2018 Sessions


Identity Caucuses - Thursday, 7:30-9:30pm

The People of Color Caucus (PoCC) is an annual gathering specifically for people of color attendees to meet informally and network over light refreshments. For some, it serves as an introduction to NESAWG and for others, a time to meet and reconnect with colleagues and friends from across the region. The PoCC offers a unique opportunity to share with one another highlights from our respective work as well as our movement building efforts to lift up equity and to build allies, comrades and accomplices within our various networks. Anyone who identifies as a person of color is welcome to attend the caucus. Location: Salon 3/4

The White Caucus provides a space where white-identified people can share struggles and challenge each other to build capacity for allyship/accompliceship with People of Color. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the best ways to show up, as white people, at NESAWG's conference. This session will be facilitated by members of the Soil Generation Solidarity Group. Location: Salon 5/6

Youth Caucus - Friday 4:30 - 5:30

Youth leadership is one of the many vital characteristics of non-profit organizations in the food justice movement. Youth empowering each other and leading one another to a better future is encourage continuously throughout these youth programs. This caucus provides youth with the space to facilitate a peer-to-peer exchange and ways in which they can improve upon youth leadership and youth empowerment in the work that they do.


Special Session -  Philadelphia Culinary Literacy Program, FRIDAY 4:30PM-5:50PM 

Location: Free Library of Philadelphia, Culinary Literacy Center, 1901 Vine Street, 4th Floor

Cost: $10. This event requires separate registration. Purchase tickets here.

Inspired by quick Chinese greens cooking methods, chef Valerie Erwin of EAT Café will demonstrate a favorite collards recipe rich in nutrients and flavor. Enjoy tastings and leave with recipes featuring a whole new take on seasonal cooking greens from your garden, grocery, or pantry. This Culinary Literacy Center program is presented in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger as part of our Good Food for All program series designed to build skills, strategies, and community among people facing and fighting food insecurity. This program is open to both conference attendees and the general public.

Presenters: Valerie Erwin, EAT Cafe


Tour - The Common Market, Friday 4:45pm-6:00pm

Come visit The Common Market's Philadelphia-based facility in northeast Philadelphia on Friday 10/26 at 4:45! You'll tour the 76,000 sq ft facility and learn about their model, mission, and Mid-Atlantic food distribution operations which serves New York City to Washington DC from this warehouse. You must find your own transportation to the facility, and Uber or Lyft is the easiest way to arrive. The address is 428 East Erie Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19147.

This event is free but requires separate registration. Please register here.


Film Screening - Baltimore's Strange Fruit, Friday 8:15pm-10:00pm

"Baltimore's Strange Fruit: A Story of Food Apartheid and the Struggle for Sovereignty" is a documentary film produced by Black Yield Institute, directed by Eric Jackson and Maddie Hardy. The film explores the intersections of food, land, and race and class politics through personal narrative and social commentary. The film journeys through the historical woes and triumphs of people of African Descent within the food system, while highlighting contemporary efforts to address the complex nature of food apartheid in Baltimore. At the end of the film, there will be panel discussion on the content and envision next steps for a more equitable food system in the Northeast.


special Discussion - Race, Equity, and Liberation in the Food system and Sustainable Agriculture Movement, Saturday 7:15am-8:00am

Location: Liberty Ballroom

During this breakfast session, we will explore the important work of de-centering and confronting white superiority culture in our work and lives. Work for racial justice in our movements and food systems cannot be effective if it overlooks the power and privilege side of inequity. We will consider elements of white superiority culture and how to move from exclusion or superficial inclusion to “collaborative solidarity” in our work. And we will get an embodied taste of what liberation might look and feel like in our food systems.

Hosted by Food Solutions New England, facilitated by Curtis Ogden, Interaction Institute for Social Change and Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting


Workshop Sessions 

Workshops Session 1


CommuniTree Art - Liberty Ballroom C, Session 1

Using a tree as a guiding metaphor, youth activists and land stewards will build out our collective CommuniTree. Divided into four parts: Roots, Trunk, Branches and Leaves - each representing both a personal connection to the food justice movement as well as what we see needs change in our immediate communities and the more pervasive institutional structures that food justice faces.

Audience: This is a youth led collective art project, all who believe that art is a wonderful means of activism are welcome!

Presenters: The Youth Food Justice Network


Navigating the dynamics of supporting food chain workers on food policy councils

Ensuring fair labor conditions for food chain workers is a crucial component of a sustainable and equitable food system. Rural and urban food policy councils (FPCs) have an important role in raising awareness of the value of food chain workers and the issues they face, with the goal of increasing the economic and social wellbeing of workers, families, and communities. Very few FPCs, however, include labor issues among their top priorities. This session will explore different ways in which FPCs and other advocates working on local, state, regional and tribal food policy could support food chain workers as part of their efforts, as well as how to overcome potential challenges of doing so.

