Tuesday Morning: Opening. 8:15am - 9:15am.
Tuesday After Lunch: Region-sizing the Food System: Recipe from New England. 2:00pm - 3:15pm.
“Region-sizing” on the ground in the six New England states – vision, networks, action. Hear about regional approaches and how regionalism is being applied in food system policy, markets, planning and civic engagement. With Kathy Ruhf, Senior Fellow, NESAWG. Kathy co-leads the New England Food Policy Project; Cris Coffin, Director, New England Office of American Farmland Trust. Cris co-leads the New England Food Policy Project; Tom Kelly (tentative), Director, UNH Sustainability Institute. Tom is a member of the Food Solutions New England Core Team.
Tuesday After Dinner: Keynote Speaker -- Jim Hightower. Dinner and Keynote: 7:00pm - 9:00pm.
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator, public speaker, and New York Times best-selling author, will issue a rallying cry for collaboration and change. Read more. >
Wednesday: Censorship in the Media and Academia. 11:15am - 12:45pm.
From NY, to Boston, to Philadelphia and DC, our region is a world media capital. We have good sustainable agriculture food and farm success stories right under the noses of the biggest media outlets. At the same time, our region's land grant universities have opportunities to be more vibrant, transparent, open and collaborative. How can these two pillars of democracy -- a free press and our public university system, become more open and transparent? In this plenary, we will hear stories from journalists and scientists who have had their food and agriculture related stories suppressed. We will also hear from expert media analysts and academics on both the challenges and opportunities in striving for a more open, democratic flow of information, and what we can do to advance such openness. With Jeff Dvorkin, Director of the Journalism Program at the University of Toronto and former NPR Vice President of News and Information and News Ombudsman; Jane Akre, journalist and 2001 Goldman Environmental Award recipient; Joel Kenneth Kaplan, Associate Dean for Professional Graduate Studies, Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University, and Ombudsman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California-Berkley; Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Staff Scientist, Consumers Union; Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Staff Scientist, Center for Food Safety. Jeff Dvorkin and Jane Akre will present by video.
Tuesday session: 11:15am - 12:30pm
Wednesday sessions: 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM, 10:15 - 11:00 AM
Each workgroup has two sessions and a final wrap up. Please select one workgroup.
Diet, Geography, Access & Public Health Work Group
The Diet, Geography, Access and Public Health session will explore persistent patterns of food system inequities experienced in communities-particularly those of color and economically or socially disadvantaged. How can we work together as a region to redirect time, money, research and expertise to align dietary guidance with the food equity goals? This work group will be exploring existing and desired food system and health indicators concerning food access, morbidity and mortality, and other related health metrics.
LEADERS: Joanne Burke, University of New Hampshire; Emily Piltch, Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition; Amanda Behrens The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting
Distribution and Food Hub Work Group
The focus of Distribution / Foodhubs sessions this year will be Postmortem: FoodEx 2008-2014, featuring a presentation by JD Kemp, FoodEx founder. FoodEx was an internet-based local food transporter and distributor, formerly based in Boston.
LEADERS: Ann Karlen, Fair Food; Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato
Food Safety Work Group
This Work Group is an open forum to address and join together on specific activities regarding implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, GAPs and other certifications, farmer education, and one-size-fits-all regulations.
LEADER: Steve Gilman, NOFA Interstate Council
Food Systems Planning Work Group
This year the Food System Planning Work Group will explore how to plan for Collective Impact. After learning/revisiting the basics of the Collective Impact framework (Kania and Kramer, 2011), the group will dive into each of the 5 conditions: a common agenda, shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and a “backbone” network coordinator. We will look at a few examples where this framework is working successfully, and will explore how all of our work can become more aligned with this framework.
LEADER: Erica Campbell, VT Farm to Plate
Infrastructure Work Group
Participants in this workgroup have combined with the Distribution and Food Hubs workgroup. In past years, the Infrastructure workgroup focused on meat processing. If you are interested in continuing this narrower, specific focus, let us know, and we'll connect you to an existing, or help start a new, online, 12-state workgroup.
Labor and Trade Work Group
This Work Group will continue our discussions on linking the sustainable agriculture movement with food workers in order to change the food system.
LEADERS: Mary Jo Dudley, Cornell Farmworkers Program; Liz Henderson, NOFA/NY and Ag Justice Project; Rachel Winograd, CATA
Research and Assessment Work Group
At this year’s Research & Assessment Workgroup sessions we’ll have an opportunity for updates and (re)introductions, welcoming any new members. That will include an overview/update on the R&A Workgroup-initiated Northeast Food Knowledge Ecosystem (NEFKE) pilot project, and opportunities for Workgroup input and engagement as we implement several exciting new collaborative tools and shared resources. In the second session, breakout discussion groups will explore more deeply identified areas of shared interest, and report back out to the larger group.
