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RESOURCES Expand sections marked RESOURCES to find the additional materials.
Monday, June 27 — Optional Pre-Forum Activities
In conjunction with the Annual Forum, SAFSF is pleased to offer two optional pre-Forum experiences. Both options have limited capacity and are only open to funders attending at least one other day of the Forum.
Take advantage of this opportunity to go deeper on issues of power and privilege with this special workshop. Questioning, confronting, and strategically catalyzing power and privilege is required to build a just and sustainable food system that nourishes whole communities and ensures the rights of all people to food, land, water, and sustainable livelihoods. J. Miakoda Taylor will lead us in a dynamic, interactive workshop, utilizing the Fierce Allies Theory & Practice of Change, as we start a collective exploration of the following:
• How do we catalyze the burden of our funder power and privilege into responsibility, accountability, and effective leader-allyship with grassroots-led social movements in the food system?
• What tools, practices, and agreements do we need to form a committed community of practice, effectively serving as radical allies to those on the frontlines?
Facilitator Bio: J. Miakoda Taylor is the founding director of Fierce Allies, a training, facilitation, and consulting program that fosters catalytic collaborations across divides of power and privilege. She possesses over a decade of experience as an executive and consultant, facilitating leadership development, sustainable organizational change, and conflict resolution with organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. She draws on her extensive experience and training in the fields of Restorative Justice, somatic trauma healing, embodied and experiential learning, facilitation of group conflict transformation, emotional-social intelligence, storytelling, meditation, and ritual. Her clients include environmental and social change leaders, organizations and coalitions,“ as well as incarcerated populations.
Meet at the main hotel entrance, on the street level, 15 minutes before your scheduled departure.
The first bus will depart promptly at 2pm. Those arriving in time for the dinner-only option will depart from the hotel at 5:15 pm. All attendees will return to the hotel at 9:30 pm.
Mary Berry, the daughter of author and environmental activist Wendell Berry, founded The Berry Center in 2011 to foster economically and agriculturally sound farming in Kentucky and beyond. The Berry Center strives to put Wendell Berry’s writings to work by advocating for farmers, land-conserving communities, and healthy regional economies. Tour participants will have an opportunity to hear the story and vision of the Berry family, the Berry Center, and the community. Henry County judge executive and farmer John Logan Brent and Woodford County farmer Hoppy Henton will highlight the problems in local agriculture, discuss the changes in the agricultural economy over the past eleven years following the end of the Burley Tobacco Producer’s Program, and outline new economic opportunities for farmers today. Wendell Berry, Aleta Botts, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD), and Theresa Zawacki, senior policy advisor with Louisville Metro Government, will discuss local efforts to strengthen rural-urban connections. Following the presentations, Aleta Botts will join local farmers in a conversation about what it will take for them to be willing to serve a local market, what young and beginning farmers need to know, and what can be done to put an economy in place that supports good farming and land use. These discussions will be followed by an opportunity to view a short screening of “The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry”—a new film not yet released to the public. The evening will continue through dinner, hosted by Wendell and Tanya Berry, Christy Brown, and The Berry Center Board of Directors.
“We are encouraging and conducting study into where we have been, where we are, and where we are going in the rural landscapes. By collecting and archiving the papers of the Berry family, we are creating a place where people can study and work to learn from the past in order to shape the future—bringing into focus issues of land use, farm policy, local food infrastructure, urban education about farming, and farmer education that is lacking in Kentucky and the country as a whole.” –Mary Berry
“What I see that is hopeful is what I’ve been calling ‘leadership from the bottom.’ Mainly I believe that without funding from governments or foundations, without official permission or approval or even awareness, many people are now working hard to bring farming, ranching, and forestry into line with ecological principles; to apply appropriate standards of judgment to their work; and to restore local economies – beginning with food. The people who are doing this work started doing it typically because they saw the almost-perfect destructiveness of industrialism, and they hoped to do better…
I believe that the best and very likely the only hope for the health and productivity of our land rests upon the renewal and stabilization of rural communities and rural livelihoods, and that these in turn rest upon the development of socially and ecologically coherent, diverse, land-based local economies…” -Wendell Berry
This plenary will kick off the 2016 Forum by pushing us to think deeply about the theme—The Stakes: Race, Class, Gender, and Power in the Food System. We’ll talk about the power dynamics entrenched in the ‘isms’—those named and those not—that affect all aspects of our society, and dig in to how they play out specifically with regard to agriculture and food. The panelists will push you to consider your personal experience: What power and privilege do you wield inherently and by the nature of your positions within philanthropy? How do you share that power and support groups fighting for equity?
