Farm Progress

Slideshow: Farmers, veterinarians and industry experts share local food and conversation during the Henry and Knox County Farm Bureau Farm to Fork events.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

August 16, 2017

12 Slides

Hormones. Antibiotics. GMOs. Artificial insemination. Local hunger. No subject was off the table during the Farm to Fork events held by the Henry County and Knox County Farm Bureaus in early August. 

“There’s never been a time in our history where the American consumer has been so engaged in how their food is grown, raised and produced,” said Dennis Verbeck, Henry County Farm Bureau president. “Over time, there seems to be a disconnect between farmers and consumers and how we grow and produce food.”

Facts and statistics won’t close the understanding gap, he added. “Emotion trumps science,” Verbeck explained.

Henry County event organizers invited mealtime decision-makers such as moms and dads to the event. “We need to hear your questions and concerns. We can’t give you the most accurate answers if we don’t understand your concerns,” Verbeck said.

Knox County Farm Bureau sought out local educators, business owners and health professionals. 

“We have people here from all walks of life, such as hospitals, schools, youth programs and grocery stores,” said Grant Strom, Knox County Farm Bureau president. “We want to be here and available to answer any questions they have about food and farming.”

Delicious food, valuable conversations
The catered meals featured locally raised beef, pork, sweet corn, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, craft beers, wine and more. Guests were paired with two ag experts at every table, including local farmers, veterinarians, agronomists and nutritionists.

Maple Street Grille owner and chef JR Greenwood, Orion, was thrilled to be part of the Henry County event. “This is such a cool venue. It’s an honor to be here,” he said. “It’s a tribute to what we are as a community and what we aspire to be. Things like this would not be possible without your support. Whether you’re farmers, end users or the middle man, it’s great to have this support in the rural areas in and around the Quad Cities.”

In Knox County, Phil Dickinson, owner of The Landmark in Galesburg, created the menu using all locally sourced meat and produce except for three minor ingredients. “The salad lettuce was broken off a pod 30 minutes ago,” he explained. “It doesn’t get any fresher than that.”

The expertly prepped local flavors brought people to the tables, but Strom said the conversations and takeaways were the true high points of the evening. “We really opened up some doors and opportunities.”

Check out the slideshow to learn more about the two Farm to Fork events.

About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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