Jennifer Astone, executive director, Swift Foundation, CA Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Investing in the Food System…
JEN ASTONE joined the Swift Foundation as Executive Director in 2011. Swift Foundation provides grants and investment capital to promote cultural and biological diversity with a focus on land stewards and agroecology. Through this work, Swift funds organizations led by or focused on Indigenous and other communities involved in advocating for land and resource rights, investing in traditional knowledge systems and creating alternative economic models. Jen leads Swift’s work with two sustainable[…]
agriculture collaboratives: the AgroEcology Fund and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. She also supports Swift’s initiatives with First Nations and civil society in the Sacred Headwaters region of Northwest British Columbia, and with food sovereignty advocates in the countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Prior to Swift, Jen served as the first executive director of the Firelight Foundation and as Africa program officer with the Global Fund for Women, two foundations focused on grassroots grantmaking to community-based and human rights organizations. She has a PhD in cultural anthropology based on fieldwork she conducted on women’s home gardens in Guinea, West Africa.
Ben Barge, field associate, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, DC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Investing in the Grassroots…
BEN BARGE is a Field Associate with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and is passionate about mobilizing resources for community-led, systemic change. As part of NCRP’s Field Department, he drives efforts for Philanthropy’s Promise, Pulse webinars and other strategic campaigns. Before NCRP, Ben worked as a fellow at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, where he facilitated grantmaking, evaluation and special projects across five portfolios: Community Economic Development, Social Justice & Equity, Strengthening Democracy, Public Education, and the Environment.[…]
While there he coordinated an emerging network of rural funders, managed a nonprofit internship program for diverse next generation leaders and helped improve responsive programming for Latino-led grantees. A Southeastern native, Ben was born and raised in Georgia and holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science and Spanish.
Erin Barnes, co-founder and executive director, ioby, NY Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Upside Down or Rightside Up…
ERIN BARNES is the co-founder and Executive Director of ioby. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded Erin Barnes and her co-founders at ioby the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Technology and Innovation. ioby mobilizes neighbors who have good ideas to become powerful citizen leaders who plan, fund and make positive change in their own neighborhoods. Erin met her co-founders while in graduate school at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Before ioby, Erin Barnes was an editor at Men’s Journal magazine, freelance writer, and contributor to Al Gore’s book Our Choice. She conducted field research on water and fisheries markets in […]
Nicaragua and the Amazon, and worked as a community organizer at the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. She has a B.A. in English and American Studies from the University of Virginia and an M.E.M from Yale University. Erin lives in Brooklyn and serves on the Board of EcoDistricts, Resource Media, and as an advisor to ArtBridge.
Sarah Bell, program director, Schmidt Family Foundation / 11th Hour Project, CA Thursday, 12:30-2:45 pm: Factory Farms and Environmental Justice
SARAH BELL is program director for The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program in ecological agriculture and regional food systems. She sits on the boards of Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA and the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and holds a BA in both English literature and French from the University of Colorado. An enthusiastic supporter of permaculture and former student at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, Sarah lives in San[…]
Francisco with her husband and two sons.
Cornelius Blanding, executive director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, GA Thursday, 9:00-10:30 am: Plenary: Rural America on the Frontline Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Black Lands Matter…
CORNELIUS BLANDING is Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Coops. He is a seasoned and dynamic speaker who has played an important role in helping keep lands in the hands of family farmers, in this case primarily African-American ones. The Federation was born in 1967 out of the civil rights movement. Its members are farmers in 16 Southern states, approximately 90% of them African-American, but also Native[…]
American, Latino, and White. Cornelius can bring to the discussion a long-term perspective on food sovereignty, since he has helped the FSC maintain a longstanding leadership on the issue of land for Black communities, and helping forge strong links with other communities and movements both domestically and internationally.
Marion Brodie Williams, president, Southern Organic Female Farmers Association, NC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Investing in the Grassroots…
MARION BRODIE WILLIAMS is president of Southern Organic Female Farmers Association. She is a native of Henderson, (Vance County) North Carolina, and a graduate of North Carolina Central University with three major concentrations in History, Accounting, and Education. Ms. Williams has over thirty years of experience in accounting and management with the County of Vance; and served as Chair of the Math Department of the Kittrell Job Corps Center’s Educational Department. She also worked as Office Manager and a Microenterprise Loan Manager for the Gateway Community[…]
Development Corporation in Henderson, and owned and operated a successful Small Tax and Small Business Consultant Business for more than twenty years.