Facilitator: Bridget Dobrowski, program and operations manager, SAFSF, CA
Speakers: Blain Snipstal, farmer, organizer, agroecological technician, Black Dirt Farm, MD Carla Wallace, co-founder, Showing Up for Racial Justice and Fairness Campaign; and member, Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame, KY
Direct work with farmers through one-to-one farm advocacy plays a critical role in food system reform, yet the field is increasingly overlooked and severely underfunded. One-to-one farm advocacy grounds high-level systemic change in the lives and stories of individual people; it not only identifies solutions to address an individual farmer’s specific challenges, but also also uncovers the cracks in the system through which limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and sustainable farmers continue to fall. During the process, farm advocates—those facilitating the one-to-one farm advocacy process—connect farmers to grassroots and social change organizations working on high-level legal and political analyses. In doing so, they are able to build power and shift the system.
Individual farm advocacy has led to the creation of numerous programs and policies that ensure family farmers can stay on the land, providing healthy food for their communities. This workshop will examine two cases in which farm advocates working one-to-one with farmers were able to discover larger systemic failings and opportunities for reform: 1) poultry contract abuses and the GIPSA rule, and 2) discrimination in lending and the Pigford class action settlement. Funders will be given the opportunity to apply the individual farm advocacy frame to issues and priorities important to their missions.
Sponsored by Farm Aid and GRACE Communications Foundation
Moderator: Hilde Steffey, program director, Farm Aid, MA
Speakers: Scott Marlow, executive director, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, NC Randi Roth, executive director, Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul; board member, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI); former executive director, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, MN Shirley Sherrod, co-founder and executive director, Southwest Georgia Project; former Georgia State Director of Rural Development, USDA, GA
Participants will begin a conversation about how and why foundations concerned with food system change need to engage in rural communities. Participants will learn about new research on anti-trust enforcement and corporate power, how U.S. policy has evolved to create a food system of serfs and overlords, and why rural communities pay a steep price for America’s cheap food. Participants will hear what this means to a community and family from one farmer’s lived experience. Finally, to help workshop participants contemplate how they can make a difference, a place-based funder will discuss their work supporting rural communities and economic development.
Sponsored by The Lumpkin Family Foundation
Moderator: Bruce Karmazin, executive director, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, IL
Speakers: Barry Lynn, senior fellow, New America Foundation, DC Regan Moffitt, associate vice president, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, AR Craig Watts, farmer; former contract producer with Perdue Farms, Inc., NC
What single farming approach prevents the agricultural runoff that created the Toledo and Des Moines water crises; cools the soil on a heating planet; retains water in drought and absorbs it in a deluge; and supports the teeming microbial and fungal life that is increasingly linked to human health? Continual living cover!
Cover crops, pasture, perennial polycultures, prairie strips, and tree crops that cover agricultural land year-round are the best strategies to protect water quality and enhance soil health in the context of climate change. And there’s a revolution underway that will make it increasingly possible for continual living cover to be widely adopted.
Currently, there are more than 20 cover crops and perennial grains in development that can create new markets for farmers—industrial and edible oils, baking ingredients, and more. By offering farmers two crops from a single field, these innovations offer the economic incentives needed to more easily practice regenerative agriculture.
While it may not sound sexy, continual living cover has the potential to unite the interests of farmers, environmentalists, and urban and rural communities. If, during the next two decades, we succeed in making continual living cover THE culture of agriculture, we will mitigate and adapt to climate change, maintain and improve water quality, rebuild the soil, advance conversion to organic and pasture-based agriculture, and thus promote food system resilience for decades to come.
Sponsored by Fresh Taste
Moderator: Karen Lehman, director, Fresh Taste, IL
Speakers: Donald Wyse, professor and co-director, Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management (CINRAM), University of Minnesota, MN
How can mission-related investments, coupled with philanthropic dollars and resources, help to transform food systems in the U.S.? In this workshop, we will discuss different case studies demonstrating the movement of philanthropic and investment capital to: 1) invest in a rapidly growing Native American buffalo snack meat company affected by supply constraints; 2) develop training programs and increase access to land and credit for first generation immigrant farmers in California; and 3) finance and support food hubs that enable Kentucky smallholder farmers transitioning from tobacco to access new markets.
What kinds of grants, loans, technical assistance, infrastructure, and know-how are needed? What sort of changes do we as funders need to make in the way we view and use our capital in order to do this work? How do these entrepreneurs address economic opportunity as it relates to power, class, race, and gender? Bring your own examples to add to the workshop.
This session is more focused on the impact portion of Impact Investing, and complements the afternoon workshop “Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap.”
Sponsored by Swift Foundation
Moderator: Jennifer Astone, executive director, Swift Foundation, CA
Speakers: Faye Brown, consultant, Native American Natural Foods; campaign consultant, Tanka Fund, SD Michael Higgins, CEO, Custom Food Solutions, KY Reggie Knox, executive director, California FarmLink, CA Esther Park, CEO, Cienega Capital, CA
Each year, as the Forum opens, we turn our focus to where we are: the city, the state, the region, and the people, food, culture, and land. Why? Because context is everything. For Forum participants, it’s important to get beyond the tourist brochure images and what we think we know about a place.
