MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Marion Nestle, an internationally known scientist and author, will be the keynote speaker at "Healthy Foods, Healthy Farms," Kansas State University's annual sustainable agriculture conference Feb.17-18, 2006.

The conference will be held at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan.

Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, is the author of the award-winning books "Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health" (2002) and "Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism" (2003).

Her presentations will be on "Food Politics: Food Industry Influences on Obesity and Health" and "Where's the Beef? - Building the New Food Pyramid."

Nestle chaired the department in which she now teaches at NYU from 1988-2003.

According to Bill Hargrove, director of the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC), "This conference will connect healthy eating of locally produced foods with the sustainability of local family farms in Kansas. It should be of interest to food professionals, local farm families, and the general food consumer."

KCSAAC, along with K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Rural Center are sponsoring the conference.

Other speakers will include Christine Pardee of Drake University, presenting "Food Policy Councils - Cultivating Food Democracy;" Steve Diver of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) presenting "Soil Fertility and Food Quality: An Eco-Farming Perspective;" and Mary Beth Lind, who authored a book titled "Simply in Season: Using Fresh Local Foods."

Attendees can choose from 15 breakout sessions and view a film, "The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food." The breakout sessions will include updates on school foods, crop production and nutritional value, transitioning to organic agriculture, and expanding local markets by linking institutional food buyers to farmers and processors.

Other sessions will include grass-fed beef, hoop-house production for local markets, starting a small-scale local processing business, processing natural and organic foods, and an update on an urban community-supported agriculture program, among others.

Ruth Smerchek of the Kansas Department of Commerce will give an update on the "Fresh from the Land of Kansas" program.

The conference will feature educational posters and displays.

Attendees can register for one or both days of the conference online by clicking on registration or call 1-800-432-8222 or 785-532-5569 and ask for conference registration Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST. The fee is $25 for each day of attendance. The fee includes refreshment breaks, lunch and conference materials.

SOURCE: News release from K-State Research and Extension.