It Takes a Region Conference - 2016

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


Block 1 | Block 2 | Block 3 | Block 4

Block 1: Friday 9:45 am - 11:00 am

Scaling Up: How to Determine If, When, How, and How Much?  Hartford Commons
An interactive session exploring the life cycle of small food/farm businesses. This session offers tools for evaluating when growth is necessary to survival, how to assess risks and rewards of growth, and how to access financial resources to fuel expansion. Presenters will share results of a 2016 USDA SCB Grant on CSA and direct farm sales market changes in SE PA; review video testimonials from farmers who successfully grew their businesses to commercial scale; and engage attendees in analyzing a case study of a real farm business contemplating growth to keep pace with perceived market demand.

Presenters: Marilyn Anthony, Fox Management Consulting, Lundale Farm, Fox School of Business/Temple University; Bill Kitsch, Centric Bank

Food Policy Councils: Getting Started and Moving Forward — Mark Twain
The workshop will provide people who are interested in starting food policy councils as well as participants from existing food policy councils with helpful tools for developing and operating new councils as well as enhancing the performance of existing ones. It will also provide a networking opportunity for Northeast Region’s food policy councils. 

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

Alternative & Innovative Funding & Investment Strategies for Sustainable Food and Farm Enterprises Salon A
Food and agriculture companies involved in building the new sustainable economy require different sources of funding. Impact philanthropy and slow money money have been leading the way in creating new models for deploying capital that push back against the dominant forms of investment which created dysfunction in the food system. It is urgent to understand these new models of funding and explore which iterations are effective so they can be reported and replicated. We would present case studies from Woodcock Foundation (MRI funding for food/farm), RSF Social Finance (PRI Funding for Foundations), Slow Money (Angels), PV Grows (Community Fund), Carrot Project (Sector Fund (Farms)) and KivaZip (Small Loans for Food/Farms).

Presenters: Derek Denckla, Denckla Projects and Slow Money NYC; Dorothy Suput​, The Carrot Project; Kevin Egolf, Iroquois Valley Farms; John Waite, PV Grows; Meredith Storton​, RSF Social Finance; Katherine Lynch, Kiva; Claude Arpels, Foodshed / Investors Circle

Health Care Investment in Food Initiatives: New Opportunities to Improve Health and Equity — Salon B
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and changes in how the IRS defines community benefits has positioned hospitals to significantly increase their impact on community health. Health care institutions across New England are using their community benefit funds to improve access to healthy food and address food insecurity. This session will provide an overview of hospital community benefit requirements and share details on model food initiatives being implemented in New England.

Presenters: Betsy Skoda, Health Care Without Harm; Marydale DeBor, Fresh Advantage® LLC

Agroforestry Opportunities: Perspectives on Using Agroforestry to Overcome Agricultural Challenges, Advance Farmer Goals, and Address Socioecological Needs  Salon C
The public demands a lot from landowners and land managers in the northeast including healthy food, wildlife habitat, clean water, economic development opportunities, and climate change mitigation. Agroforestry encompasses land management approaches that integrate trees and crops or livestock to enhance productivity, profitability, and stewardship, but it also has barriers. This session will highlight agricultural opportunities in the region through the lens of agroforestry, including farmland preservation, productive conservation, and economic diversification. Panelists from government, farmer, and non-profit perspectives will share their experiences with and invite discussion about how agroforestry approaches overcome the challenges across watersheds, communities, and farms.

Presenters: Kate MacFarland, USDA National Agroforestry Center;  Tracey Coulter, Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; John Weedon, Connecticut Farmland Trust; Shannon Murray, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program

The Midd Foods Model: Mobilizing Students for Non-profit Food Enterprise — Nathan Hale South
Come learn about Middlebury Foods, a group of students at Middlebury College who run a full-scale food hub that is a 501(c)3 non-profit. We deliver thousands of pounds of produce, meat, cheese, eggs and  on a monthly basis and have expanded our accounts to over 14 local and regional farmers and producers, all while taking 30-50% off of grocery store prices. We partner with schools, legions and area nonprofits to reach out to our community and host monthly pickups in five towns that span our county. We are looking for your experiences and insights about community-based food hubs, alternative distribution economies, the interactions of food insecurity with local food economies and much more.