Louisville, Kentucky sits on the banks of the Ohio River. It’s a land shaped by its rivers—rivers that have channeled the flow of settlement into, and rich resources out of, the region. From the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, the Commonwealth of Kentucky shares borders with seven states. It is the only state to have a continuous border of rivers along three of its sides and it has the greatest length of navigable waterways in the contiguous United States. Its 90,000 miles of streams is one of the most expansive, complex, and bio-diverse systems in the nation. The region’s rivers enabled coal, tobacco, textiles, and agriculture to dominate the region’s economy, often resulting in political and economic exploitation.
It is also a region where people have strong ties to the land and values of kinship, contributing to a multifaceted culture with often-contentious influences from its far-reaching connections to Pittsburgh in the North and New Orleans in the South. Kentucky is neither North, South, East, nor Mid-West, but rather some combination of all of those. Its geography has often placed it at the center of political, social, and economic conflict. The birthplace of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Kentucky has been a “free” state and dependent upon slavery. Even as it continues to transition from tobacco to sustainable agriculture, Kentucky and its coalfield communities sit on the frontlines of climate change, America’s energy future, and the creation of a democratic economy.
Kentucky is known for its beauty, self-sufficiency, fierce independence, resilience, and stubborn optimism. Join us to learn more about this place of wonder.
Moderator: Mike Sands, senior associate, Liberty Prairie Foundation, IL
Speakers: Sadiqa Reynolds, president/CEO, Louisville Urban League, KY Martin Richards, executive director, Community Farm Alliance; steering committee, Central Appalachian Network, KY Lora Smith, network officer, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, KY
Break / Find Your Next Session
Afternoon Options: In-Depth Workshops OR Site Visit
2:45pm meet at hotel street entrance; bus departs promptly at 3:00pm
2:45 pm – meet at hotel street entrance; bus departs promptly at 3:00 pm Don’t forget to wear closed-toe shoes and bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and hat!
Occasionally it’s possible to visit farms firsthand (like we’ll do during today’s site visit), but if you really want full confidence in the food you buy—and if you want to influence change across the food system—you need to look for farms with a trusted third-party certification and food label. On Swallow Rail Farm, a short bus ride from downtown Louisville, Jeneen Wiche raises Freedom Ranger meat chickens, traditional breed laying hens, and Katahdin sheep according to the exacting standards of the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) program. In addition to farming, Jeneen hosts a local radio show, writes a regionally syndicated farm and garden column, and teaches at the University of Kentucky, where her course offerings include Food and Body Politic, Indians of North America, and American Indian Women. AWA director Andrew Gunther will guide the tour alongside Jeneen, and together the two will discuss the practices that set Swallow Rail Farm’s operation apart—and what funders can do to help support sustainable agriculture. Plus, lambs!
The emerging field of impact investing has galvanized various forms of capital around food system needs and opportunities. Different forms of capital—institutional debt, venture, private equity, PRI/MRIs, grants—are invested with aligned impact goals but different expectations of returns and different track records of success. Why is impact investing needed to complement traditional philanthropy? How do different types of capital actually align on impact and opportunity? Where can funders best position themselves to achieve success?
This workshop will use a case study format to explore investments that have successfully aligned different types of financing—cross-silo investments—to address the same financing need. Emphasis will be placed on the unique role that philanthropic capital has played to finalize investments and close a financing round.
This workshop is more focused on the investing portion of impact investing, and complements the morning session “Investing in the Food System for Healthy Climates and Communities.”
Moderator: Kyle Datta, general partner, Ulupono Initiative, HI
Speaker Pairs: Tim Crosby, investor, Thread Fund, WA Kate Danaher, senior manager, Social Enterprise Lending & Integrated Capital, RSF Social Finance, CA
Kathleen Fluegel, executive director, HRK Foundation, MN Wood Turner, vice president, Agriculture Capital Management, CA
Kevin Kirby, investment associate, Armonia LLC, CT Esther Park, CEO, Cienega Capital, CA
Jeff Rosen, chief financial officer, Solidago Foundation, MA John Waite, executive director, Franklin County Community Development Corporation, MA
Funders often ask the questions: How is agroecology different from other forms of agricultural production that seek to preserve, rebuild, or sustain soil health and the local environment? What does it mean to be “community-based”? What does it mean to “scale up” or “scale out” agroecology? How does it relate to climate change mitigation and adaptation?
To answer these questions, this session will feature farmers scaling out agroecology in their own communities and scaling it up through learning exchanges rooted in international solidarity. We will engage in dialogue with these farmers and food sovereignty practitioners as they lead us through their experiences with the on-the-ground work of agroecology, and help us understand the connections to democracy, land ownership, and community control of the commons. They will also tell their stories of advocacy and organizing to center agroecology in social movements and illustrate the relationship between agroecology and food sovereignty.