LEADERS: Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic; Clare Hinrichs, Penn State University
Economic Impacts of Regional Food Systems. 9:30am - 10:45am.
In this session, we will discuss basic information about what economists mean when they talk about economic impact assessment, including research methodologies for evaluating impacts of policies and initiatives supporting regional food systems. We will begin with some of the challenges associated with definitional choices and data availability (including regional supply chain participants/value added businesses), then we will provide evidence from our research throughout the Northeast (utilizing both nationally-available data as well as data collected via a case study approach), and conclude with many questions for future research. With Becca Jablonski, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Colorado State University; David Conner, Associate Professor, Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, and Steve Vogel, USDA, Economic Research Service.
Media Training to Increase Responsible Coverage of Sustainable Food Systems. 9:30am - 10:45am.
The Northeast region provides a rich resource of positive sustainable agriculture models -- all under the noses of such world-renown media centers as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. This juxtaposition represents a good opportunity to convey our complex stories and messages. In this session, we'll address the challenges of communicating complex technical issues; communicating the uncertainty inherent in good science; identifying journalists with whom we can partner productively; avoiding crisis coverage; and developing longer-term relationships with reporters, writers and editorial boards. With Dale Willman, award winning correspondent previously with National Public Radio, CNN and CBS, and a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.
A Practical Approach to Climate Change for Farmers and Consumers. 9:30am - 10:45am.
The climate change conversation sometimes gets bogged down in politics, and calls to action may be too general, or too overwhelming, to get traction with intended audiences. Yet surveys show that both farmers and consumers are receptive to many of the actions we would have them take, like increasing reliance on renewable energy, preparing for extreme weather conditions, and managing soil in ways that adapt to and mitigate climate change. Examples of specific, practical steps that can be taken in the Northeast region will be shown, followed by a discussion around the question: how can we change the conversation to motivate more people to take action? With Vern Grubinger, Extension Professor, University of Vermont., and Coordinator, Northeast USDA SARE program.
Farm to Institution 101. 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
Farmers in search of diverse markets and institutions in search of regional foods seem like a match made in heaven – and they often are, eventually. But what does it take to get to that blissful state? Where do you start? Who needs to be at the table? Are there helpful terms, tips, and approaches to building solid communications and promising relationships from the outset? How about lessons learned about pitfalls and pratfalls to avoid? Come ready to learn and share with Northeast practitioners of cutting edge farm to institution initiatives. With Laura Edwards Orr, Associate Director, Red Tomato; Kathy Lawrence, Director of Strategic Development, School Food FOCUS; Christina Grace, Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) and Peter Allison, Farm to Institution New England (FINE).
International Trade Agreements: Threats to Regional Food? 9:30am - 10:45am.
We will describe specific ways that current international trade agreements could undermine healthy, fair and sustainable regional food systems in the U.S. and abroad, and the secrecy around the agreements. This fall and winter will be a critical time in those debates, with important opportunities for involvement coming up at the state, national and international levels. We’ll also talk about advocacy campaigns on trade and food systems and how the NESAWG community and the broader public (NESAWG participants' constituents) can be engaged in a productive manner. With Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Director of International Strategies, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP); and Kathy Ozer, Executive Director, National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC).
Calling All Land Grant Stakeholders! 9:30am - 10:45am.
Building on Kathy Ruhf's 2006 paper on Land Grant stakeholder input, this workshop seeks to illuminate the current state of affairs in gaining stakeholder input in Land Grants across the NE, to re-assert the role of our NESAWG community in proactively acting as stakeholders, and to address critical needs and opportunities for improved, regional collaborations and meeting the needs of the sustainable agriculture community. With Scott J. Peters, Co-Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life; Molly Anderson, Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, College of the Atlantic; and Linda Berlin, PhD, Extension Assistant Professor, Director-UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
It Takes a Network. 9:30am - 10:45am.
Presenters will review different types of networks, how networks function, their value, challenges and pitfalls. With plenty of time for discussion and troubleshooting. With Jeremy Emmi, Managing Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and former Director, Re-Amp Network; Kathy Ruhf, Sr. Fellow and former Coordinator, NESAWG.
Farm to College. 9:30am - 10:45am.
Colleges and University food operations are sourcing more local and regional food in response to rising campus demand. Combined with expanded food system courses, campus farms and student organizations, institutions of higher education in the Northeast are an emerging focal point for our regional food system. This workshop will highlight some recent initiatives in New England and New York to partner with campus food operations in efforts to source more regional food. We will also provide an opportunity for participants to discuss new trends, challenges and opportunities for collaboration. With Peter Allison, Coordinator, Farm-to-Institution New England (FINE); Riley Neugebauer, Farm to College Project Manager, FINE; Chris Grace, Farm-to-Institution New York State; Drew Love, Real Food Challenge; and Jennifer Porter, University of Vermont.