Presenters: Charlie Mitchell, Emma Bliska, Alex Brockelman, Tevan Goldberg, Middlebury Foods 

Farm and Farmland Transition  Ethan Allen 
With the aging of the baby boom generation and the population in general, a large number of working farms and farmland will transition to new owners in the Northeast over the next decade. Some of these farms have identified successors, some do not. There is also a growing number of both young and not-so- young people who would like to get into farming. Meanwhile, in many areas, pressure to convert land to non-agricultural uses continues. This poses problem and an opportunity for Northeast farming and food systems. Attendees will leave with greater understanding of how different legal tools (LLCs, conservation easements, and leases) can be used and combined to create greater opportunities for the affordable access of farmland, including opportunities to access land undergoing a farm transition and how they can enhance and strengthen the Northeast farm and food system through preserving local farms.

Presenters: Carrie Scrufari, Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, Vermont Law School; Holly Rippon-Butler, National Young Farmers Coalition; John Jaffe, Farm Credit East
Moderator: Kathy Ruhf, Land For Good

YOUTH TRACK: Empowering Youth Leaders in the Food Justice Movement  Nathan Hale North
This interactive session will open up NESAWG’s first ever youth track and showcase the work of youth food systems leaders from around the Northeast. Led by youth from the Massachusetts Avenue Project, FRESH New London, and the Youth Food Justice Network, the session will give youth an opportunity to get to know each other,  learn about a model used to develop youth leaders, and hear stories from youth about how they became leaders in food justice work. 
Presenters: Youth Leaders & Staff, the Youth Food Justice Network, FRESH New London, and the Massachusetts Avenue Project


Block 2: Friday 11:15 am - 12:30 pm

Are We Really Making Change? Measuring Farm to Institution in Northeast & Across the U.S.  Hartford Commons
A group of food system reform advocates around the country believe that institutions hold the power to build the core of a new food system, one that is prosperous, nutritious, and equitable. Several Northeast organizations are core stakeholders in the group. In this workshop, Farm to Institution New England, Farm to Institution NY State, Health Care Without Harm, the NY Academy of Medicine, and regional farm to school groups will lead a conversation about parallel initiatives to measure the impact of the farm to institution movement across the Northeast and the country.

Presenters: Nessa Richman, Farm to Institution New England; Jen Obadia, Health Care Without Harm; Kim Libman, NY Academy of Medicine, Farm to Institution New York State

Antibiotic Stewardship and Health Care Practices for our Food Animals — Mark Twain
A presentation and discussion on health care for our food animals and specifically the use of antibiotics and the growing concerns about antibiotic resistance. The use of antibiotics in agriculture, particularly in food-producing animals, is pervasive and represents the overwhelming majority of antibiotic use worldwide. Close to 30 million pounds of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture (80% of all antibiotics sold). New FDA and USDA regulations are moving toward reducing the use of antibiotics in agriculture. Changes in animal production systems can both prevent disease and reduce the need for antibiotics.

Presenters: Jean King & Michael Keilty, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, UConn Extension

Farm to Pantry: It Takes a Region to Feed a Region — Salon A
Join representatives from farms and food banks throughout the 12 state NESAWG region for an interactive panel discussion about how we can work together to improve access to fresh nutritious produce. Farmers will share their experiences working with food banks, food bank representatives will share information about hunger, stories about the impact that increased access to fresh produce has on hungry people, and discuss opportunities for how farms and food banks can collaborate to get fresh nutritious produce to hungry people.

Presenters: Carolyn Russell, Connecticut Food Bank; Ann Cote, Connecticut/Boston Partnership; Denise Sheehan RDN, Chester County Food Bank; Nancy Perry, Mainers Feeding Mainers, Good Shepherd Food Bank

Regional implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act  (FSMA) Produce Rule — Salon C
FDA has established cooperative agreements with the states to implement the Produce Rule of the FSMA. The session will review the federal compliance requirements for farmers under the produce rule, the current status of those efforts and evaluate the potential positive and negative impacts.

