2018 Pre-conferences


Pre-conferences are put on by our community partners and require a separate ticket. Many cap the number of participants. You can learn more about ticketing by visiting our registration page. Most are held on Thursday but some, like Stretch for Collaboration, begin on Wednesday. 


We post information as we receive it. If you do not see the full details, please check back soon. Got a question? Email us at conference@nesawg.org.

West Philly Urban FArm Tour

Time: 9am-2pm

Location: Meeting at the hotel

Cost: $40

Join us a we journey through the streets of West Philly to visit an oasis of gardens and farms. These growing spaces are located in marginalized communities and serve as places of gathering, healthy food, activism, and opportunity to connect to the earth and connect with each other. Our featured farms are led by people of color. They each have a unique approach towards food justice and a special part in helping Philadelphia become a more equitable and food secure city. Farm tour will conclude with a communal tree planting and lunch.  


Chris Bolden Newsome, comes from a family with deep roots in farming.  “Growing food goes back at least 400 years before me,” says Chris. “We always kept that connection alive.” With over a decade of farm experience, Chris carries on the family tradition as the Farm Manager at Bartram’s Community Farm and Food Resource Center in Philadelphia.  Raised in a social justice household by adults who believed they should leave the earth better than they found it, Chris forged his own unique connection between social justice and food as a young adult.  “I started to see that farming could be a tool for organizing,” he says. “I thought about all the ways I could help move people forward, particularly people of African descent - the folks I belong to.”

Ty Holmberg is Co-Director at Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden.Since graduating from Muhlenberg College with a BA in environmental studies, Ty has had extensive expereince in youth development, food justice, and education reform. Previous to his work as one of the founding directors of the Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden, he served for ten years with the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Community Partnerships as Director of Health Promotion and Director of the West Philadelphia based Sayre Community School.   He has also spent time in the classroom as Philadelphia Teaching Fellow and Philadelphia School District science teacher, as well as two years of national service as a member of Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps, and a teaching fellow at the esteemed Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colorado



​Alkebu-Lan Marcus was born and raised in Philadelphia. "Key" has been involved in activism and community-based organizing for nearly 5 years which has shown and taught him a lot. He has studied different methods to help ease the struggle that oppressed people experience daily on a local, national and global level. Throughout his experiences he has come to understand the importance of food access and food security. About 3 years ago Alkebu-Lan decided to get more involved with urban agriculture; from volunteering, reading, touring and observing. Now that Key is a  part of the community at Mill Creek, he works to apply his thoughts, curiosity and creative ideas to benefit the community at large. His end goal is to be able to teach himself and others how to live more sustainably with each other and the earth.


Ewan and Malaika Gilpin are the co-founders and co-creators of the One Art Community Center. Ewan grew up in rural Jamaica. Farming and sustainable living were a part of his upbringing. The water used in the home was gathered at the river and there wasn't electricity, so everyone lived in the natural rhythm of the earth. He has continued to farm and now raises fish, chickens, ducks and bees. He is also a construction artist and is currently building Tiny Houses. He utilizes his skills and applies them to his authentic ways of building sustainably and living with the land.  Malaika is an educator and organizer. In addition to co-managing One Art, she is the NESAWG Conference Manager and part of the leadership of Soil Generation.  She finds great joy working, growing and blossoming with other urban farmers. She loves her jobs and the people she has the honor of serving.


​Nykisha Madison-Keita is a woman, wife and mother who believes in living life authentically. She is committed to growing food sustainably. Nykisha is the Farm Manager at Urban Tree Connection's Neighborhood Foods Farm. Although she believes that everyone is responsible for growing their own food she has decided to stand in the gap for those who lack land accessibility or who may not have the awareness of the importance in doing so. Her passion is providing high quality food in places where there is limited food access. Sustainable community led-farmers markets is a bridge to food justice and she does her part by bringing high quality produce to food insecure neighborhoods. Urban Tree Connection's aim is to build a local sustainable community-driven food and land systems in Haddington that promotes cooperation, democratic participation, and equity. We believe that these systems should uphold the dignity of all people, beyond food and green space access and towards self-determining practices that engage community in governing resources together to meet the collective needs of the
entire community.

