Tons of Conferences and Workshops Coming Up

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Why go to a conference or workshop? I can think of a million reasons. It’s fun. It’s a great way to hear speakers you admire, or people you only know online. You’ll be energized, you could make contacts leading to more writing assignments, and you’ll definitely get out of your usual routine.

In the sessions, even if you think you’ve heard it all, you could:

  • Be inspired to reach for a new goal
  • Remember something important that you need to work on
  • Think about a current project in a new way, breaking through clutter or obstacles
  • Hear messages you’ve heard before, but this time they sink in!

Whether you’re a food writer, food blogger, or food historian, here’s a big list of upcoming food-based conferences to tempt you (and some where I’m speaking):

December 9 – 10, Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Conference. Held at the University of Las Vegas campus, this conference attracts academics who speak on agriculture industry, geography, culture and aesthetics and policies. Las Vegas, NV

January 28, 2012, Food Blog South. This year’s one-day conferences features a keynote by Kat Kinsman, managing editor of CNN’s food blog Eatocracy, and vice chair of the James Beard journalism committee. I’ll be speaking on food blog ethics, a favorite topic. Birmingham, AL

February 9 – 11, The Roger Smith Cookbook Conference. Tracks on the past, present and future of the cookbook, with panelists from the cookbook, agenting, publishing and literary worlds. New York

March 16th – 18th, Food Sense: 8th Annual MU Life Sciences & Society Symposium. This symposium investigates “how our taste for food is shaped by biological triggers, cultural norms, economic activity, and social surroundings and will examine how individuals, communities, and societies can make healthy choices about food in this context.” Columbia, MO

March 27, Creating and Selling Your Dream Cookbook, a one-day class by publishing insiders. I am one of the speakers. New York

March 30 – April 4, International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference. I’ve attended this conference almost every year for the last dozen years. Next year’s theme is Fashioning Food, where speakers will “examine, challenge and celebrate the ways in which the food world interacts with other cultural events.” New York

April 13, Nourished Food Blogger Conference. A one-day conference for bloggers with special diets. I’ll be teaching a writing class.

April 15 – 16, Eating, Cooking, Culture: The Politics and History of Food, University of Wisconsin. Features author Jessica Harris and distinguished food scholars. Milwaukee, WI

April 20 – 21, TechMunch. connecting 100 local bloggers with speakers in a technical format. Tampa, FL

April 23 – 28, Food Writing Workshop in Tuscany. Speakers include Barbara Fairchild, former editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit, blogger David Lebovitz, and cookbook author Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Tuscany, Italy

May 4 – 6, Camp Blogaway. Not your usual hotel location, but cabins with decks in the wilds of California, and fewer than 100 attendees. Angeles Oaks, CA

May 8 – 11, Food and Love, 34th conference of the International International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. (ICAF) The conference will feature papers on the subjects of food and sex, nutrition and affection, and food and emotion. Daroca (Zaragoza), Spain

May 18, TechMunch, connecting 100 local bloggers with speakers in a technical format. New York

May 18 – 21, Plate to Page, food photography and writing workshop. A hands-on, 2.5-day writing and photography intensive. Somerset, England

June 8 – 9, BlogHer Food. Last year’s conference reached around 500 attendees, which makes this the mother of all food blogging conferences. Seattle, WA

June 20 – 23, Meetingsof the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), and the Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. In addition to sessions on “Cities, Agriculture, and the Future of Food Systems,” this conference includes tours, such as rooftop gardens and foraging in Central Park. New York

July 6 – 8, Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, St. Catherine’s College. This year’s subject is “Wrapped and Stuffed Foods” from every culinary tradition. “Papers are invited on the cultural, practical and historical context in which these diverse preparations exist.” St. Catherine’s College, UK

August 18 – 21, 18th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Societe International d’Ethnologie et de Folklore. Turku, Finland

August 24 – 26, International Food Blogger Conference. Brought to you by the founders of Foodista. Portland, OR

Other events where organizers have not announced dates yet:

Big Summer Potluck. Cookbook author Pam Anderson‘s summer event, held at her home in Pennsylvania with daughters Sharon and Maggy.