Presenters: Roger Noonan, New England Farmers Union Education Foundation

Land Grant Universities: Adding Value to the Food and Farm Movement — Ethan Allen
Land grant universities are public institutions mandated to provide agricultural research, education and extension. What does that mean today, and what roles do land grants play in the sustainable ag and food system movement? Dialogue with leaders in the Northeast land grant system about land grants’ contributions and challenges. 

Presenters: Linda Berlin, University of Vermont; Anu Rangarajan,  Cornell Small Farms Program; Jiff Martin, University of Connecticut Extension; Vern Grubinger,  University of Vermont, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Racial Justice for Who? —  Salon B 
This workshop will offer an uncommon reframing for white peoples' stake in the quest for racial justice. While many people see anti-racism as a struggle for equality for people of color, white people also have a significant personal stake in ending systemic white supremacy.Through storytelling and group discussion, this workshop is intended to help white people get in touch with a deep-rooted and sustainable commitment to racial justice that is resilient and joyous. Together, we will learn to articulate our own freedom narratives as white people seeking an end to white supremacy. This session is most appropriate for white people who are already convinced of the existence of systemic racism but may feel paralysis or helplessness when it comes to acting. This workshop is also appropriate for people of color who want to support white people who want to take action against racism.

Presenter: Abraham Lateiner, Risk Something

YOUTH TRACK: Mapping Your Food System — Nathan Hale North
Youth and facilitators from Grow Hartford Youth Program and Summer of Solutions Hartford will lead two activities. Participants will explore their place in the local food system with a movement based mapping game meant to identify key areas for making change! In another activity, participants will be challenged to take on new perspectives through a role playing game.

Presenters: Youth Leaders & Staff, Grow Hartford and Summer of Solutions

YOUTH TRACK: Shared Leadership – Youth Leading Youth — Nathan Hale South
We have found a way to recognize and highlight the voice and perspective of each one of our members, despite the level of experience or confidence they had when starting off the program with us. We want to share our successes and some of our continued struggles to help encourage and promote the use of shared leadership in other programs throughout the North East that focus on Food Justice. Having youth not only involved in, but also leading this movement forward is vital to its success if we are to serve the future generations of our country, regardless of age, race, gender, and economic class.

Presenters: The Windham Youth CORE, Grow Windham


Block 3: Friday 4:15 - 5:30 pm

Fisheries, Food, and Health: Finding Common Ground Across Domains of the Food System — Hartford Commons
Fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants (seafood) are an integral part of human economies, societies, cultures, and health. The US national dietary recommendations call for increasing seafood consumption, yet questions remain about whether a significant increase can be achieved while improving equitability and sustainability. These complex and interrelated sets of challenges in the seafood sector serve as a jumping-off point for this session about the intersection of fisheries, health, and food systems. Wrestling with these issues will help clarify opportunities for Northeast seafood businesses, civil society, and governments as they relate to a sustainable food system.

Presenters: Dave Love, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Elvis Mendez, National Guestworker Alliance; Brett Tolley, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance; Julius Kolawole, African Alliance of Rhode Island, African Urban Ventures, Food Solutions New England
Moderators: Patricia Pinto Da Silva, NOAA;  Jillian Fry, Center for a Livable Future

2018 Farm Bill - Northeast Perspectives — Salon A
The next 5-year federal farm bill is right around the corner, on tap for 2018, with much of the preliminary action and bill introductions coming in 2017. What are the major concerns for progressive farm and food groups in the Northeast? How can the bill advance an equity agenda and regional needs? This session will provide a succinct overview of the policy and political context for the farm bill by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, followed by an insightful panel of Northeast group representatives covering a variety of interest areas, with lots of time for audience participation and engagement.

Presenters: Ferd Hoefner & Alyssa Charney, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Roger Noonan, New England Farmers Union; Cris Coffin, Land for Good; Maria Moriera, World Farmers

Innovative Ways Food Hubs Serve Rural Communities — Salon B
Through our panel discussion featuring 3 food hubs based in the Northeast, we will explore the challenges and opportunities in serving rural communities. Panelists will cover topics such as transportation logistics and costs, differentiation and competitive issues, producer communication and education, and measurable impacts to the community.

