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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Eighth Annual Rhode Island Food System Summit to be held Jan. 17

Summit aims to power environmental stewardship, sustainability “From Seed to Shore”

Dawn Bergantino

The changes in our climate not only impact human and environmental health and safety–but also food security worldwide. Climate change can affect crops, livestock, soil and water resources. 

At the same time, about one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions is linked to the agriculture sector. Regenerative agriculture, which focuses on improving soil health through practices such as crop rotation and reduced or no-tillage, is seen as one way to reduce these impacts and may even help to fight climate change.

On Weds., Jan. 17, at 9 a.m., state government, academic, business, and community partners will come together virtually for the University of Rhode Island’s eighth annual Rhode Island Food System Summit to discuss regenerative agriculture and how we can employ other innovative practices within our food system to support greater environmental stewardship in Rhode Island and beyond. 

The state’s food sector is one of its largest–representing nearly $4.5 billion in aggregate economic output and supporting 70,000 jobs–yet Rhode Island still imports approximately 90% of its food. 

Rhode Island was no stranger to the impacts of this summer’s extreme weather–from record temperatures and drought to wild fires and flooding. This forum, which will delve into how we can work to secure the global food chain and build a more resilient food system for our state, couldn’t come at a more important time. The three-hour event will be live-streamed.

The summit, “From Seed to Shore: Powering Environmental Stewardship Through Innovative Food System Practices,” will feature a keynote address by Janet Coit, assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationwho will discuss implementing a national seafood strategy and NOAA’s work to sustainably manage marine fisheries. 

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Director of Food Strategy Julianne Stelmaszyk will discuss building resilience with Rhode Island’s food strategy.

Panels will cover: Exploring the Intricate Relationship Between Farming Practices and Long Term Ocean Health; Regenerative Agriculture: Our Role in Supporting Environmental Stewardship; and Solving the Challenges Facing Sustainable Seafood Production. 

Follow-on events that will provide opportunity to dive deeper into issues important to our food system and the topics discussed at the food summit are also planned. Information and registration details on those events will be available following the food summit.

This 2024 Rhode Island Food System Summit is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is required. Those attending the summit are also invited to register separately (by Jan. 15) for an in-person networking reception at Narragansett Brewery in Providence.

The Rhode Island Food System Summit is sponsored by the URI Business Engagement Center and the Rhode Island Food Center at URI. For more information, contact: Katie McGwin at

WHO: URI President Marc Parlange; U.S. Senator Jack Reed (recorded remarks); Elizabeth Tanner, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce (recorded remarks); Janet Coit, assistant administrator for fisheries, NOAA; Julianne Stelmaszyk, director of food strategy, Rhode Island Commerce; along with URI researchers and experts; local industry leaders and community partners; and many more. Visit the Rhode Island Food System Summit for a full agenda and speaking program.

WHAT: The eighth annual Rhode Island Food System Summit, From Seed to Shore: Powering Environmental Stewardship Through Innovative Food System Practices

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 20249 a.m. – noon

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