Moderator: Alison Cohen, senior director of programs, WhyHunger, NY
Speakers: Nelson Mudzingwa, national coordinator, Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), Harare, Zimbabwe Christopher Sacco, co-founder and director of operations, Groundswell International, NC Blain Snipstal, farmer, organizer, agroecological technician, Black Dirt Farm, MD
The food we eat has a major impact on our health, but what impacts the food that we eat? There are many influences that affect a person’s food landscape, well-being, and therefore, their health—zip codes, income, access, education, markets, safety, and social support. The power dynamics and social structures of how our food is grown, distributed, and accessed are critical factors of health equity; so too is the infrastructure of how communities are built. Layered underneath it all is the historic infrastructure of systemic racism. Combined, these are the social determinants of health. Understanding these factors and their connections to shaping health equity can help in assessing the way funders view their work and where they make investments. This dynamic workshop will explore the foundations of health equity and engage participants to discover how they can bring a health equity lens to their work.
Facilitator: Makani Themba, chief strategist, Higher Ground Change Strategies, MI
Want some quiet time? Dinner on your own is an option.
Interested in meeting with others around a particular theme? Check out the no-host theme options. Want to dive into more programming? Check out the sponsored dinner options.
No-Host Themed Dinners
These dinners will not have any programming associated with them; they are simply a way for you to connect with funders working on similar issues. Staff will make restaurant reservations for all groups and will do their best to select restaurants along a price continuum to ensure that there are options for all budgets. See registration desk for times and details.
We often hear about the harms resulting from the concentration of power in the hands of too few corporations—lower wages, environmental degradation, lack of consumer choice, and undue influence on elected officials, to name just a few. Join colleagues in conversation with three dynamic front-line leaders with experiences in rural advocacy, labor activism, and journalism who will share tactics they’re using to fight corporate concentration and to build collective power.
Sponsored by: 11th Hour Project, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, and Small Planet Fund
Speakers: Barry Lynn, senior fellow, New America Foundation, DC Jose Oliva, co-director, Food Chain Workers Alliance, CA Tim Gibbons, communications director, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, MO
Join the Appalachia Funders Network and celebrated Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia for an intimate dinner exploring the exciting local foods and agriculture work happening in Appalachia. Chef Lee is a James Beard Foundation Award finalist for Best Chef Southeast and has been featured on Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and PBS’s Mind of a Chef. A seasonal multi-course tasting menu with local ingredients will highlight some of Kentucky’s unique Appalachian and Southern food traditions. We will share the mission and goals of the Appalachia Funders Network, and highlight ways local, regional, and national partners are working collectively to build community capacity, advance local food systems, promote clean energy, protect natural resources, and create healthy communities. We are excited to welcome members of SAFSF to the region and share AFN’s work to build healthy, equitable, vibrant, and powerful communities!
Speakers: Becky Ceperley, founding member and philanthropic engagement project consultant, Appalachia Funders Network, WV Gerry Roll, executive director, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky; steering committee member, Appalachia Funders Network, KY Lora Smith, network officer, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation; steering committee member, Appalachia Funders Network, KY
Grab & Go breakfast available at 6:30 am in the Bluegrass Room – 2nd Floor.
Board the bus at 6:45 am.
Bus departs at 7:00 am.
Central Appalachia is in a moment of reimagining its future. With the collapse of the coal mining industry and devastating job loss, communities that have been dependent on a single extractive industry for more than 100 years are now working to diversify their local economies. Grassroots leaders are seizing this moment to talk about a lasting economic transition—how can we create true community transformation that addresses the systemic challenges of entrenched poverty and poor health while spurring sustainable economic development? Local food and agriculture systems have emerged as one of the promising bright spots of this transition, bringing renewed hope and real economic opportunity. In the face of economic uncertainty, mountain communities are reaching back to their roots, building on a strong regional history of farm and food traditions to help create a brighter future.
Hosted by the Appalachia Funders Network, this journey will offer a unique experience to travel to the heart of the Kentucky coalfields and hear directly from some of the many community leaders rebuilding local food and agriculture systems. Grassroots leaders from adjoining Appalachian states will join the conversation to showcase how practitioners and funders are coming together to increase capacity and advance innovative regional strategies that benefit people, place, and the economy. Along our mountain journey, we will stop to see and taste the local foods transformation underway. Visits to a local farmers’ market, tours of downtown revitalization efforts, a local foods lunch showcasing regional cuisine, discussions with experts from across the region, and a moonshine tasting at a local distillery will give funders a brief but powerful dive into the challenges and opportunities that exist during this critical moment for food system development and economic change in Appalachia.