Presenters: Amy McCann, Local Food Marketplace, LLC; Catherine Cusack, Green Mountain Farm Direct Food Hub; Alex McCullough, Food Connects; Colleen Hanlon-Smith, Unity Food Hub 

The Promise of Urban Agriculture — Salon C
Urban farming is championed as a solution to myriad urban issues, including food access, food security, food sovereignty, economic development, youth education, job-readiness training, management of vacant/open land, beautification, and community engagement. Its success in achieving these outcomes, however, is mixed, as not every urban farm can be all things to all people. The presenters will share findings from a recent USDA study of commercial urban agriculture, including "wicked problems" that threaten its viability. Attendees will discuss how urban farms can work together to achieve social missions while working to support the economic viability of urban farms in our region.

Presenters: Molly Riordan & Anu Rangarajan​, Cornell Small Farms Program  

USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program: Expanding Access to Local for All — Ethan Allen
The 2014 Farm Bill's $100M Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program represents a massive investment by the Federal government in supporting the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. In the first two cycles, NESAWG states received over $13M directly supporting the food insecure, generating additional revenue for regional farmers. This panel will feature a sampling of regional FINI awardees, from statewide programs to a pilot in Hartford, from farmers markets to retailers sourcing local. Panelists will examine the impact of this funding on the region, the future prospects and sustainability of these nutrition incentive programs, and take questions from attendees interested in innovative food access initiatives

Presenters: Steven Farley, Wholesome Wave; Martha Page,  Hartford Food Systems; Margaret M. Lapp, Field & Fork Network; Eliza Dexter-Cohen, Rhode Island Institute for Public Health

YOUTH TRACK: Youth-Driven Solutions – Pedaling Youth for Community Social Change — Nathan Hale North
Developing youth-driven programming is a powerful way to address issues in your community, as well as adds meaningful capacity to a non-profit or farm. Nevertheless, doing so also brings its fair share of challenges. Join staff from West Virginia State University Extension Service with the Produce Pedalers of Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia, and Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, Rhode Island in scenario-based discussions that challenge you to develop a youth-driven program from scratch. Discussion will be facilitated by the youth staff of Southside Community Land Trust and seek to consider such community issues as: obesity, food access, technical farming skills and high school retention.

Presenters: Zach Daniels, Valerie Bandell, & Jennifer Totten, Produce Pedalers, West Virginia State University Extension; Adam Quinones, Jariliz Taveras, Joshua Mayford, Sergio Perez, Laura Bozzi & Maggie Krueger, Southside Community Land Trust

YOUTH TRACK: Youth Engagement in Evaluation of Community Food Initiatives  — Nathan Hale South
This is a hands-on learning session led by youth leaders and community partners in youth evaluation techniques of the Nuestra Comida collaborative program in Holyoke, MA. What is evaluation? Why do we do it? What are key ingredients for powerful and fun youth-generated evaluation? We’ll set our discussion in the frame of evaluation as cooperative knowledge building, something we all do in our lives to improve the impact of our work and intentions. We will demonstrate fun and practical strategies that empower young people to assess the impact of their work.  We will share tools and offer sample interview questions and end the session with an evaluation of the youth track at the NESAWG conference.

Presenters: Julian Hartmann-Russell, Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, Nuestra Comida Project; Neftalí Duran, Nuestras Raíces; Catherine Sands, Fertile Ground & University of Massachusetts–Amherst; Erik Cullen, UMass Amherst Sustainable Food and Farming Program


Block 4: Saturday 10:00 am - 11:15 am

A New England Food Vision: New Narratives — Hartford Commons
What are our "counter stories" about food system work required in the New England Food Vision? We will: 1) Discuss the power of regionalism and regional networks for communities of color; 2) Explore the unique role of culture and ethnic crops in urban settings in that Vision, 3) Learn how political will at the grassroots level can influence the change and transformation required and can effect policy. Participants will gain a greater understanding of the opportunities and rewards in "ally-building" with communities of color in service of a new narrative for the equitable and sustainable food system we envision.