Ms. Williams has devoted her time, energy and passion to making her community a better place for all who live there. In recent years, Marion worked with her two sisters to form a community garden for the neighborhood. This community improvement project led to the organization and establishment of the Southern Organic Female Farmers Association (SOFFA) and also lifted up the need for neighborhood representation on the City Council. In her role as President of SOFFA, Ms. Williams is creating opportunities for women to create their own employment opportunities in agriculture through small micro-market farms. Last year she ran for, and won the position of City Councilwoman for the City of Henderson, NC.
Faye Brown, consultant, Native American Natural Foods; campaign consultant, Tanka Fund, SD Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Investing in the Food System…
FAYE BROWN operates her own consulting business serving solution-oriented initiatives through strategic planning, campaign management and development. She is the campaign consultant for the Tanka Fund, a donor advised fund at Indian Land Tenure Foundation coordinated by Native American Natural Foods, creator of the Tanka brand of healthy buffalo snacks. She has a 36 year track record in successful work with Native led organizations and businesses.
Rebecca Burgess, executive director, Fibershed, CA Wednesday, 8:30-5:00 pm: Site Visit: Interwoven Future…
REBECCA BURGESS is the Executive Director of Fibershed, and Chair of the Board for Carbon Cycle Institute. She has over a decade of hands on experience at the intersection of restoration ecology and fiber systems. She has taught at Westminster College, Harvard University, and has created workshops for a range of NGOs and corporations. She is the author of the best-selling book Harvesting Color, a bioregional look into the natural dye traditions of North America. She has built an extensive network of farmers and artisans within our region’s Northern California Fibershed to pilot the regenerative[…]
fiber systems model at the community scale. She grows indigo at a commercial scale…(when California is not completely drought stricken).
Becky Ceperley, founding member and consultant for Philanthropic Engagement Project, Appalachia Funders Network, WV Tuesday, 6:30pm: Sponsored Dinner: A Taste of Appalachia
BECKY CEPERLEY is retired as the CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation in Charleston, WV. She is currently serving as consultant to the Appalachian Funders Network Philanthropic Engagement Project. She is also a member of the Charleston, WV City Council. She serves on a variety of non-profit boards including the Capitol Market, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Visiting Committee for West Virginia University, Charleston Main Street, and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. Ms. Ceperley is a former national President of the League of […]
Women Voters of the United States. She has served on the national Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights, the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the national Campaign Finance Institute, and the West Virginia Election Commission. Becky is the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Political Science Distinguished Alumni Awards. She has an honorary doctor of law degree from Ripon College in Wisconsin and the University of Charleston in West Virginia.
Alison Cohen, senior director of programs, WhyHunger, NY Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Agroecology: For People, Land, and Community
ALISON COHEN is Senior Director of Programs at WhyHunger, where she facilitates the development and stewardship of the organization’s vision, strategy and programmatic implementation. Prior to joining WhyHunger, Alison served as the Northern Program Manager for Heifer International from 2001-2008. She was responsible for developing partnerships throughout the northeast and Midwest regions with local communities and like-minded organizations to build sustainable food systems where limited-resource families, communities and beginner farmers – both rural and urban – have access to[…]
healthy food and income-earning opportunities. Prior to transferring to New York, Alison served as the director of Heifer International’s first urban agriculture program based in Chicago, IL for five years. Alison has a master’s degree in Sociology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an undergraduate degree in French and English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the past ten years, she has worked with farmers and communities in West Africa, Latin America, Canada and the United States. Alison lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters with whom she started the PS 29 Food and Farming Initiative that hosts a school vegetable garden and works to improve the quality of food served in the cafeteria.