This tour takes us through the “heart of the Bluegrass” to the town of Berea, home of Berea College and the gateway to Appalachia. We will learn how Central Kentucky is building on its history to create an equitable regional food system that supports Kentucky family farmers and increases access to fresh local foods.
The first stop on our tour is the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, which is using a multi-pronged approach to increase the viability and prosperity of small farms in the region. Their goals include educating farmers in the appropriate techniques of seed saving; teaching the younger generation how to grow and sell a wide variety of heirloom fruits and vegetables; making Appalachian counties more self sufficient; and helping owners of small woodlots use less intensive logging practices and create value-added products.
Our next stop along the tour is Berea College, where we will enjoy a delicious local lunch while hearing about the college’s history, the college farm, and Berea’s growing local foods movement. The college is one of seven nationally recognized work colleges, in which all students participate in the labor program regardless of their academic or financial need. In addition, the college offers each student a Tuition Promise Scholarship that ensures that no student pays tuition. During our time on campus, we’ll visit the Berea College Farm, one of the oldest continuously operated and most highly diversified student educational farms in the United States. We will also visit the Farm Store—equipped with a kitchen and meat-processing room—to browse a selection of produce from the College Farm and other local products from small businesses in the region.
On our way back to Louisville, we will make one final stop at Marksbury Farm, a small scale and locally owned butcher shop, farmers market, and processing facility. Come along with us as we travel through the “heart of the Bluegrass” to learn about the past, present, and future of Central Kentucky agriculture.
The issues of race and class greatly influence people’s access to healthy food—and ultimately their individual and community health. This tour will showcase three distinct locations improving healthy food access in the Greater Cincinnati region. Our Harvest Cooperative Food Hub sits on a 30-acre urban farm. After experiencing quick expansion over three years, their projects now include a farmer education/training initiative in collaboration with Cincinnati State University and local farmers, and a healthy food access distribution hub. Additionally, they operate a low-cost CSA program called “Harvest Box,” which was created in conjunction with the Cincinnati Health Department and allows consumers to match SNAP dollars with payment for their produce, providing access to healthy food for low-income communities. Next we will visit Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest public market house located in the heart of the city. After a tour of the market featuring its history and deep community roots, we will see the newly opened farmer/producer consignment storefront, DIRT, which allows products to be sold at the market throughout the week instead of only during typical weekend farmers’ market hours. Participants will then enjoy a freshly prepared lunch at the brand new Findlay Market commercial kitchen. Finally, we will head to Dayton High School in Kentucky to learn about preparing scratch-cooked meals through the Cook for America program. One of eight schools in the region participating in this program, Dayton food service staff will share their experiences in changing the school culture and how food plays a critical role in the health of their students. Join us as we learn how food and health intersect and why foundations should invest in both areas.
Fiber is as much a part of agriculture as the food we eat; however, we don’t stop to consider the textile and garment industry’s impact on the health of the planet and its inhabitants nearly as often as we contemplate the food system. After a stellar workshop on the subject at the 2013 Forum in Providence, we’re excited to launch a deeper dive into sustainable fiber systems. Lucky for us, Kentucky is one of the states leading the work to build local, just, and equitable textile economies. This site visit will explore the challenges and opportunities farmers, artisans, and others face as they work to create a Kentucky fibershed using hemp and other natural fibers, and to build the capacity and infrastructure needed to support small-scale producers and sustainable farmers. National leaders in this movement will be joining us for the day to provide an overview and context to the day’s demonstrations, dialogue, stories from the field, and hands-on activities.
After an opening panel at the hotel, we’ll board a bus and head out for the day. Our stops will include Kentucky State University in Frankfort and US Natural Fibers in Springfield. Our speakers will inspire discussions about the impacts of the current fiber industry on global warming, water, and air contamination; partnerships between artists and farmers; place-based economic development opportunities; and communities in transition. Participants will have ample opportunity to touch the soil, the fibers, and the textiles. You will get to try your hand at operating a traditional hemp brake—a machine that separates hemp fiber from stalks. Participating funders will walk away with a clearer sense of the role philanthropic investment can play in these new textile economies.
This tour will travel to West Louisville where we’ll meet with local leaders to discuss different approaches to local food, economic viability, and community development. Attendees will get a chance to discuss how race, class, and gender fit into the picture of development, leadership, network building, and success.
We will meet first with Louisville Grows which provides support to many community garden projects, including a 5-acre mixed-use agricultural site called People’s Garden created in partnership with the Louisville Metro Council District. This organization started with good connections to city leaders and gradually built strong relationships with communities in West Louisville. Then we will see the future location of the West Louisville FoodPort, which is being developed by people and organizations who also have deep ties to city leaders and are in the process of deepening their community connections. In comparison, New Roots, the final organization we’ll meet with during this tour, began with deep connections in the community and a community organizing ethos. New Roots assists community members in creating, leading, and sustaining “pop-up” Fresh Stop Markets at churches, housing authorities, and community centers in fresh-food insecure neighborhoods. It is a growing movement of individuals and families who come together to bring healthy food to their neighborhoods and end food injustice. Most Fresh Stops reserve 75% of all produce shares for those individuals and families who identify as having limited resources according to the WIC eligibility guidelines. Along the way, we’ll enjoy lunch at The Table Café, a nonprofit, social entrepreneurship that serves locally grown, fresh food and operates under a pay-what-you-can model.