Presenters: Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting, Food Solutions New England, NESAWG Board Member; Julius Kolawole; African Alliance of Rhode Island, African Urban Ventures, Food Solutions New England; Marilyn Moore, State Senator, Witness Project,  Food Solutions New England 

Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast: Six Years of Academic-Community Collaborative Research — Mark Twain
Can greater reliance on regional foods improve food access for low-income communities? And what is the impact on farmers and supply chain players? This session summarizes learnings from six years of multi-sector investigation of the production, distribution and consumption components of the Northeast’s food system. We will share how eight N.E. academic institutions partnered with nine low-income communities, USDA and NESAWG in this ground-breaking transdisciplinary project.

Presenters:  Kate Clancy, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Tim Griffin, Tufts University Agriculture, Food and Environment Program; Linda Berlin, University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Anne Palmer, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

A Full Harvest: How Farm to Preschool Improves Food Security and Farm Viability — Salon A
Explore how Farm to Preschool (F2P) increases access to local foods by connecting farmers to preschools serving low-income populations and be ready to delve deeper as you discuss how this model can be adapted to engage broader communities. F2P New York State is a SNAP-Ed funded program that tackles two problems in our food system: food insecurity and farm viability. We'll explore how different regions implement the program and how each is making a lasting impact on our littlest eaters, their families and small farmers.

PresentersDarlene Yule, Capital District Child Care Council; Dana Youkilis, Child Care Council of Nassau

Gleaning: A Vital Component of Relocalized Food Systems — Salon B
Given that 16% of all food loss in America occurs on farms - gleaning is vital to building independent and resilient food systems. Gleaning moves wholesome food into all of our communities through strategic alliances. This session will be led by gleaning organizations in the Northeast who aim to create a framework for collaborations, technical assistance, and best practices that ensure the responsible management of agricultural surplus on farms across the region. Participants will discuss what information needs to be shared between gleaners, farmers, volunteers and institutional stakeholders, to establish best practices and investment opportunities in food recovery efforts.

Presenters: Theresa Snow, Salvation Farms; Laurie "Duck" Caldwell, Boston Area Gleaners; Hannah Semler, Healthy Acadia; Sarah Harpster, Keene Community Kitchen

Growing entrepreneurs: the role of community kitchens, business incubators, and co-packers in scaling up local food  Salon C
Demand for local food has grown, and in response food entrepreneurs like chefs, caterers, value-added producers, and food truckers are proliferating. By law, food entrepreneurs are required to produce food in licensed commercial kitchens costing between $50,000 and $250,000 to build, making it impossible for most local food startups. In response, networks of community kitchens, food business incubators, and co-packers are emerging to evaluate capacity and support food business startups through various stages of growth. Come hear about some of the most innovative resources and programs in New England aimed at scaling up local food.

Presenters: Laura Parrilla Kaltman, Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County; John Waite, Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center; Jen Faigel, Common Wealth Kitchen
Moderator: Ashley Colpaart, The Food Corridor

Writing a Strong Grant Proposal — Nathan Hale North
Whatever grant program you apply to, certain components are typically needed to sell your idea to reviewers. These include: a documented need, a specific goal that addresses the need, logical steps to achieve the goal, a plan to measure progress, an appropriate team, and a connection to previous relevant work. This workshop will provide guidance on how to craft these components, and participants will practice writing goals for their own projects, then getting feedback from one another. Vern has written dozens and reviewed hundreds of grant proposals; he will share examples of strong and not-so-strong proposal components, along with tips for success he has learned over the years.

PresenterVern Grubinger, University of Vermont

There’s Not An App For It: Bringing Millennials Into Leadership Roles — Nathan Hale South
What do the next 30 years of the food movement look like and how are we going to get there? This session will ignite a conversation between the now-leaders of the food movement and those who are up-and-coming to discuss the challenges, frustrations and opportunities that exist within leadership transition and empowerment. Between the generations we need to work out how millennials can assume responsibility and shape the future of the food movement to build on the work already done. We need to begin thinking and planning how the movement can sustain itself past careers of existing leaders by bringing the two generations together now.

Presenters: Gideon Burdick, Red Tomato; Liz Ryan, Breezy Hill Orchard; Naomi Clark, Clark Brothers Orchards; more presenters TBA