Nykisha is the first African American woman to be a Steering Committee member of PA WAgN (Women Agricultural Network). She also serves on The Food Trust community advisory committee. She uses her power and influence to promote a healthier lifestyle for her community and is committed in making quality food accessible for those in food insecure neighborhoods especially Haddington. "Growing food is political it is the most liberating thing I've ever done. Using a sustainable farmer more = needing a doctor less." Food Justice for all!


Building Food and Farm Policy from the ground up

Working collectively to advance food and farm policies by and for our communities

October 25th, 2018, 10 AM to 4:30 PM

Price: $30

*Includes lunch

Location: Skyline Room, 4th Floor, Parkway Central Library,1901 Vine Street

How does public policy affect your work, community, and well-being? How can you help shape policy at the federal, state, and local levels so that the needs of your communities are met? This pre-conference will bring together advocacy, community, and policy leaders in a day-long collaborative session. We will cover why equitable food and agriculture policy is important, how policies get made, how to influence elected officials, and how to develop and implement community-driven food and farm policy.

The focus of the training will be the federal “Farm Bill,” a massive package of farm and food legislation that affects not just farmers, but all eaters across the country. We will also, however, discuss other federal policy concerns, as well as engagement at state and local levels. Participants will get the chance to network, strategize, and share their needs with other advocates for regional and national farm and food policy change. We will leave with a plan for catalyzing grassroots power into community-driven policy change at the federal, state, and local levels.

This program is presented in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia's Culinary Literacy Center as part of the Good Food for All program series designed to build skills, strategies, and community among people facing and fighting food insecurity.   

This pre-conference has been planned by:

Kirtrina Baxter, Organizer, Soil Generation

Reana Kovalcik, Associate Director for Communications and Development, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Qiana Mickie, Executive Director, Just Food

Lorette Piccano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition

Nicole Sugerman, Policy Associate, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Ariana Taylor-Stanley, Northeast Regional Organizer, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and American Farmland Trust

Ruth Tyson, Coalitions Coordinator, Good Food For All

Suzanna Urminska, Culinary Literacy Coordinator, Culinary Literacy Center, Parkway Central Library


Supporting Black and Brown Leadership: How to center your work on those most impacted

Time: 10:00am-1:00pm

Location: At the hotel

Price: $30

What does it mean to be accountable to communities most impacted? Does your organization truly live up to the term "food justice"? How do we support just transitions within the food system to create the food system of the future? During our pre-conference session we will unearth many of the historic and current racial issues embedded in our food system and look to solutions being planted around the country.


Soil Generation is a Black and Brown-led grassroots, member-based coalition of 30 activist gardeners, farmers and individuals, representing community-based organizations, working to ensure people of color obtain long-term, community control of land and food. We work within our communities across the city to secure access to the resources necessary to determine how the land is used, address community health concerns, grow food and improve the environment. We reach these goals through relationship building, honoring culture, community education, organizing, activism and advocacy - what we call “A People’s Agroecology.




Stretch Collaboration: How to Work With People You Don't Agree with or Trust

A pre-conference offered by Reos Partners, the Farming and Food Narrative Project, and NESAWG

Wednesday, October 24, 1-5 p.m., and 7:00pm - 9:00pm (optional - see below), and continuing on Thursday, October 25, 8:30-11:30 a.m.Location: Both Wednesday sessions at The Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square (walking distance from the Philadelphia 201 Hotel); Thursday session 8:30am will be at the Philadelphia 201 Hotel.
Cost: $95/person
Participation limited to 30

What does it take for us to stretch into difficult collaboration?

Many of us have come to understand that we need to reach out to new allies and partners if we’re going to make progress on the challenges we face. But real collaboration is often much more difficult than we expect. Maybe these new partners think differently from us; maybe there is a history of distrust; maybe we suspect there are hidden agendas.