Join us for breakfast to learn more about the power of this network, find out about SAFSF’s efforts to engage with investors, and hear directly from the Steering Committee on directions for our future.
Do you ever wonder how much funding SAFSF members are actually getting out the door? Or what members’ top funding priorities are? Or just where in the country those dollars are going? New information and data gleaned from our members and collected this spring will be ‘hot off the press’ and ready to share.
Many members have found collaborators from connections they’ve made through SAFSF. During this year’s update, we’ll highlight the Food LINC project and the partnerships with SAFSF members that are critical to the project’s success.
Speakers: Virginia Clarke, executive director, SAFSF, CA Kyle Datta, general partner, Ulupono Initiative; co-chair, SAFSF Steering Committee, HI Elanor Starmer, administrator, Agriculture Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), DC Mailee Walker, executive director, Claneil Foundation; co-chair, SAFSF Steering Committee, PA
Rural communities are critical to our country’s food system, health, and equity—yet the way our current food system operates is disrupting and dismantling these communities. Rural areas are struggling by any number of measurable social, environmental, and economic indicators: income, job growth, education, obesity, drug use, and more. According to a 2015 USDA study, grants to benefit rural communities account for fewer than 7% of all grantmaking, compared to the fact that approximately 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural communities and nearly all of our food comes from rural communities. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and many others have called attention to these disparities in funding, yet the trends continue. As a network of grantmakers focused on creating and supporting vibrant, healthy, and just food systems change, we cannot afford to ignore rural communities. This plenary will explore issues around power and privilege, economic development and extraction, and philanthropy and funding in rural America.
Facilitator: Dee Davis, president, Center for Rural Strategies, KY
Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, executive director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, GA Lillian Salerno, deputy under secretary for rural development, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), DC Gladys Washington, program director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, NC
West Virginia is at or near the top of most national worst chronic disease lists, but a growing counter-movement aims to change that. West Virginia funders are supporting statewide programs that are building a vital network of local health leaders, encouraging both healthy-community projects and opportunities for shared learning. We will tell the stories of two such innovative, grassroots-based, replicable projects.
Try This West Virginia puts the best “how-to” advice and successful, homegrown examples for inspiring a healthier West Virginia at people’s fingertips and helps fund local projects. In two years, Try This has sparked and funded 99 local projects (gardens, farmers’ markets, hiking trails, and more). With a state-level coalition of 19 organizations, Try This connects local citizens with a plethora of expertise and resources and organizes a yearly networking conference that draws more than 500 people. As the slogan says, “It’s up to us!”
WVFOODLINK creates tools that help community members plan equitable food networks to meet the needs of low-income families. West Virginia University (WVU) geographers developed a statewide geographic information system for WVFOODLINK, which disseminates successful strategies to improve food access, maps the distribution of local pantries and food banks, and offers food access assessment workshops.
Sponsored by Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Moderator: Kim Tieman, health and human services program officer, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, WV
Speakers: Kate Long, co-director and website developer, Try This West Virginia, WV Stephen Smith, director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, WV Bradley Wilson, director, Food Justice Lab, WV
As the Black Lives Matter movement has focused worldwide attention on racism in the U.S., voices are attracting attention to the systemic challenges facing black farmers here and elsewhere around the globe. Kept out of the mainstream food system, black farmers have long operated alternative infrastructure before the term “food hub” was ever conceived.
This workshop features a dialogue between black farmer leaders from Haiti and the American South that will reveal common systems of oppression; describe efforts to reclaim land, build farmer capacity, and develop regional food infrastructure; and envision “liberatory” food systems at the local, regional, and global levels. Join this workshop to discuss the roles funders can play in uprooting racism by (re)building rural infrastructures that support black farmers in the U.S. and the Global South.
Sponsored by Grassroots International
Moderator: Kolu Zigbi, program director for sustainable agriculture and food systems & Eat4Health Initiative, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, NY
Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, executive director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, GA Karissa Lewis, program director, People’s Grocery in West Oakland, CA Ricot Jean-Pierre, program director, Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA), Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Farmworkers have been on the front lines of occupational exposure to pesticides for decades. Each year upwards of 3,000 pesticide incidents are reported to the EPA and many more go unreported. In September 2015, after twenty years, the federal Agricultural Worker Protection Standard was revised to reduce the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers. This win, and its potential to improve the lives of some two million agricultural workers, was the result of years of work by a strong coalition of frontline communities and larger environmental groups.
