It Takes a Region Conference - 2016

Conference Main Page | Youth at the Conference 
Schedule | Pre-conferences | Theme-related Sessions
Workshops | Networking Groups | People of Color Caucus
Film: Forgotten Farms | Presenter Bios 


Attend a pre-conference for trainings, learning intensives, and networking opportunities. 

Day-long Pre-Conference: Raising the Bar on Beginner Farming Training
Afternoon Pre-Conference:
GAP Food Safety for Groups
Afternoon Intensives
     Policy Leaders Roundtable
     Communications Half-Day Training
     Race, Class, and Food Systems Work - Perspectives from Connecticut
     Food Policy Councils Short Course


Day-long Pre-Conference: Raising the Bar on Beginning Farmer Training
Download the full agenda.

This session is geared towards anyone who provides services targeted to farmers in their first 10 years of business. This session will focus on formalizing beginning farmer training in the areas of business and financial management. Most trades--plumbers, carpenters, electricians--have established and legally-recognized training pathways, but farming is missing from this list. New farmer training is often patchy, with the result that farmers getting started may be lacking critical skills that hinder their success. Additionally, hands-on trainings via farm internships or apprenticeships, while valuable options, are often not strictly legal.

Morning: Presentations on the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship as a model of a farm-oriented formalized training program; Overview of the regulatory landscape of small farm labor (esp. interns and volunteers).

Afternoon: Three simultaneous working sessions: 1) Discussing the Beginning Farmer pipeline: how to grow it, how to keep people advancing through it, and where the gaps are in our services, 2) Metrics for understanding Beginning Farmers' financial position, and 3) Teaching Farmers How to Manage All Aspects of Farm Labor

For the final hour of the day, we will come back together as a group to discuss the future of this dynamic service provider network which has been meeting annually for 7 years, as the Cornell Small Farms Program seeks shared leadership for future meetings.

Session Organizers: Anu Rangarajan, Erica Frenay, Cornell Small Farms Program; Chris Wayne, FarmRoots


Afternoon Pre-Conference: GAP Food Safety for Groups

This session is intended for farmers, food hubs, cooperatives, incubator farms, urban farmers, Food Safety consultants, and anyone in a support role, who would like to learn about practical alternatives for group Food Safety certification; and for buyers who want to know about the efficacy of this approach.

The burden of GAP food safety certification is similar whether you farm 1000 acres or 1, making certification unattainable for many smaller farms. Where growers are willing to work together, group certification can provide a more equitable and accessible solution. For farm cooperatives, urban farms, food hubs, and urban and immigrant farmer incubators, it can help overcome barriers to larger markets, provide a marketing advantage, and provide peer-to-peer support in creating a rigorous and well-verified system.

The framework for collaboration will depend on operational scale and complexity, and available resources of the group members. We will explore several models for certifying as a group – from a statewide Group GAP program to small clusters of farms – using case studies to illustrate each model and the successes and challenges the groups have experienced.

The workshop will be lead by educators who assist groups in finding the most practical path to Food Safety implementation and certification. Attendees will leave with a clearer sense of the options available, an understanding of the benefits and challenges of each option, and greater insight to help them determine the best group model for them. It's helpful to have a working knowledge of produce Food Safety certification - we won’t spend time explaining the basics. This is not a GAP Food Safety training.

Presenters: Jeff Farbman, National Good Food Network; Phil Britton, Cherry Capital;  Patricia Tripp, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association & Artisan Food Solutions; Lindsay Gilmour, Organic Planet LLC, Fair Food Philly, & NESAWG Board Member



Policy Leaders Roundtable – Mark Twain
Join policy leaders and advocates across the region to learn and strategize on important federal policy issues for the Northeast. This year's Roundtable will offer a preview of important upcoming legislation with a major focus on the next Farm Bill. We will concentrate on programs and policies that most affect the Northeast, solicit input from attendees on your priorities, and discuss effective ways to coordinate policy efforts.
We are partnering with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Wholesome Wave, and other D.C-based sustainable farm and food systems policy organizations. Your input will help inform the policy agendas of NESAWG as well as these partner organizations as we plan our advocacy efforts for the coming months.

Presenters: Aliza Wasserman, Wholesome Wave; Alyssa Charney & Ferd Hoefner, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Kathy Lawrence, School Food Focus, NESAWG Board Member

Communications Half-Day Training – Ethan Allen
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Are you seeking to improve your organization’s capacity to communicate effectively? Do you need a kick-start to launch a new communications initiative? Join this half-day training with communications experts and sharpen your skills. This session is designed for both communications professionals and beginners; everyone is welcome.

Nonprofit organizations often have limited staffing resources and communications budgets, which is why this training will focus on strategies that can be accomplished with minimal time and money. Three seasoned communications veterans will offer sessions on how to approach a communications strategy, storytelling and content marketing, and earned media and the press. There will be ample time for collaborative problem-solving, tip-sharing and brainstorming.  

Come to this training to learn new communications strategies, share your ideas and best practices, and get your questions answered.

Presenters:  Chelsey Simpson, National Young Farmers Coalition; Sommer Hixson, Glynwood; Brian K. Mahoney, Luminary Media
Moderators: Kaitlin Haskins, Farm to Institution New England (FINE); Johanna Rosen, Food Solutions New England

Race, Class, and Food Systems Work: Perspectives from Connecticut Nathan Hale North
Food access and food security are recognized as significant challenges facing many low income urban communities, while emergency food or food subsidies are often seen as the “solution” to these problems.  An examination of root causes, however, forces food system activists to confront the role that racism and institutionalized poverty continue to play in perpetuating inequity within the food system.  In this pre-conference, food system activists from Connecticut will share their experiences, insights and best practices that have emerged from their work with and in low income, underserved populations and communities of color throughout Connecticut.

Presenters: Martha Page, Hartford Food System; Melissa Spear, Common Ground Farm; Isa Mujahid, CTCORE-Organize Now!; Joy Johannes, City of New Haven; Tenaya Taylor, Grow Hartford; Kerry Ellington

Food Policy Councils Short Course: Putting Local and State Food Policy into Action Nathan Hale South
Transforming the food system into one that is food secure, sustainable, and healthy increasingly requires effective public policy work. Local and state food policy councils, now numbering over 260 across North America, including 50 in the Northeast Region, are organized to catalyze that transformation. This course will assist representatives from the Northeast to identify and use local and state food policies for food system change.  Through presentations and interactive group work, participants will be introduced to tools that increase the effective selection and utilization of food policies – legislation, regulation, budgeting, and administrative collaboration – policies that are developing a proven track record at the local and state levels. Since most of the participants will be from the Northeast, the course will also promote networking opportunities designed to lead to the development of a regional FPC network.

Presenters: Anne Palmer, Karen Banks & Mark Winne, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future