Eat. Drink.Blog. A conference that brings food and drink bloggers together. Australia

Eat Write Retreat. Hands-on panels include photography, food styling, and culinary workshops. US

Food Blog Forum. Regional events focused on food photography, technology, and social media. US

Food Blogger Connect. A conference for food bloggers, based on inspiring and nurturing creativity, innovation and professionalism. London

Food Blog Camp. Several days at a luxury tropical resort with blogging luminaries such as David Lebovitz, Matt Amendariz and Jaden Hair teaching photography, branding, writing and technology. Mexico

Food Buzz. “Annual Blogger Festival” for subscribers, usually held in November. San Francisco

Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop. Held in picturesque farm and wine country. This summer event focuses on professional development and food and wine education. Penticton, Canada

The Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier. The grandmother of all food writing conferences is now in its 21st year. White Sulphur Springs, WV.

So, I know it’s a long list, but what did I miss? If I’ve left out other good reasons to attend conferences, please add them.


  1. says

    Ooh, I’m so jealous – you have such a wealth to choose from over there.
    I will be in Seattle, San Francisco and LA in January and early February, but not one of these opportunities matches up with my visit dates – bummer.
    I’ll just have to stay tuned with you, Dianne, to be kept up to speed with what is happening in the food writing world.

    • diannejacob says

      It is amazing, isn’t it, that they all survive. Canada and Australia have only 1; Europe has 2 regular ones.

      You’ll just have to meet up with food bloggers on your own, I guess. Doesn’t sound so bad.

    • diannejacob says

      You’re welcome. It took me a while, but it was worth it if I have them all in one place now. I’m waiting for people to chime in that I’ve left a whole bunch out. Seems inconceivable that there could be more!

  2. says

    Dianne, this is such a great summary of all the food conferences around the world. I am already bookmarking those in Europe. Can’t wait for them. Thank you for doing this!

    • diannejacob says

      You’re most welcome. It was fun to compile. Yeah, who doesn’t need a good excuse to go to Europe? Forgot to put that down as a reason to go to conferences.

  3. says

    Speaking of events and workshops, I’m super sad to miss your Dec. 10th food writing workshop in Honolulu… I’ll be away on a trip :( But I hope you enjoy your stay in Hawaii!

  4. says

    Great list, Dianne. Thanks for including Plate to Page. Now I only have to choose which ones in the US to attend next year, but I am planning on IACP. Very excited about seeing you again!

    • diannejacob says

      Too bad they aren’t all together in a group, so you can sample a few at once! It will be wonderful to see you in NY.

  5. says

    Wow! Great list. Being on the nutrition and science side of food, this trend of open source sharing of information is fascinating to me. I believe that blogging, social media, conferences, self publishing, etc. are the wave of the future as far as making changes in our food system and health are concerned. Thanks for putting this together.

    One thing — Where is this one? Nourished, special diets, and writing? My kind of conference. =)

    >> April 13, Nourished Food Blogger Conference. A one-day conference for bloggers with special diets. I’ll be teaching a writing class.

  6. says

    Hi Dianne,

    Another awsome post full of inspiration and resource information. Big thank you for keeping us informed. Dreaming of that Food Writing Workshop in Tuscany, Italy, knowing I really need to start a little closer to home *sigh*

    The Souper

  7. says

    I have attended two of the three editions of the London based FoodBloggerConnect. Every time I came back home full of motivation and truly inspired.
    I hope to attend this year too and, why not, cross finally the Ocean!

    • diannejacob says

      Why not, indeed. Well, I can think of a few reasons: expense, time… But it’s nice to factor in at least one conference a year.

  8. says

    There are so many, it can be a little overwhelming. Having the conferences compiled into a manageable list is really helpful. Thank you.

    Another good one…more along the nutrition end of things… is the annual Nutrition and Health Conference put on by Dr. Andrew Weil. Top speakers such as Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Andrew Weil (of course), and so forth. I attended one day last year and found it very inspiring and motivating. It will be held in Boston April 15 to 18 2012.