Regional vs. Local: Communicating to Your Market. 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
Many of us are working hard to create local markets for local product, yet the regional marketplace is increasingly important to create a vibrant and sustainable food system in the Northeast. This session will explore some of the methods that are being employed to develop a regional market concept -- that simultaneously help to strengthen local food systems. It will also explore how local and regional brands do and could interact. NOFA Vermont will discuss a tiered buying approach they are developing for institutional markets, Vermont Agency of Agriculture will talk about importance of regional markets for Vermont growers, and Red Tomato will share their work in developing and communicating to regional markets. This session will include brief presentations by Chelsea Lewis, VT Agency of Agriculture; Abbie Nelson, NOFA VT; and Sue Futrell, Red Tomato; followed by a robust discussion with all participants. Facilitated by Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato; and Erica Campbell, Vermont Farm to Plate.
Stronger Food Policy Councils, Stronger Food Policy. 9:30am - 10:45am.
The Northeast Region has nearly 50 local and state food policy councils working to strengthen their food systems through public policy. This workshop will review their performance and "lessons learned" in order to harness the power of all Northeast food policy councils to shape the direction of their food systems. Mark Winne, a long-time food policy council expert will lead the session. He will be joined by several of the region's leading food policy council practitioners.
Urban Agriculture: Its Value in the Northeast. 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
Stay tuned; more info soon.
Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast: Focus on Communities. 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
News and findings from this 5-year, 12-state project that is examining whether regional food can enhance food security and offer benefits to producers and others in the supply chain. This year, the workshop will feature our work with local communities in 5 urban and 3 rural locations across the Northeast. Workshop presenters are members of the EFSNE Project Team, including Kathy Ruhf, Senior Fellow, NESAWG and EFSNE Project Outreach Team Leader; Kate Clancy, food system consultant and EFSNE Project Deputy Director; Anne Palmer, Program Director, Food Communities and Public Health Program, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University, and EFSNE Project Consumption Team Leader; and Linda Berlin, Director, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont and EFSNE Project -- Consumption, Education and Outreach Teams.
Best Practices for Producer-only Farmers Markets: Are Your Polices & Procedures in Line with your Mission? 3:45pm - 5:00pm. In an effort to strengthen farmers markets nationwide and in the northeast region, the national Farmers Market Coalition has been working with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) researching effective internal policies that uphold integrity at farmers markets to ensure that they meet their customers’ expectations of ‘local.’ Learn about specific policies and protocols in place at some of the nation’s most successful producer-only farmers markets including the Ithaca Farmers Market –producer only since 1973, and how you can better align your organization’s policies with its mission to cultivate a local food economy. This session is geared toward farmers market managers, boards and organizers. Presentation and roundtable discussion facilitated by Monika Roth, FMC board member, and extension educator, CCE Tompkins County, NY.
Fracking, Farms and Food. 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
Modern gas drilling is associated with harm to agriculture and food production, health and climate in several NESAWG region states. Yet the gas industry continues to prevail with its message that hydrofracking is economically beneficial for farmers. This session details the risks and outcomes, and asks: What degree of risk and harm is acceptable in order to obtain energy? Who is being asked to sacrifice and who is profiting? We will explore ideas and opportunities for regional collaboration with those working in the trenches of farming, science, and advocacy. With Dr. Michelle Bamberger, Veterinarian and Author, The Real Cost of Fracking; Wes Gillingham, NYS Farmer and co-founder and Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper; Stephen Cleghorn, PA Farmer; and Hilary Baum, Founder, Chefs for the Marcellus and the Baum Forum.
What's Sea Got to Do With It? 3:45pm - 5:00pm.
What's the sea got to do with the food and farm movement? Whether used as fertilizer, animal feed, or direct human consumption, seaFOOD is everywhere but in our food system conversations. New England is the first US region to recognize sustainable fisheries, livelihoods and communities parallel to the sustainable farm and food movement on land, by including SEAfood in its food systems planning vision. Discuss how creative collaborations, visualizing and including seafood in the conversation, have increased -- and can further increase -- our collective power for food systems change in the northeast. With Brett Tolley, Northwest Atlantic Marine Fisheries Alliance (NAMA); Tom Kelly, Food Solutions New England; Brandy Brooks, Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness; Diana Robinson, Food Chain Workers Alliance and Restaurant Opportunity Center, Stacia Clinton, Health Care Without Harm; and Drew Love, Real Food Challenge.
Building Your Advocacy Toolbox: Strategies For Successful Organizing On Federal Food And Farm Policy. 3:45pm - 5:00pm. Looking at some farm bill issues key to the Northeast region, a current policy advocate provides perspectives from the Hill, and how to get our voices heard with federal policymakers in order to build a stronger and more sustainable food and farming system. Specific organizing and advocacy strategies will be discussed, along with an overview of the current federal farm policy landscape. With Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.