate, efforts are now under way to connect producers and food establishments in hopes that they can develop a working relationship.

During the April 1 open house, sellers will display information about their products, prices and delivery options, giving buyers a chance to talk to the vendors and learn what's available. Kandiyohi County's environmental health specialist also will be on hand to answer questions on food safety and state regulations for using and selling locally grown products.

To RSVP as a local producer or a food serving establishment, call 231-7860.

-- From staff reports