The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will convene a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America.


The conference will be attended by more than 1,000 food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, entrepreneurs, youth leaders, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and others engaged in the farm to cafeteria movement. The term “farm to cafeteria” encompasses all efforts to bring healthy, locally sourced food and nutrition and agriculture education opportunities to institutional cafeteria settings. This includes but is not limited to public and private preschools/early care settings, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hospitals and prisons. The conference is designed to appeal to beginners and veterans of the movement alike, and attendees will come from across the nation and Canada, and from a variety of diverse backgrounds.



The conference program officially begins on April 16 and will include 40+ workshops in a variety of topical tracks and formats, exciting plenary addresses delivered by leaders in the farm to cafeteria movement, networking opportunities, a series of 5-minute “lightning talks,” a poster session and resource share fair, entertainment options and an evening reception showcasing Austin’s vibrant local food culture. Pre-conference events will take place on April 15 and will include  field trips to innovative Texas farms and institutions, two short course options, and a few networking sessions or informal gatherings. Pre-conference field trips and short courses require additional registration fees.


April 15 – 18, 2004. Pre-conference events, including field trips and short courses, will take place on April 15. The conference will kick off on April 16 and run through mid-day on April 18. The conference is held every-other year, so the last conference was in 2012 and the next conference will be in 2016. A full schedule is posted here.


Austin, Texas! The conference will be held at the Austin Hilton, which will also serve as the conference hotel. Read more about the location here and on the related subpages.


Because together, we have the power to affect great change! Cafeterias in schools, universities, prisons, hospitals and childcare centers serve more than 40 million Americans every day during the school year, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. Think of it this way: A single school district often feeds more people in a day than all of a city’s restaurants combined. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it the premiere opportunity to learn, network and power up with likeminded leaders from across the country!


Conference registration rates (excluding pre-conference and special events) are as follows:

  • Early bird rate (deadline March 4): $350
  • Regular rate: $400
  • One day rate: $170
  • Half-day rate (Friday only): $80

A limited number of scholarships will be available as well.  Rates at the conference hotel, the Hilton Austin, will be $159/ single and $179/ double. Explore the location and travel page for more information.