November 22, 2006 | By: Aimee Nielson

Ethnic populations are rapidly growing in Kentucky and in surrounding states. The changing demographics present opportunities and challenges for professionals who work with diverse groups of people. Food can play a role in helping people understand each other. An upcoming, tristate conference will explore issues related to production, preparation, marketing and consumption of ethnic and cultural foods.

Educators, producers, industry representatives and consumers from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana will learn about the nation’s diverse food supply system at a conference called “Appreciating Diversity through Food: Farm to Table for All Ages.” 

The event is Jan. 11 and 12, 2007, at the Radisson in Covington, Ky. Early registration is due Dec. 15, 2006. 

“Food is an important part of every culture,” said Rosie Allen, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Gallatin County. “It is part of festivals, religious celebrations, home and family rituals and is even what we call ‘comfort’ food. Food plays an important part in our lives and it can play an important role in helping us appreciate and reach others.”

The Cooperative Extension Services of the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, Purdue University and the Ohio State University are combining efforts for the third annual conference. Allen said the tools and resources presented during the conference will help professionals reach diverse audiences and help them appreciate the cultural differences and needs of their clientele. She encourages a variety of educators and professionals in the health and food industry to attend.

“The conference will be beneficial to professionals such as registered dieticians, food service workers, producers and industry leaders, formal and nonformal educators, community organizations, university employees and others,” Allen said. 

More than 30 sessions are on the conference agenda, including Food as Medicine, Agritourism, The Growing Latino Community, New Challenges for Nutrition and Health Professionals, Food in Different Cultures, Involving Individuals who have Disabilities, Avian Flu Effects of Ethnic Foods, Building a Diverse Group, Food and School Policy, Culture and Cuisine, and Diversity and Organic Agriculture. 

Attendance is limited and registration is $125 until Dec. 15. After Dec. 15, registration is $150. Three international-themed meals are included and continuing education units are available to some professionals. To register online go tohttp://www.ces.purdue.edue/dearborn/diversityconf.htm. For more information contact Allen at 859-567-5481.


Rosie Allen, 859-567-5481