This workshop will be a deep dive into the challenges and practices of “stretch collaboration.” We will explore what makes this approach different from conventional collaboration and what new actions are required of us to stretch into this new way of working.  

In this hands-on seminar you will learn how to:

  • Recognize when (and why) it makes sense to enter a “stretch collaboration”
  • Understand why it is necessary to create the space for both dialoguing and fighting
  • Work with multiple answers and problems
  • Use experimentation as strategy
  • Step fully into the situation as a co-creator (of both the current situation and the unrealized possibilities)

Wednesday evening, 7:00pm-9:00pm, participants are invited to participate in an (optional) exploratory case study: what would it look like to apply Stretch Collaboration to the Chesapeake Bay area? Members of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network will provide the background content as we explore how a network could begin to think and plan for this approach.   

This course is based on Adam Kahane’s recently published book, Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree With or Like or Trust and the work of Reos Partners. It will be a hands-on workshop for people who are actively engaged in collaboration projects. We recommend teams of 2-4 people from the same organisation, project, or partnership attend in order to maximize the opportunity to build this capacity (though individuals are also welcome to register).


Lead presentation and facilitation by: Ian Prinsloo, Reos Partners
Co-facilitation by: Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato, and Farming and Food Narrative Project

Reos Partners is an international social enterprise that helps people move forward together on their most mportant and intractable issues. Reos works with grassroots/civil society organizations, governments, and corporations on challenges such as education, health, food, energy, environment, development, justice, security, and peace.

Farming and Food Narrative Project is a collaboration among agricultural scientists, social scientists, and practitioners to use social science methodology and research to create and disseminate an inclusive narrative about sustainable farming that helps people collaborate more effectively.


Framing for a More Effective Conversation

A pre-conference offered by the FrameWorks Institute, the Farming and Food Narrative Project, and NESAWG

Thursday, October 25, 1-5 p.m.
Cost: $65/person

What is a Frame, and how does Framing lead to more effective communication?

The national conversation about sustainable food and farming can quickly become polarized and unproductive. People see “others” as the enemy, rather than as potential allies with a different opinion and experience. We end up with a public conversation about food and farming in which complicated science and sophisticated growing practices are reduced to oversimplified versions of good versus bad, either/or, all or nothing. Different sides of a disagreement each bring their expert evidence to a debate that can best be described as dueling facts or dueling science. Does this sound familiar?

As a result, practitioners and policy-makers don’t collaborate freely across differences; citizens as voters and consumers are confused–they can’t sort out competing claims and make intelligent choices; and everyone loses the ability to rally around a common vision of profitable farms that produce healthy, safe, and affordable food for all, using environmentally sound practices.

‘Changing the conversation’ is a vital part of changing structures, policies, and systems, and oftentimes the conversation must change first. Framing (or reframing) is one way to change a public conversation.

In this workshop you will be introduced to Strategic Frame Analysis®, an approach to reframing social issues pioneered by the FrameWorks Institute of Washington, D.C. This process of collaboration between physical scientists and communications scientists has developed and amplified better science narratives about issues ranging from early brain development to climate change. You will learn the step-by-step process that FrameWorks uses to go from problem identification to new narrative.

The Farming & Food Narrative Project is currently partnering with FrameWorks to create an inclusive narrative about sustainable farming.

In this workshop you will see Framing processes in action, using live examples from the food and farm sector (through the eyes of the Farming & Food Narrative Project), and from the current experience of other social issues.


Lead presentation and facilitation by: Jessica Moyer, FrameWorks Institute
Co-facilitation by: Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato, and Farming and Food Narrative Project

FrameWorks Institute is an independent research organization comprised of Ph.D.-level social scientists whose primary work is to translate the views of scientists to the public.

The Farming and Food Narrative Project is a collaboration among agricultural scientists, social scientists, and practitioners to use social science methodology and research to create and disseminate an inclusive narrative about sustainable farming that helps people collaborate more effectively.