Audience: Food policy council representatives, Food policy advocates working at local, state, regional, or tribal levels, Food and agricultural workers, Government officials, planners, community/economic development staff, Community members, Nonprofit professionals. Intermediate

Raychel Santo, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Suzanne Adely, Food Chain Workers Alliance

Dawn Plummer, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council


Leveraging Networks for Food System Change: Improving equity through alignment and partnerships

Join leaders from three state, regional and national farm to institution networks to explore how networks are emerging and adapting to meet the changing needs of their members and leverage food system change. Betsy Rosenbluth from the Vermont FTS Network, Peter Allison from Farm to Institution New England, and Anupama Joshi from the National FTS Network, discuss their approaches to some key challenges, including: building connections from program work to policy action; connecting the institutional sector to broader food system change, and integrating food access and farm viability objectives in a strategic agenda. Bring your voice, stories and questions to this interactive conversation.

Audience: Food System Advocates, Policy Makers, Supply Chain businesses. Intermediate

Peter Allison, Farm to Institution New England

Betsy Rosenbluth, Vermont Farm to School Network

Anupama Joshi, National Farm to School Network

Lacy Stephens, National Farm to School Network


Opportunities for Engaging Healthcare

Across the country, hospitals are partnering with community-based organizations to support healthy food access and local food production. This session will introduce the audience to 1) the Community Health Needs Assessment process of private, non-profit hospitals; 2) how community-based organizations can partner with hospitals to increase access to healthy foods; and 3) how anchor institutions can leverage their purchasing power to support a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable regional food system. Participants will learn about healthy food initiatives at a Philadelphia hospital and how these initiatives are being implemented through a lens of equity and inclusion.

Audience: Non-profit organizations working with low income communities, food and nutrition service directors, public health professionals, food hubs, producer groups. Intermediate

Kristen Markley, Health Care Without Harm

Chinwe Onyekere, Main Line Health/ Lankenau Medical Center

Jennifer Malkoun, Greener Partners

Jillian Dy, The Common Market Mid-Atlantic

Gary Donnelly, Aramark at Lankenau Medical Center


The Role of "Regional" in Resilient and Equitable Food Systems

A group exploration of regional food systems (RFS): how can regional approaches better meet a population's food needs and promote racial equity, diversity, security and sustainability? Participants will "ground truth" concepts and applications of RFS and make recommendations based on their own experiences and perspectives that will be integrated into NESAWG's working paper on this topic.

Audience: This session welcomes all audiences, from on-the-ground practitioners to academics, at all levels of experience and expertise. (Note: we checked "intermediate" below because "all" was not an option.) We hope for multiple perspectives. Intermediate

Kathryn Ruhf, NESAWG (emerita)

Kate Clancy, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Increasing food access through student leadership in community schools

This workshop will address the following learning objectives in a presentation format:

1.) Participants will learn about a high school driven program that partners with schools, community centers and the University of Pennsylvania to provide a low food access community with fresh, affordable produce.

2.) Participants will understand the levels of implementing change in schools from the context of a school garden food security project.

3.) Participants will brainstorm and discuss how to address multilevel projects.

Audience: Youth, educators and those with university affiliation. Beginner

Justin Royer, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania

Eric Sherman, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania

Representatives from the "Roots and G-Squad Crews"


Cultivating Living Economies: Urban Ag + Cooperative Business Economies through a Just Transition Framework

Through exploration of UTC and PACA’s engagement on studying co-ops, this session is designed to support participants in exploring land stewardship, local/community control of food systems, and the cooperative business model through the just transition framework. Participants will be invited to engage in an activity to imagine how communities can move towards a “living economy”.

Doing so presents new questions, challenges, and opportunities as organizations introduce new and lift up historically relevant strategies communities of color and poor people have used to survive and thrive. This session will explore these efforts and invite participants to imagine and examine new ones.

Audience: Open, but most relevant to folks organizing, teaching, farming, designing/implementing programming, creating/sustaining cooperatives, and advocates of just social policies that advance the plight of working-class communities of color. Folks attached to organizations or collectives that center historically marginalized leadership. Intermediate

Noelle Warford,Urban Tree Connection

Jamila Medley, Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance


Organizing for Better Policy and Change in our Food System: Northeast Perspectives

How do we organize for food systems change? Join Ariana Taylor-Stanley (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition), Nicole Sugerman (NESAWG), and Rafael Aponte and Sophie Ackoff (National Young Farmers Coalition) to explore tools and strategies for enabling a better, more equitable food system through policy change. Learn about both community-based and grasstops organizing work that is making headway in issues from local zoning to the federal Farm Bill. Leave with strategies for staying engaged and ideas for next steps.

