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Brief: Vilsack to speak at SMSU

MARSHALL -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be the keynote speaker at "The Home Grown Economy 2010: Equipping You to Build Community-based Food Systems" conference Monday and Tuesday at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall.

Seventh District U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, hosts the conference.

The conference begins with a local food and wine sampler showcase from 5-8 p.m. Monday in the Charter Hall 201 lobby. Peterson will give a short presentation, and there will be music, short films and clips about community-based food systems.

Tuesday's schedule begins with registration from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by presentations by both Peterson and Vilsack. Additional morning activities include a program on nurturing economic recovery through home-grown foods and community-based food system innovators. The afternoon will feature a panel discussion. All events will be in the Conference Center Ballroom at SMSU.

There is a fee to attend. For more information or to register, visit or phone Molly Werner, (507) 752-5062, or e-mail: