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Thursday, January 13, 2022

6th Annual RI Food System Summit to be held Jan. 20

URI hosts 2022 food summit focused on innovation, sustainability, partnerships

As the United States enters year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, one major takeaway has been how the pandemic revealed cracks in the nation’s food system infrastructure. While disruptions in the supply chain reverberated across the country, in New England where approximately 90% of the food consumed is produced elsewhere, there is much less room for error. 

On Thurs., Jan. 20, at 9 a.m., the University of Rhode Island will host its sixth annual Rhode Island Food System Summit, “Driving Food Innovation Through Sustainable Partnerships,” to discuss how, as a state, we can work to make our food system more sustainable, more accessible and more resilient. 

The summit will focus on how Rhode Island can leverage agricultural advancements, state-of-the-art facilities, partnerships and groundbreaking new programs to increase food production in the state and throughout New England. Advanced registration is required.

The event will feature a keynote address by Julianne Stelmaszyk, Rhode Island’s director of food strategy with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, who will discuss progress and plans to update the Rhode Island Food Strategy. 

Initially developed in 2017, the Rhode Island Food Strategy’s goal is a sustainable, equitable food system that supports the region’s goal of ensuring that by the year 2060, 50% of the food eaten in New England will be produced in the region.

In addition to Stelmaszyk, discussion panels will cover: Innovations in Agriculture; Expanding Shellfish Aquaculture and Fisheries in Rhode Island; and, Unique Funding Mechanisms to Promote Growth in the Agriculture and Aquaculture Industries.

The Rhode Island Food System Summit is sponsored by the URI Business Engagement Center. For more information, contact:  Sharon Pavignano at (401) 874-5124 or at

WHO: URI President Marc Parlange; U.S. Senator Jack Reed (recorded remarks); Julianne Stelmaszyk, director of food strategy, Rhode Island Commerce; Kenneth Ayars, chief, Rhode Island DEM Division of Agriculture; Diane Lynch, chair, Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Christine Smith, former managing director of innovation, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; URI experts; local business leaders; and many more. Visit the Rhode Island Food System Summit for a full agenda and speaking program.

WHAT: The sixth annual Rhode Island Food System Summit, Driving Food Innovation Through Sustainable Partnerships

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, 9 a.m. – noon

WHERE: This year’s Rhode Island Food System Summit will be held virtually. Advance registration is required.