Audience: People who might want to engage in advocacy work! Farmers, food systems practitioners, students, and others with a curiousity or cursory knowledge of policy- with an interest in learning more to take action in advocating for Farm Bill issues. Beginner

Sophie Ackoff, National Young Farmers Coalition

Rafael Aponte, Rocky Acres Community Farm / Central New York Young Farmers Coalition

Nicole Sugerman, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Ariana Taylor-Stanley, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition


Growing your organization and capacity with support from the Federal Government: how to access and leverage USDA resources

There are many programs, projects, and offices within Federal Government that can be leveraged to address issues around equity and access within the food system. One of the greatest challenges farmers and stakeholders must overcome is navigating the various agencies, programs, services and resources available through USDA. USDA can provide technical services, funding, and opportunities for advocacy. This session will provide explanations of programs, projects, offices and opportunities and guidance for navigation and troubleshooting. Learn from examples and gain insights from program participants, partners and recipients while networking and dialoguing with other organizations in attendance.

Audience: The conveners and speakers are very comfortable speaking with and in front of a variety of audiences, using specific but plain language, and focusing on accessibility and usability. All are welcome, but the focus is on service providers and stakeholders. Farmers who are engaged in community building would also benefit from this session. Intermediate

Sarah Campbell, FSA USDA

Ian Marvy, FSA USDA


Shared Authority: Youth Leadership on the Farm

How can organizations and businesses engage youth in meaningful work in the food system? Truly sharing authority between adults and young people in the food system in a production setting has unique challenges as well as powerful and transformational opportunities for youth leadership and shared authority. The LEAF Project, an organization that employs youth to do such work in the food system, presents the methods that allowed them to foster a culture of collaboration across ages throughout their model. Participants in the presentation will have an opportunity to brainstorm different strategies to increase shared authority in their organization or business.

Audience: Youth, small producers in urban or rural contexts, organizations that work with youth. Beginner

Dailah Mial, LEAF Project Inc

Caroline Berry, LEAF Project Inc

Elizabeth Lynch, LEAF Project Inc

Heidi Witmer, LEAF Project Inc


Workshops Session 2

Dairy Crisis in the Northeast: What's the current crisis and how can we help

Milk pricing is at record lows because of changing consumer habits, an oversupply of liquid milk, the market power of larger buyers, and a federal pricing structure that does not factor in the basic cost of production or living wages for farmers. Northeast dairy farmers are hit particularly hard by these factors and are selling their herds and filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate. Join us to learn more about the current crisis, how Northeast dairy farmers are impacted, and how you and your community can help transform the system that puts dairy farms and their cows in peril.

Audience: Consumers of yogurt, farmers of all kinds, policy advocates working locally and nationally, and everyone else. Expertise level needed

Lauren Melodia, Center for Agricultural Dev & Entrepreneurship

John King, National Dairy Producers Organization

Claudia Haar, Farmer

Arden Tewksbury, Farmer


Farming in a Changing Climate: The Relationship Between Agriculture and Climate Justice

Agriculture is unique in its position to climate change. Our farming system both contributes to, and has the possibility to assuage its impacts; all while being heavily affected by our changing climate. At the center of this are farmworkers and vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by its effects. The session will focus on the important intersection between our agricultural system and climate justice.

Audience: The session is for those that are interested in learning more about how they can address this problem of those with the least amount of power being the most impacted by negative externalities of our food system and climate change. We aim to provide insight to those who many know a little bit about climate justice to those that know nothing at all. Intermediate

Jessica Culley, CATA - The Farmworkers' Support Committee

Katherine Rapin, Edible Philly

Betsy Nicholas, Waterkeepers Chesapeake/Fair Farms

Ava Richardson, Food Equity Adviser


Land & Food Sovereignty Praxis: The Case of Cherry Hill (Baltimore, MD)

In this session, facilitators will share the ways the concept of "food sovereignty" frames the organizing efforts to transform a local food environment in Baltimore. The session will explore perspectives on the histories and trajectories of food apartheid, including housing policy and implications of political, social, and economic shifts. Facilitators will also share the processes of current transformation, highlighting the flow of change and the challenges along the way.  

Audience: Community-based practitioners, other food system workers, and lovers of history. Beginner

Eric Jackson, Black Yield Institute

Sache Jones, Cherry Hill Food Coop

Faith Cunningham, Cherry Hill Food Co-op/Cherry Hill Urban Community Garden


Building Diverse Friendships

At NESAWG we work to move our food system in a more equitable direction. and movements always begin with community. In our food system there is a lot of diversity which can be a barrier because ow do you begin a relationship with somebody completely unlike yourself? Relationships have been built in years, but they can be built in hours. This workshop lays some groundwork for working through the barriers diversity can bring and uplift the strengths within

Audience: This is geared towards everybody! The point is to get as much diversity as we can in a room! Beginner

Birch Kinsey, Massachusetts Avenue Project

Amida Adam, Mass Ave Project


Building Community Power and Leadership in the Food System: Lessons from D.C.

Produce Plus is a program where qualifying DC residents can get up to $20 a week to spend on produce at farmers’ markets. The Market Champion program employs Produce Plus customers to connect their neighbors to the program and help create the vibrant neighborhood farmers’ markets that customers deserve.

DC Greens’ Community Advocates program works toward a city where changes to food policy are led by those most impacted by food injustice, by helping people build the tools they need to create change.

This session will discuss the challenges and successes of D.C. Greens’ efforts to shift power to community members and build community leadership into our program and policy work.

Audience: Food access program practitioners, food policy advocates, non-profit organization leaders, outreach and/or engagement workers. Intermediate

Maisha Williams, DC Greens

Asha Carter, DC Greens

Winnie Huston, DC Greens

Rose Williams, DC Greens


Talking About Food Systems: Change the Frame, Change the Story, Change the Outcome

No matter what part of the food system you work in, the way you talk about it matters. This session, designed for either those new to food system work or those wanting to understand the fertile edges of food system communications, will start with foundational food "framing" concepts but then break into workshopping the narrative "arc" for your own organization. What is the new story you're trying to tell? Does it have the power to change the way people think and act? Does it inspire people to actively participate in the creation of their own food future? Audience participation required and take-home actions can be expected for charting a more effective communications path.

Audience: Designed for either those new to food system work or those wanting to get better with their food system communications. Beginner

Lisa M. Fernandes, Food Solutions New England

Charissa Zapata

Joy Gary


Digging in the Farm Bill: Using a Racial Equity Lens in the Farm Bill

This session will encourage participants to apply a racial equity lens to the Farm Bill. What are some of the racial inequities built into the Farm Bill? What are some of the challenges and opportunities for the sustainable agriculture movement and advocates - both POC and white - to advance racial equity in the upcoming Farm Bill? Utilizing this lens, how can we connect our advocacy efforts within our region to federal policy?

Audience: Open to all who are working on federal level policy & advocacy or are interested in finding out more. Beginner to advanced are welcome!

Qiana Mickie, Just Food

Marla Karina Larrave, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)


Strengthening Fairness in the Labor Practices of Northeast Farms

While family-scale farms struggle for economic viability, many farmers want employees to feel like valued members of the farm team. What would it take to make this a reality? This workshop will present analysis of the state of the farm economy with data on farm pay, and share details of a joint multi- year project by the Agricultural Justice Project and the Northeast Organic Farming Association to assist organic and agroecological farmers in improving labor fairness. Together we will hash out what fairness means on a farm, urban or rural and whether there is any hope that farms could make this claim. Speakers are farmers with long histories of activism for social justice in agriculture.  

Audience: Farmers, farmworkers, farm project organizers, farmer educators. Intermediate

Elizabeth Henderson, NOFA and Agricultural Justice Project

Louis Battalen, NOFA and Agricultural Justice Project

Cruz Marquez, CATA - El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas


Workshops Session 3

Farmworkers Organizing for Racial Justice

There are an estimated 3 million farmworkers in the United States who do not have the right to organize under federal law and are denied some of the most basic labor protections. Few states have passed legislation protecting farmworkers who face high rates of exploitation and abuse. This reality is part of the racist legacy of the United States. This panel seeks to provide a closer look at the struggles of agricultural workers in our region and how their movement intersects with the vision to transform our food system around the principles of racial justice.

Audience: Food Worker and Food Policy Advocates, Community Advocates. Expert

Suzanne Adely, Food Chain Workers Alliance

Jessica Culley, CATA (Farmworker Support Committee, NJ)

Jose Chapa, Rural Migrant Ministry


Milk: Thoughts on Health, the Environment, Cow Well-Being and Farmers of the Northeast

The milkshed of the Northeast is centered on fluid milk sales into the Northeast Corridor. Fluctuations in milk sales in Philadelphia, NYC and Boston drive Northeast farmer pay prices up or down. Consumer issues related to milk will be addressed by panelists with audience input welcomed. Nina Teicholz, author of the New York times bestseller, "The Big Fat Surprise" will lead a discussion on saturated fats and public health. An award-winning large animal veterinarian, Dr. Don Hoglund, DVM, will talk on family farms and dairy cow well-being. Farm leader, Michael Eby, will update attendees on recent changes in Northeast milk markets and the impacts on dairy farmers of the region.

Audience: Conference attendees interested in milk as a regional food for the Northeast Corridor. Beginner

Lorraine Lewandrowski, Honeydale Farm

Dr. Donald Hogland, Veterinarian

Michael Eby, National Dairy Producers Organization

Nina Teicholz, The Nutrition Coalition


Art & Movement Building: Strategies for Food Systems Change

Art is a universal human language, it encourages self-reflection and emotion, and offers opportunities for people to share and express and process the human experience. Too often, if art is incorporated in food systems work, it is towards marketing and superficial appearances. Engaging artists, the arts and creativity into movement work is essential to inciting passion and understanding about food systems and equity issues.

In partnership with artists who are engaged in social change movements, workshop attendees will be encouraged to think about ways they can partner with artists in their own communities to strengthen the movement, and in turn support local artists.

Audience: Our session is geared towards everyone/anyone interested in food systems change and movement building. Beginner

Rebekah Williams, Gerldine Wilson, and Birch Kinsey

Paris Henderson, United Melanin Society

Lorna C. Hill, Ujima Company, Inc.

Frederick Wright Jones, Muhlenberg College

Erin Sharkey, Free Black Dirt


Movement building, collaboration, and political access in the Northeast

Did you know that the heads of the agriculture departments from all fifty states get together each year to set policy priorities, learn together, and go on field trips? And, that the Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of Agriculture from all the northeastern states have their own association that also meets annually for the same purposes? In 2018, NESAWG has partnered with national funders to bring a cohort of regional practitioners and advocates to both the national conference and the regional conference, and will be continuing this effort for the Northeast in the years to come. At this session we'll hear from some of those advocates about their experiences at the conferences, as well as continue planning for future years and brainstorm ideas on how best to capitalize on this unique regional collaboration opportunity.

Audience: tbd

Adam Leibowitz, Community Food Funders

Christine James, John Merck Fund

Peter Allison, Farm to Institution New England

Heidi Secord, Pennsylvania Farmers Union

Josie Porter Farm


Here's the Data; Let's Design the Solutions

Using data from a 2017 study commissioned by Team PA and the PA Department of Agriculture, this workshop will share the analyses that form the basis for upcoming strategic initiatives proposed by PDA. Led by Temple University's Fox faculty members responsible for the research, this session offers an introduction to Design Thinking. We will draw on the insights and experiences of attendees engaged in local food systems to create actionable solutions to relevant challenges in agriculture. While the study focused on PA agriculture, many of the markets trends and consumer insights are applicable to the food systems across the northeast region.  

Audience: A design thinking approach to problem solution works best with diverse participants. This session aims to enable all food system participants, i.e service providers, educators, farmers, producers, advocates, NGOs and even "eaters" to address an issue most relevant or challenging to them. Attendees will self-select their challenge. Intermediate

Marilyn Anthony, Temple University

Bill Kitsch, Ephrata National Bank

Michelle Histand, Temple University


Intersectionality and Health Outcomes: How Urban Agriculture Addresses Equity and Ethnicity in the Philadelphia Food System

Evidence-based research, which allows researchers to determine health outcomes by zip code and social determinants of health, exists for the City of Philadelphia. The presenter shall discuss urban agriculture efforts and initiatives in low-income neighborhoods and areas with large populations of people of color. We will explore answers to the question: How are equity and ethnicity related to access in the food system and the health outcomes for related demographic groups? She will present multiple solutions including culturally appropriate food access, the intersection of food choices, education and health outcomes as well as food distribution and growing efforts in Philadelphia County and how these efforts and findings might be shared with others.

Audience: The audience can range from professors, scholars, members of academia, farmers, community gardeners, employees of non-profits whose mission is food justice oriented, nutritionists, and other health care professionals to community members at large. Beginner

Michelle C. Lawson, M.S., M.H.R.M., M.B.A., J.D., Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)

Dorothy A. Cross, Penn State University Extension 

Kisha Elder, BSN, MSN, NP

Rohit Moghe, PharmD, MSPH, CDE, Thomas Jefferson University

Ana M. Negrón, MD


Connecting Food Literacy to Classrooms Through Farm-to-School

A growing initiative to bring farm-based curriculum to the classroom is mounting support in schools nationwide, but the impact of educating youth beyond basic nutrition to becoming food literate is proving to pay in dividends. Programs that teach farm-to-school lessons in conjunction with hands-on STEM activities have shown increased student comprehension and retention within scientific fields of learning, while heightening their understanding of key connections between the natural world and the community in which they live. This session will discuss the impact such programs have on student performance, as well as the impact they play in sustaining the overall health of those communities.

