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  • Food for Thought

    POSTED February 1, 2017

    Courtesy of Mike Penney

  • Food for Thought

    POSTED February 1, 2017

    Courtesy of Mike Penney

Northwest Meetings + Events editorial advisory board member Melissa Jurcan is our guest blogger. She offers a recap of the 7th Annual Solutions5 conference held on Friday, Jan. 20.

Microsoft recently hosted and produced Solutions5, the 7th annual collaborative conference bringing together five premier foodservice associations: Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliation, the Association for Healthcare Foodservice, Foodservice Consultants Society International, National Association of College Auxiliary Services and the Society for Hospitality & Foodservice Management. The event was held at the Microsoft Conference Center.

More than 270 attendees participated in the daylong workshop where they explored the next generation of food as it relates to trends, technology, wellness, food waste and feeding the world. The Microsoft culinary and events team spent several months crafting the menu and experience to highlight the educational session topics and align them with food, preparation techniques, waste reduction efforts and décor. For example: Prior to lunch, conference-goers heard from Dr. Irana Hawkins of Walden University, who lectured on “Wellness—A Greener Plate for a Greener Planet.” Following her presentation, guests dined in an Apothecary lunch experience where each menu item was carefully thought out and matched to a health benefit: from vision, to brain, gut health to energy, antioxidants to plant forward.

The conference culminated with a reception displaying the theme of the day “Food: The Next Generation” and featured menu items along the “feed the world” concept, including vertical buffets and hydroponic towers.

Speakers and topics featured at the conference were:

Session One:
Shifting Generations, Shifting Foods

Jack Li, Datassential

Session Two:
Technosystems: New Dots, New Connections

Rob Grimes, Founder & CEO IFBTA (International Food & Beverage Technology Association) & ConStrata Tech Consulting)

Session Three:
Wellness – Greener Plate for a Greener Planet

Dr. Irana Hawkins, Walden University

Session Four:
Waste Not, Want Not – The Future of Food

Moderator: Barbara Kane, EcoLab Inc.

James Ehrlich, CEO - ReGen Villages
Janet Haugan, Director of Marketing - LeanPath
Kristen Rainey, Global Vendor & Supplier Relations Manager – Google
Ashley Sanoli, Senior Policy & Program Advisor – Oregon Department of Environment Quality (DEQ)

Session Five:
The Tesla of Ecovillages – Feeding the Planet

James Erlich, ReGen Villages

The Northwest is home to a number of intriguing international districts in which to host your next meeting or event. From a museum in Seattle to a traditional Vietnamese restaurant in Portland and a high-energy nightclub in Vancouver, here are six spots you should definitely check out. 


Wing Luke Museum


As I write this, I am sitting in the Hilton Anchorage getting ready to head out for a day of tours and adventures with a group of about 30 event planners. About two weeks ago, I was in Vancouver, BC with a group of three other editors/writers doing the same thing in that city. Yeah. I know. I have a pretty fabulous job. And so, I wanted to give a shout out to the CVBs who plan these trips and help me get better acquainted to everything our region has to offer so that I can, in turn, introduce you to new places and things to do when you’re planning a meeting or event.