This session explores how grassroots activists partner with national organizations to gain critical wins for justice in the food system. Using the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act as a springboard, we explore how America’s racial legacy led to the exclusion of agricultural workers from labor protections other workers enjoy, and how legislation like the Civil Rights Act is being used to address discriminatory practices that disproportionately impact people of color working in agriculture. We discuss how coalitions of ‘big and little’ groups deal internally with issues of race, gender, and
power and what it takes to sustain these relationships in the face of powerful moneyed interests. This workshop will help funders learn how these partnerships are structured and how we can help facilitate meaningful engagement
to achieve lasting change.
Sponsored by Broad Reach Fund
Moderator: Deborah Felder, advisor, Broad Reach Fund, ME
Speakers: Jeannie Economos, coordinator, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project, Farmworker Association of Florida, FL Lisa Garcia, vice president, Litigation for Healthy Communities, Earthjustice, NY Devika Ghai, organizer, Pesticide Action Network North America, CA
Join this session to learn about community-driven shared philanthropy and participate in a “flash giving circle.” Participants will be encouraged to donate (even if it is $1!); and Claneil Foundation will match up to $2,000 in donations made during the flash giving circle.
What happens when the power dynamics in grantmaking decisions that impact the food system are shared across race, class, and gender? What results develop when communities initiate their own philanthropy to address food-related issues? Community philanthropy is evolving, and you will hear from leaders of this evolution who have helped to turn grantmaking upside down by mobilizing communities to drive philanthropy. Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) has launched 50 giving circles by and for Asian American/Pacific Islander communities, which have collectively given out $2.2 million to over 450 organizations. ioby has sparked change in more than 150 communities using a crowd-sourcing/coaching platform, and has disbursed more than $2 million in citizen philanthropy. More than 70% of ioby leaders come from communities of color. We will learn from two leaders about how community philanthropy and a dedication to resident engagement can create social change.
Sponsored by Claneil Foundation
Moderator: Erin Barnes, co-founder and executive director, ioby, NY
Speakers: Noelle Ito, vice president of programs, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), CA Joyce L. Moore, co-founder and programs manager, Urban Patch, LLC, IN Kabzuag Vaj, co-founder and co-executive director, Freedom, Inc.; co-founder, Viv Ncaus: A Hmong Women’s Giving Circle, WI
Use this long lunch period to catch up with colleagues. Tables will be available for ad hoc conversations. Additionally, the following side lunch meetings will be taking place in private rooms.
Factory farm pollution disproportionately impacts African American and Latino communities in North Carolina, and lower-income communities of all racial backgrounds throughout the U.S. Leaders from the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and Earthjustice – both members of the Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative (AARC) – will discuss the civil rights complaint they filed in 2014 against the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for issuing permits for hog CAFOs, a complaint that highlights issues of environmental justice and creates opportunities for community engagement. AARC’s engagement manager will also share updates on the collaborative’s progress, its members’ shared vision and theory of change, and where the group is headed next.
Speakers: Sarah Bell, program director, 11th Hour Project, CA Scott Cullen, executive director, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY Marianne Engelman Lado, senior staff attorney, Earthjustice, NY Naeema Muhammad, co-director & community organizer, North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, NC Sara Rummel, engagement manager, Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative, NY
This project is a collaboration between USDA and private philanthropy, including many SAFSF members, to support value chain coordinators in regions across the country. With Food LINC officially launched, come to learn and discuss the latest developments of this work.
The Solidago Foundation has partnered with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to connect leaders, spread solutions, and attract investment toward local economies. This session brings together three BALLE fellows to discuss strategies to build an inclusive local economy through food. This session will focus on: 1) outlining small business, community-based, and anchor institution-based paths to building local food systems; 2) applying racial equity and community wealth building frames; 3) highlighting best practices and continuing challenges in this work; and 4) examining how philanthropy has and can continue to support this food system development work.
Steve Dubb will discuss the Green City Growers production greenhouse cooperative which employs 40 people from low-income neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio, and recent institution-anchored food systems in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angie Hawk will facilitate and examine ACEnet’s integrated infrastructure/capacity building/market access strategy in Appalachia and the BALLE connection. Jessica Norwood will outline pilots in the food sector designed to expand market opportunity for entrepreneurs, including a food truck park and market in Mobile County, Alabama, and a community capital initiative to help small farmers leverage resources to access larger markets.
