Indiana Uplands Winter Food Conference

Join us on Thursday, January 30th, 2020!


Though registration is full, you may sign up for the waitlist to be informed if a space becomes available.  

Join us for this regional event with an incredible line-up of speakers and strategy sessions to help build a thriving regional food system in South-Central Indiana!

 Strategy sessions include:

  • Business and economic development in the food system
  • Shared-use kitchens and meat processing infrastructure for farm and food businesses
  • Indiana Grown for Schools
  • Value chain coordination and creating networks of connectivity
  • Community and nonprofit innovations for markets and food councils
  • Agritourism for the Indiana Uplands

Click here to view full schedule

WHEN: Thursday, January 30th, 2020

9:00am-3:00pm Conference

3:00-5:00pm Networking, Vendors, and Curbside Consulting

WHERE: StoneGate Arts and Education Center in Downtown Bedford, 931 15th St. Bedford, IN 47421 (Parking is available on location in the lot adjacent the building)

WHO: This conference is for farmers, food businesses, chefs, food service directors, economic development officers, technical assistance agencies, elected officials, community organizations, health coalitions and organizations, farmers markets, food access organizations.

This conference is designed to bring practitioners together from different economic and community food sectors to learn and share interests in developing our regional food system. Businesses, nonprofits, and government entities all serve an important role in this, and we want to ensure you are connected to each other to discover the potential we have in our region to produce, move, and buy more locally grown and created food stuffs. When you leave this conference, we hope you have made key connections, gained new perspectives, and will continue to explore your role in strengthening the Indiana Uplands food system.

We encourage you to invite others within your professional networks and wider communities who might be interested in attending.

Featured Speakers

The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks or ACEnet will be presenting and leading discussions of how they have successfully built a rural, regional food economy in Ohio. They will share data and strategies learned in the past 30 years, and be able to work with each person in attendance to answer questions as they apply to your role in the food system. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from other practitioners about how we can do this here in the Indiana Uplands!

 Read their bios below:

Leslie Schaller has directed multiple training and technical assistance programs which assist micro-entrepreneurs through small business curriculum development, contract services and the formation of support networks of resource providers as Director of Programs. Ms. Schaller secures public and private funding through grants and fees for services to support regional brand initiatives, targeted sector training, financial management support and capital access. Ms. Schaller is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, start-up and expansion stages. Ms. Schaller is currently a partner of the Aspen Institute’s Scale Academy, the Central Appalachian Network, the Ohio Food Policy Network, the Ohio Food Hub Network and UpGrade Athens County.

Adam Kody joined the ACEnet staff in December 2016, serving as the Food Ventures Coordinator. Mr. Kody manages ACEnet’s shared-use kitchen incubator. He assists in providing training and technical assistance to food and farm microenterprises. Mr. Kody is licensed by the Better Process Control School, having received training in thermal processing, sanitation, and food safety procedures. He supervises production in the thermal processing room and trains new entrepreneurs to use processing equipment and comply with food safety and good manufacturing practices. In addition to ensuring that food producers maintain a high level of sanitation, he also assists in the scaling up of recipes to suit the level of production that the client hopes to attain, ensuring a beneficial and informative process for all clients, new and old alike.


Heather Tallman and Naima Gardner will be presenting on their work with Indiana Grown for Schools, a farm to school program that enriches the connection students and communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips, while local producers gain reliable wholesale buyers.  

Read their bios below:

Heather Tallman is the program director of the state's Indiana Grown program. She previously served as member development program manager and has been with the state’s agriculture department since 2017. Prior to joining the department, Tallman created and founded her own food media company, Kitchen Sink Media.

Naima is the Nutrition Coordinator in the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Indiana State Department of Health. There she works with community partners around the state to improve nutrition environments in a variety of settings (schools, workplaces, communities, retail, etc.). Prior to her role at ISDH, Naima was the Campaign Coordinator for Healthy Food Financing for the American Heart Association, a position that allowed her to work in the policy realm to increase equitable access to healthy food throughout the state. Naima holds a Masters in Public Health from Indiana University as well as a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales University. She worked as a professional chef for several years. Naima is passionate about food and food systems, particularly the ways in which food systems impact public health and social justice. Naima was born and raised in Bloomington, IN (go Hoosiers!) and currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband and two children.