Audience: Youth educators looking to engage in food justice work, farmers and gardeners who wish to advance the adoption of sustainable practices through youth education programs, and anyone wishing to get involved in progressing the lives of youth towards a more just food system. Beginner

Brianna V D'Alessio, New Britain ROOTS

Carli Herz, New Britain ROOTS


The Future is Formalized: Raising the Farmer Training Bar with Registered Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have been a route to successful careers throughout history. Farmer training has lagged behind, suffering from inconsistency in compensation, education, and success among new farmers. Host farmers often lack the time, skills, or materials to administer a successful apprenticeship, leading to poor performance among trainees and burnout among hosts and apprentices. Third-party administered, registered apprenticeships offer a better way to train sustainable farmers, by providing hosts with the resources and support they need and by ensuring new farmers that they will receive fair compensation and necessary educational support to pursue farming as a career.

Audience: This session is geared toward, but not limited to those who are interested in all forms of farmer training, including non-profit educational farms, for-profit farms, incubator farms, environmental educators, and community farming organizations, as well as those seeking to pursue farming as a career. Intermediate

Dan Dalton, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

Aaron de Long, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)


Bridging the Gap: Building meaningful connections between local food leaders and the next generation

With so few Americans choosing agriculture as a profession, and the high average age of farmers, young people do not have many opportunities to see role models doing high quality, innovative work in the food system. The LEAF Project employs youth to do meaningful work in the food system, working alongside some of the best food professionals in South Central PA, and will present their successes in creating “alternative heroes” for youth.

Audience: Farmers, Restauranteurs, Organizations that work with youth in the food system. Intermediate

Brooks Miller, North Mountain Pastures

Lance Smith, The Millworks

Dailah Mial, LEAF Project Inc

Caroline Berry, LEAF Project Inc

Heidi Witmer, LEAF Project Inc


Workshops Session 4

Amplifying Student Voices: Leveraging the power of youth and universities to foster a just and sustainable food system

The Real Food Challenge leverages the power of youth and universities to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from conventional food sources and towards local and community-based, fair and ecologically sound and humane food sources. Students across the country have come together to demand and achieve widespread structural and societal change, by holding higher education accountable for their impact on the food system. This session’s panelists explore how creative partnerships, student advocacy, and an open minded chef have transformed a dining hall, student’s pallets, and our local food system.

Audience: Students, Institutions, distributors, anyone interested in getting to know more about farm to institution and local sustainable sourcing. Beginner

Katie McCrea, The Common Market

Lauren Sleeger, Sodexo

Alek Gulkewicz, Lehigh University, Real Food Challenge


Advancing the Rights of Farmworkers within a Sustainable Dairy Industry

The Milk with Dignity Program ensures the rights of dairy farmworkers through Worker-driven Social Responsibility model (WSR). This model is inspired by and modeled after the Fair Food Program which enlists the resources of food industry leaders to improve farm conditions by providing participating farmers a premium price for milk for those who agree to comply with the Code of Conduct. Last fall, community-based organization Migrant Justice signed an historic agreement with Ben & Jerry’s to implement the Milk with Dignity Program on dairy farms in the company’s supply chain in the Northeast. In 2018, the program has rolled out on over 70 dairy farms. This workshop will explain how the program works and update participants on the progress made so far.

Audience:  Dairy farmers, farmworkers, anyone interested in sustainability and social justice around dairy farms. Intermediate

 Abel Luna, Migrant Justice Organizer 

Rafaela Rodriguez, Milk with Dignity Standards Council

Vincent Morano, Milk with Dignity Standards Council


Radical Local-Only Retail

Stocking a store exclusively with food grown and produced locally is a radical retail approach to growing the local food market, offering a bridge between once-a-week farmers markets and grocery stores that carry little or no local food. Can local-only retail work as a business model? How does it fit into the mix for local producers? Do local-only stores help create local food converts, or are they catering to already convinced? Is there a role for this kind of radical retail in more communities throughout our region? Hear from operators of three such stores about their successes, challenges and plans for the future.

Audience: Anyone who eats or shops for food; farmers and local food producers interested in wholesaling to retailers; community organizers interested in the benefits and challenges of local food-only retail models as an approach to healthy food access; foodpreneurs interested in retail. Beginner

Renee Brooks Catacalos, Author of The Chesapeake Table: Your Guide to Eating Local

Chris and Sara Guerre, Maple Avenue Market

Veronica Cristo, Chesapeake's Bounty North Beach Market

Ann Karlen, Fair Food Philly; University of Vermont’s Food Hub Management Certificate Program


Flats Mentor Farm: a model for supporting successful immigrant & refugee farmers

Flats Mentor Farm, started in the early 80s, supports immigrant and refugee farmers with access to the land, infrastructure and marketing assistance needed to promote farming enterprises in this country. Flats Mentor farmers have built successful market strategies that prioritize the promotion and consumption of ethnic foods. The farm, a program of World Farmers, is based on a 70-acre parcel in Lancaster, MA. Hear from World Farmers staff about the kind of individualized support the program provides, some of the ethnic crops diverse communities are seeking, and the successful market systems in place to support the development of immigrant-led food enterprises.