Sponsored by Solidago Foundation
Moderator: Angie Hawk, director of development, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE); former president and CEO of ACEnet, CA
Speakers: Steven Dubb, research director, Democracy Collaborative, MD Ken Keck, director, Marketing Service, US Department of Agriculture, DC Jessica Norwood, executive director and founder, Emerging ChangeMakers Network, AL
Americans ingest more food media than ever before and while the Age of the Internet has brought incredible opportunity for sustainable food advocates, the airwaves are full of empty calories and confusing, often contradictory information about all things food-related, from nutrition to externalities. Corporate media consolidation, technology, advertising, and consumer appetites have all made for blurry lines between hard news, advertorials, and click bait. In a continually shifting media landscape where even the largest, most trusted publications struggle to stay afloat, quality independent media has never been more important, and funders have an important role to play as independent publishers seek sustainable models to keep researchers and writers paid, and us all informed.
Using real stories as case studies, this panel will dig into what constitutes good food journalism—and what doesn’t; the line between advocacy and reporting; how their important stories have been used to move policy and win hearts and minds; and the big question: how will we pay for our media diet in the coming years?
Sponsored by GRACE Communications Foundation
Moderator: Leslie Hatfield, communications director, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY
Speakers: Urvashi Rangan, executive director, Safety and Sustainability, Consumer Reports, NY Robert Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Investigative Reporting, CA Naomi Starkman, founder and editor-in-chief, Civil Eats, CA
Rural communities are home to many assets—land, people, social networks, cultural ties to the land—that provide the critical social, economic, and physical infrastructure for our food systems. But as urban populations grow, rural places are experiencing significant disinvestments by public agencies, private philanthropy, and corporate foundations. Increasingly, grassroots groups, including faith groups, youth groups, and senior groups, are taking on responsibility for basic services. In doing so, their creativity and resourcefulness is reaching and engaging the most vulnerable households and communities, increasing access to healthy foods, and leveraging policy and systems change in rural places.
This interactive session will showcase research, findings, and recommendations regarding the proven impacts of philanthropic investments in grassroots organizations. Hear stories about funder partnerships and alternative grantmaking approaches that can be used to reach the most vulnerable populations, especially low-income communities and communities of color. Meet rural community leaders who will share how their community engagement strategies are leveraging food systems change work in a small rural city (population of 15,000). And join in the small group discussions, brainstorming, and interactive (fun!) activities to generate action-oriented take-aways (“what can I do?”) for all participants.
Sponsored by The Conservation Fund
Moderator: Tracey Greene-Washington, program officer, Community Economic Development, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, NC
Speakers: Ben Barge, field associate, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, DC Marion Brodie Williams, president, Southern Organic Female Farmers Association, NC Ardis Crews, president, Green Rural Redevelopment Organization, NC
The Obama Administration has made historic strides in advancing food systems work within the federal government. From the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative to the six-agency Local Food, Local Places effort, work within and across federal agencies on food systems is stronger than ever. In many places, foundations and the feds are finding ways to work together collaboratively. But those partnerships have their challenges—and as we look ahead to a change in administration, many are asking whether public-private partnerships will be able to weather the transition. This session will forge an honest, open discussion of issues fundamental to ensuring strong philanthropic-federal collaboration over the long term:
❧ What is the “right” role for philanthropy and the “right” role for government in food systems work? Can we clarify what it means to be good partners?
❧ How can we develop partnerships that will survive a change in administration? What are some of the lasting structures within federal agencies that foundations must understand and leverage in their food systems work?
❧ What do federal partners need to understand about foundation strategy and decision-making processes, and how can partnerships survive when foundation leadership or approaches change?
We will be joined by federal career employees, who will contribute to the discussion of opportunities to strengthen the connective tissue between institutions and across administrations.
Sponsored by Surdna Foundation
Moderator: Tatianna Echevarria, program associate, Surdna Foundation, NY
Speakers: Claudette Fernandez, acting director, Education and Research Division, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA
Rural Development, DC Thomas Guevara, deputy assistant secretary, Economic Development Administration, DC Chris Kabel, deputy director, Health, Kresge Foundation, MI Michael Roberts, program manager, 11th Hour Project, CA
5:30-6:00 pm Walk to Muhammad Ali Center (144 N. 6th Street in downtown Louisville)
The Center is about a 10-minute walk from The Brown Hotel and overlooks the Ohio River.
6:00-7:00 pm Private Museum Access—One Hour Only!
SAFSF Forum participants will have private access to tour the Muhammad Ali Center’s powerful and inspirational museum exhibits.
7:00-9:30 pm Reception and Dance Party (2nd floor indoor/outdoor LeRoy Neiman Gallery and Brown-Forman Pavilion)
Celebrate our week together with good food, drink, and music. Get ready to dance to Appalatin, a local band that offers a unique blend of traditional Appalachian music and upbeat Latin grooves!
Throughout the evening, the trailer of a new, unreleased film, will be available for viewing for those interested.
The SEER is a cinematic portrait of the changing landscape and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the mind’s eye of Wendell Berry.
The Brown Hotel operates a shuttle that can be used for transportation at the end of the party if you are not interested in the return walk.