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Bioneers Conference brings food education and inspiration to SLO



If you ever find yourself in conversations with your friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers about food—what diet you’re on, what you avoid, what you “try” to eat—you owe it to yourself to put the upcoming Central Coast Bioneers Conference, held Oct. 25-27 at The Monday Club in SLO, on your radar. This event is the Holy Grail of progressive living and environmental education, and particularly rich in details on how to make intelligent food choices.

Take Friday for example—at 11:15 a.m., Brower Youth Award Winner Maya Salsedo will present “The Youth Food Bill of Rights,” a manifesto of students’ “demands” for better nutrition and food education. (“We have the right to poison-free food.”) At 1:30 p.m., Denise Cerreta will describe her success at democratizing healthy food for all in the discussion “One World, Everybody Eats: the Concept of the Community Café,” based on her introduction of the “pay what you can” pricing scale in her restaurant. This revolutionary concept is being discussed for local SLO restaurants—details will follow in New Times as they become available.

On Saturday at 3 p.m., John deBruin will present “It’s All About the Food: The New Model of Getting Back to Farming Basics.” DeBruin raises grass-fed cattle, organic chicken and eggs, and heritage pork on his ranch, located about 40 minutes north of Santa Barbara. DeBruin’s ranching methods are a study in responsible land use and humane animal treatment. According to his website, the cows feed on “waist high delicious grass,” then along come the chickens, “using their claws to fertilize the soil,” and providing the best fertilizer which “grows the next batch of grass for the cows to feast on.” Et voila! A perfect system, all based on age-old farming techniques.

After that, race over to the Holiday Inn for Erica Reinhiemer’s presentation on “Growing Nutrient-Dense Food,” and finish off the night by tasting some of the amazing ingredients you’ve just learned about at the Food and Farming Dinner/Dance, with food prepared in Cal Poly’s Real Food Collaborative Green Chef Competition! 

Ticket prices vary from $25 for students per event to $295 for a “Total Immersion Pass,” including all speakers, events, and field trips. See for details.


We want a bite! Send your food-related news to Intern Victoria Dale compiled this week’s Bites column.


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