Audience: Audience who is interested in learning and better understanding the farmer struggles, immigrant struggles, and the demand for ethnic crops in diverse communities. And, how we, as food system advocates, can support developing immigrant-led farm and food enterprises. Beginner

Jessy Gill, World Farmers


An Abundantly Good Partnership: Using Value-Added Products to Connect Dairy Farmers, Distributors, and Neighbors in Need

How can a block of Colby help take on challenges like food waste, the dairy crisis, and food insecurity? This session’s panelists will share the story behind a new upcycling initiative turning Pennsylvania dairy farmers’ surplus milk into quality cheese for food bank clients, funded by the retail sale of a line of locally produced cheese. We will follow the cheese from heifer to client and explore how creative partnerships, product innovation, and consumer engagement can help restore our food system. (And: you just might get a chance to sample some of that cheese yourself!)

Audience: Producers (especially in the dairy world), distributors, community organizations (especially hunger relief organizations), retailers; anyone working on issues around food insecurity and food waste. Beginner

Maire Dekle, The Common Market

Monika Crosby, Philabundance

Jacob F. Beiler, Sunset Farms

Amos Zimmerman, Dairy Pricing Association

Elizabeth Sanon, Philabundance


Growing collective power for Food Justice: How the Farm Alliance of Baltimore helps urban farmers do more together

Join a group of Baltimore urban farmers to hear about the power of collective action. As urban farmers we can often feel alone in the crowd, at the mercy of the competing agendas of many interests. Caving to some agendas can lead to unintended consequences such as displacement of existing communities. We must compete to sell our products in an impossible marketplace because there is always someone bigger than we are.  In Baltimore, a group of urban farmers combat this isolation by joining the Farm Alliance of Baltimore. We will share what can be achieved by placing our trust in each other, providing mutual help, and sharing information and resources to help all of us prosper.

Audience: Urban farmers, beginner farmers of all backgrounds, community organizers, scholars/researchers interested in farmer health, urban food production, organizational development, labor, policy, advocacy. Secondary audience: rural sustainability researchers/experts, folks who work in government, and urban land use & sustainability thinkers. Intermediate

Mariya Strauss, Farm Alliance of Baltimore

Denzel Mitchell, Strength 2 Love 2 Farm

Clayton Williams, Civic Works/Real Food Farm

Lavette Blue, The Greener Garden


Understanding the Legal Needs of Dairy Farmers in Crisis

Farmers are weathering the most severe economic downturn since the 1980s, enduring a multi-year slump in farm prices that has cut net farm income by 51% over the past five years. Dairy farmers are among the worst impacted, receiving the lowest prices they have seen since 2009, at levels far below their cost of production. The financial hardship these farmers endure come with legal challenges, particularly around bankruptcy, borrower rights, and the protection of family assets. This session will review key legal concerns facing dairy farms in crisis to better equip farmers and service providers in navigating difficult times.

Audience:  Expertise level needed

Stephen Carpenter, Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney at Farmers' Legal Action Group

Joe Schroeder, Farm Advocate, Farm Aid


Why should we get financially naked?

Audience: Farm owners and operators who want to improve their operations and are not afraid to suck less by learning from others in a completely open book manner. Expert

Sharing real business numbers makes us all nervous. We will share 4 real sets of financials from local farmers. We’ll talk about what it means to really share and grow from sharing our numbers with a non-competing group of peers. Let’s discuss how building multiple groups of 20 non-competing farmers and sharing everything in a structured format will enable our local supply chains to grow faster and stronger and will help our farm owners to build and grow their operational and financial acumen.

Ted LeBow, Kitchen Table Consultants

Elaine Lemmon, Kitchen Table Consultants


Let’s Chat about SNAP: Enrollment, Equity and the Farm Bill

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s first line of defense against poverty and hunger and it is currently under negotiation in the upcoming Farm Bill. This session will discuss how a  comprehensive and fully supported SNAP program benefits our nation’s communities as well as the barriers to participation that individuals who are eligible but not enrolled are facing. Additionally, this session will explore the criticality of an equitable food system especially as it relates to urban farmers, farmers of color,and SNAP recipients.  


Presenters' Names and Affiliations:

Jordan N. Muse, External Affairs Associate, The Food Trust

Kahfii King, Project Coordinator, The Food Trust


Workshops Session 5

Aligning Food Justice Priorities in New York City Greenmarkets: An analysis of SNAP spending and growing practices of Latinos producers

Though often marginalized by systemic racism and language barriers, immigrant farmers are a critical component to a resilient and sustainable food system. GrowNYC’s FARMroots and Healthy Exchange programs, both founded in the early 2000’s, have approached this issue from different perspectives. While FARMroots supports immigrants starting their own farm businesses, Healthy Exchange develops models to accept EBT at Greenmarkets. Today, Latinx immigrant FARMroots graduates consistently redeem an outsized portion of total SNAP sales at NYC Greenmarkets. Join FARMroots for an exploration of the data behind these impacts, and the technical assistance programming that helped create these farmers.

