As anyone who lives in or visits the Hudson Valley can attest, food is a big deal in the region. And not just any food, either. In an area where farm-to-table cuisine and practices thrive, the focus is on ingredients and produce that are local as they get. Whether that means vegetables from a nearby CSA or eggs from the farmer down the road, there are so many ways to support local in the region.
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that one of the industry’s biggest food conferences is taking place in the Hudson Valley. Dubbed Beyond Delicious: Transforming the Future of Food, the three-day event marks a special partnership between Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming in Cold Spring and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck. It’s right around the corner, too, kicking off on August 25 and running through August 27. During the weekend, attendees can expect to hear from a top-billing lineup of food innovators, chefs, farmers, policy activists, and restaurateurs as they spark discussions about shaping food systems that are not just healthy, but accessible and sustainable as well.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Beyond Delicious conference at Omega Institute, where we can share our knowledge and passion for creating a resilient and just food system,” enthuses Kathleen Finlay, Glynwood’s president and a featured presenter at the conference. “This gathering provides a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who are committed to nourishing our bodies, communities, and the planet. We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions, exchanging ideas, and collectively shaping a more just and sustainable world through the power of food.”
So, what will the weekend entail? To start, it’s jam-packed with keynote talks, panels, and workshops. There will also be ample opportunities for networking, as well as shared meals and wellness events like a sound bath on Friday. The sessions themselves will dig into topics ranging from biodiversity and growing food to global impact and activism and policy, with a focus on next steps and solution-based approaches.
Thanks to the powerhouse partnership between Glynwood and Omega, the lineup of thought leaders at Beyond Delicious is nothing short of remarkable. To name only a few, speakers include Mark Bittman, acclaimed New York Times food writer; Karen Washington, a co-recipient of the 2023 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award and cofounder of Black Urban Growers; Chef Sean Sherman, a 2023 recipient of the Julia Child Award; and Ruth Reichl, a food writer and six-time James Beard award winner.
“I am excited to be a part of Beyond Delicious, a conference that brings together passionate people who recognize the profound impact of food,” Bittman, who is also a Glynwood Ambassador, notes. “Together, we will inspire and empower one another, and help guide each other towards conscious choices that promote our own well-being, and that of our planet. I look forward to coming together and embarking on a journey of culinary exploration, creating a sustainable future for all.”
While panel themes vary from one session to the next, overall topics for the event will include ways to promote and cultivate regional food systems, lift women’s leadership in the sustainability movement, learn from Indigenous and African roots in American food today, and cope with and lessen the negative impacts of fast and cheap food in American culture. By the end of the three days, attendees will be able to walk away with powerful insight into the state of American food systems today with an eye toward sparking meaningful change in the future.
“We believe that the well-being of each individual is deeply connected to the well-being of all living things,” observes Carla Goldstein, the president and CEO at Omega. “This influences the way we approach food at Omega, from the farms we work with to plant-based options we serve to minimizing waste through composting. We are pleased to be offering Omega’s first-ever food conference in partnership with Glynwood to unite Omega’s efforts with other changemakers and multiply our impact together.”
For those interested, registration for the workshop weekend, which takes place on Omega’s campus during August 25-27, starts at $335 for members or $375 for non-members with additional rates for on-campus stays. More information about rates and the full list of participating speakers can be found on the event’s website.