  9. says

    This list was long overdue! Thank you for compiling it. It would be great if you made this post “sticky” on your blog and update it as new dates and events are announced! Don’t know if you want to manage this but it would be a nice reference for us all :)

    • says

      Great list Dianne! Def. some on here that I have missed on my list and will have to remember! Marie I do update my list regularly (which I see Barbara linked to in a comment above) as I find new events, I have kept it up to date for a couple years now.

  10. says

    What an interesting list Dianne.
    You’ve come up with lots of great stuff for your readers to think about…I see several fun, educational and inspiring events I need to look into.

    My husband just asked me what I want for Christmas, and I could only come up with a couple stocking-stuffer items, but now I know what I really want from him this year: HIS FREQUENT FLYER MILES!

    Hope to see you at one or more of these gatherings.

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks, Brook. Oh yes, those miles will come in handy! Especially if they’re from American Airlines. I wonder if we have to use those up right away. They say no.

  11. says

    My secret goal is to figure out how to get paid to attend food blogger conferences, because we’ve clearly come to the point where there’s one just about every week. Great list, and I hope to see all of you at a few of these next year.

    • diannejacob says

      Hah! Yeah, don’t quit your day job. I have read pleas for sponsorship on some of the blogger conference websites, and they seem earnest yet troubling.

  12. says

    Maybe it’s the old-school reporter in me but I’d like to suggest that food bloggers think outside the usual suspects when it comes to attending conferences. Some of the best food conferences I’ve attended — I’m thinking here of EcoFarm, Cooking for Solutions, and Community Food Security Coalition — haven’t been geared towards writers, let alone bloggers. My beat is a little different from many of your readers, I suspect, but great ideas can be found at such meetups. For people who are more recipe oriented even events like the Fancy Food Shows may offer ideas for future posts.

    Of course, the conferences you list here have their place — in terms of networking, mechanics, improving skill sets etc. — but after a while it starts to feel a little like the same small core of folks saying the same thing. I maintain that much of the business of conferences happens outside of the panels, anyway, and newbies would do well to know that, as some of the panels themselves can be somewhat disappointing. And a lot of these conferences and workshops are not cheap!

    Maybe there’s a follow up post, DJ, in how to get the most out of a conference?

    • diannejacob says

      Thanks for listing more conferences, Sarah. I thought about adding more like these not geared to writers or about food so explicitly, and then the list got too long.

      In your case, the conferences you mention make sense for you as a food politics reporter, because you’re looking for stories, trends and sources. I guess everyone has a different reason for going to conferences. Not sure yours are the same reasons as recipe bloggers, but hell, we’re all going to learn, meet people, and have fun. And I agree that the business (and new friendships) happen outside of the sessions. That’s were you continue conversations, pitch people, and find out about opportunities.

      Re the same speakers saying the same things…Hey! I resemble that remark. I try to keep learning and change it up. I tend to get pigeon-holed on recipe writing, ethics, and general writing skills. Still, there’s so much to say, and I’m always surprised at how different the panel discussions and opinions are on the same topic, depending on who else is on the panel with me. But yes, after you’ve been to a bunch of similar conferences, they can start to sound the same. Maybe that’s when you got to something new, out of your comfort zone.

  13. Vivian says

    Hi Dianne,

    I’ve been considering going to conferences for years, but given my location, it obviously makes planning much harder. Anne Willan suggested I go to IACP and David Leite suggested I go to BlogHer. Obviously very different, but given what you know about me ;-), what would you suggest if I had to choose one?

    Thanks for a great list in any case. Maybe I should start a regional one here in Singapore…

    • diannejacob says

      You’re a generalist, Vivian, so maybe IACP would be best, versus a blogging conference. Yes, tons of bloggers in Southeast Asia. Why not start a conference. I’d love to come speak!

  14. says

    Wow, this is a great list! There is even an event here in British Columbia, I am so happy to see that :-).
    Dianne, I just discovered your site through a link on Sarah’s Food Bridge blog, and I am so glad that I did! You have so many useful articles! I will be coming here often to check what’s new (especially when I’m on detox and can’t cook 😉 ).
    Going to look for a subscribe button.

    • diannejacob says

      I hope you found the subscribe button at the top. I’m a former British Columbian myself. Who are you? I looked for your About page on your blog and on your Facebook page and couldn’t find a name. Something to consider adding.


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