It Takes a Region Conference - 2015

Conference Main Page | Conference Schedule
Pre-Conference Sessions | Plenaries
Workshops | Discussion & Work Groups
Mixers & Meal Discussions
Keynote Speaker Shirley Sherrod
Presenter Bios | Bookshelf | Sponsorships
Session Resources | Conference Recap


Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015

Policy Leaders Roundtable
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Policy Leaders Roundtable brings together diverse farm and food policy leaders across sectors in the Northeast Region. The Policy Leaders Roundtable will be identifying a Federal Policy Agenda and develop policy strategies with an intentional lens on access, equity, and race.

Session Organizers: Amy Little, NESAWG, with help from the Roundtable Advisory Group


Regional Markets for Forest-Grown Shiitake Mushrooms
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Forest-grown shiitakes have high value for growers but require years of intensive management to reach full production and access to reliable markets. Buyers, particularly restaurants and food co-ops, have indicated that they need a larger, more reliable supply which single growers have not yet been able to produce or guarantee.  At current mushroom production levels, producers face challenges in maintaining profitable retail and wholesale pricing. This session will share the results of a USDA SARE market assessment concerning appropriate mix of marketing, aggregation and distribution channels that will cooperatively advance their financial success, including development of a Northeast Forest Grown Mushroom Network. Potential locations for aggregation and distribution hubs will be discussed. Discussion about profitability is not complete without a look at wages and labor. We’ll share ideas about challenges and opportunities for addressing fair labor practices, including the possibility of gaining a value-added seal of approval as a type of fair trade label or “Forest Grown” with Certified Naturally Grown.

This session is designed for growers and small-scale farmers, local food hub managers, market managers, value-added experts, business planners  and other related professionals.

Session Organizer: Allen Matthews, Chatham University


Strengthening Rural-Urban Linkages to Support Rural Economic Development: The Case of Re-Localized Food Systems (Session Full)

Since 2009 the USDA has funded over 4,185 local and regional food system initiatives (>$574 Million). These initiatives are primarily concentrated in urban areas where there is a sizable, growing market for local foods. They are widely understood to support communities, economies, and farmers; however, there have been few, if any, studies that holistically and empirically assess the impacts of local food markets on both urban and rural communities. This project, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Credit East, and the USDA’s Economic Research Service, uses   GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets as a study to examine the rural and regional community economic impacts of these urban markets..

Session Organizer: Becca Jablonski, Colorado State University


NEFKE Governance Group Meeting (Private Meeting)