By Missy Yates

In an unprecedented partnership that demonstrates the growing power of Long Island’s local food movement, three organizations representing the diversity of the local food movement – Slow Food Huntington, Sustainable Long Island and the Long Island Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) – have united to launch a grassroots campaign to raise awareness of local food.

The goal of the campaign is to connect Long Island’s diverse food communities at the LI Small Farm Summit on April 15th at SUNY Old Westbury. The campaign seeks to unite in all of the co-producers of Long Island’s sustainable food system including farmers and fishermen, gardeners and homesteaders, chefs and restaurateurs, food distributors and food retailers, beekeepers and chicken-keepers, land owners and land seekers, local foodies and food justice advocates, community organizers and elected leaders.

The campaign seeks volunteers committed to growing the Long Island local food movement and who are able to volunteer for one week to one month on the grassroots campaign. Organizers also seek to partner with the local business and nonprofit community to extend the reach of its campaign. The campaign will officially launch on March 15th and culminate at the April 15th LI Small Farm Summit. The campaign headquarters will be based out of Nick Martielli’s Aquarian Acre Homestead, a 1-acre suburban property in Huntington featuring an extensive garden with vegetables, herb, berries, fruit, and flowers, 6 laying hens, honey bees, and a solar-powered house. Campaign Manager Lisa Mitten of NOFA-NY will coordinate the volunteer-driven campaign and forge partnerships with local business and nonprofit leaders. The campaign will work closely with the staff of the North Shore Land Alliance, a local land trust serving as lead sponsor and organizer of the Small Farm Summit. To join the campaign as a volunteer or partner, contact Lisa Mitten at [email protected] or call 631-678-2195 .

The campaign is one of many that seek to unite Long Island’s diverse food communities at the First Annual Long Island Small Farm Summit on April 15, 2011. The summit will include workshops and panels featuring organic farmers, food entrepreneurs, community organizers, nonprofit leaders, elected officials, and civil servants. The keynote speaker will be Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia, a pastured-based, “beyond organic” livestock operation. Salatin has become a national spokesperson for the local food movement and has been featured in documentaries such as Food, Inc. and Fresh and the best-seller Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

The First Long Island Small Farm Summit will be held on Friday April 15, 2011 at SUNY Old Westbury from 8:30 to 5:30. Tickets for adults are $25 each, including breakfast and lunch. Students are free, excluding meals. To register for the conference, contact Andrea at the North Shore Land Alliance at 516-626-0908 or visit www.longislandsmallfarmcentral.com

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