Audience: The primary audience for this session is policy makers, market operators, and technical service providers. Various policies supported or hindered this programming, market operators will learn strategies for expanding into marginalized neighborhoods, and service providers will be presented a model for training immigrants to start farms. Intermediate

Gabriela Pereyra, FARMroots, GrowNYC

Iliana Garcia, Greenmarket, GrowNYC


Making the Connection: Ethnic Crops to Market

Healthy, accessible and affordable food options for all communities are indicators of an equitable and secure food system. Food security requires both food availability and food affordability. We take it further to include access to ethnic crops: culturally-appropriate, locally produced foods. The issues to be addressed in this workshop revolve around:

* Access to market by Immigrant farmers who have the knowledge of growing ethnic crops, but disadvantages of not knowing mainstream markets and channels of sale.

* Access to culturally appropriate foods in urban markets with large ethnic communities.

Audience: Immigrant farmers and those engaged in assisting them. Beginner

Nicola Williams, The Williams Agency

Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting

Douglas Ling, Development Renaissance


People's Hxstory of the Food System

This workshop explores personal connections to food, the history of our food system, advocating for food sovereignty, and building the grassroots. We will explore the intersections of labor, gender, environmental, racial, and economic justice in food justice through an interactive timeline. Presenters will also share their work as growers and community organizers at VietLead’s community farm, Resilient Roots, in Camden, NJ and building a community school garden at Furness high school in South Philadelphia with Cambodian Americans of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP) and Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia (BAO-P).

Audience: Everyone! Beginner

Student Leaders of VietLead​


Youth Power at Farmers Markets: Achieving community buy-in through youth leadership in the Bronx

The Mt Eden neighborhood of the Bronx is a mix of rich cultures. Residents carry agricultural and culinary traditions with them, and are resilient in the face of an inequitable food system. The 170 Farm Stand is a vibrant youth-run market, offering a selection of high quality and fresh food from local farmers at fair and reasonable prices, education on the value of seasonal eating, and food scraps composting for Mt. Eden residents of all ages. This workshop will share how our youth leadership program is integral to the success of the 170 Farm Stand in securing buy-in from our community. During this experiential workshop we will practice the tools and exercises that have been useful for us.

Audience: People who want to promote healthy foods in their communities, Emerging youth leaders, Farmers market operators who struggle to build demand for their products, Food systems leaders interested in building community leadership and replicating community-responsive models. Beginner

Charlene Francois, Youth and Farm Stand Coordinator with Community Food Action

Sandra Nivar, Crew Leader

Diamonte Verde, Crew Leader

Immigration Raids and the Impact on Farmworker Communities

This session will provide an overview of what happens during an immigration raid in the agricultural context, the rights of farm owners and farmworkers during raids and a discussion of the impact that increasing raids are having on farmworker communities.

Audience:  Expertise level needed

Caitlin Barry, The Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic

Representatives from El Comite de Apoyo el los Trabadores Agricolas/The Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA) and the Movement of Immigration Leaders of PA (MILPA)


Using Countermarketing to Engage Youth in Food Justice Advocacy

Countermarketing uses health communication strategies to reduce the demand for unhealthy products by exposing the motives of their producers. This interactive workshop is based on the Youth Food Educators (YOFE) model, which the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute uses to train young people to develop original countermarketing campaigns against unhealthy foods and beverages, and communicate messages about predatory marketing to their peers. This workshop will give attendees the techniques to create their own countermarketing initiatives against unhealthy foods and beverages, and provide them with strategies for cultivating the next generation of youth food justice leaders.

Audience: This session is geared towards youth leaders, staff members of youth serving organizations, and individuals that are interested in learning more about countermarketing and how it can be used to engage youth to fight back against unhealthy marketing. Beginner

Charita Johnson James, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute


Food is never just food: Reclaiming your food system narrative

We all experience and interact with our local, state and regional food system in different ways and at a different level every day. As food systems practitioners, farmers, advocates, and consumers how we interact with the food systems tell stories of privilege, oppression, comfort, struggle, passion, and sadness. This session invites you to explore tools to share your food system story. Participants will identify mechanisms to reclaim, write, document and showcase how they experience their food system and how their food systems shape them.

Audience: POC, emerging leaders, communications and outreach managers. Intermediate

Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Graduate Student at Michigan State University, Former RI Food Policy Council Outreach and Communications Chair​