Ardis Crews, president, Green Rural Redevelopment Organization, NC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Investing in the Grassroots…
ARDIS CREWS is president of Green Rural Redevelopment Organization. She was born, raised and educated in Nash County, North Carolina. Her early career was in retail management as a buyer and department head. She married Henry Crews and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she was employed by Chicago City Colleges, and retired as a Dean with thirty years of service. Ardis worked tirelessly in her community while living in North Carolina and served as a Block Club and Community Association leader in her West Chesterfield community of Chicago.[…]
Retirement brought Ardis and her husband to Henderson NC were she continues to serve her community. She is currently serving as a Guardian ad Litem and President of the Vance County Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board. She also serves on the Boards of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Southern Organic Female Farmers Association, USDA Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the Warren County Correctional Community Resource Service Committee.
She and her husband are the owners of The Crews Farm, a micro market demonstration farm which along with its sister farm, the Brodie Family Farm, have become the trend setters in small farming in our region. Additionally, Ardis is the director of the Micro Market Farm School.
Tim Crosby, investor, Thread Fund, WA Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
TIM CROSBY leads the Thread Fund that focuses on business development and financing for healthy and sustainable food enterprises. Tim is Coordinator of the Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project, Steering Committee member for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders Steering Committee, participant in the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Founding Board Member for the Partners for Rural Washington, and a partner with Social Venture Partners. Previously Tim was previously Director of Slow Money Northwest and a professional photographer for 15 years.[…]
Tim lives in Edmonds with his wife and two daughters, and coached club soccer for eleven years. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from Bainbridge Graduate Institute and a BA in Anthropology from Kenyon College.
Scott Cullen, executive director, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY Thursday, 12:30-2:45 pm: Factory Farms and Environmental Justice
SCOTT CULLEN is the executive director at GRACE Communications Foundation. He is also an environmental attorney and previously worked on coastal and marine conservation issues with the The Nature Conservancy and on energy issues with various nonprofits. Scott has also served on several county, state and federal advisory committees and is a member of the board of directors of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders Network, as well as the Vermont Law School Environmental Advisory Board.
Kate Danaher, lending manager, RSF Social Finance, CA Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
KATE DANAHER focuses on business development under the umbrella of food and agriculture at RSF Social Finance. In particular, Kate is working to deploy RSF’s lending products to help build more resilient regional food systems in the US. She started her career in rural economic development and received her MBA from Colorado State University in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise.
Kyle Datta, general partner, Ulupono Initiative, HI Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
KYLE DATTA is general partner of Ulupono Initiative, a Hawaii-focused for-profit, impact investment firm that is working to improve the quality of life in Hawaii through sustainable investments in three key areas: more locally produced food, renewable energy, and waste reduction. Previously, Mr. Datta was the CEO of U.S. Biodiesel Group, a national biodiesel firm funded by private equity; Managing Director of Research and Consulting at the Rocky Mountain Institute; and a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton where he served as managing partner of the firm’s Asia energy practice and head of the U.S. […]
utilities practice. Mr. Datta received a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management and a master’s degree in environmental science in resource economics from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is co-author of the RMI books “Winning the Oil End Game” and “Small is Profitable.” Mr. Datta serves on the board of directors for Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaii BioEnergy and Parker Ranch.
Dee Davis, president, Center for Rural Strategies, KY Thursday, 9:00-10:30 am: Plenary: Rural America on the Frontline
DEE DAVIS is the founder of the Center for Rural Strategies. Dee has helped design and lead national public information campaigns on topics as diverse as commercial television programming and federal banking policy. Dee began his media career in 1973 as a trainee at Appalshop, an arts and cultural center devoted to exploring Appalachian life and social issues in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Dee went on to serve as executive producer of Appalshop Films and Headwaters Television. During his tenure, the organization created more than 50 public TV documentaries, established a media training program for Appalachian youth, and launched initiatives that use media as a strategic tool in[…]
organization and development. Dee served as president and chairman of the board of the Independent Television Service, president of Kentucky Citizens for the Arts, and as a panelist and consultant to numerous private and public agencies. Dee serves on the board of directors of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Fund for Innovative Television, and Feral Arts of Brisbane, Australia. He is also a member of the national advisory boards of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI). Dee received an English degree from the University of Kentucky. He lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky.
Bridget Dobrowski, program and operations manager, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, CA Tuesday, 9:00-10:00 am: Plenary: Race, Class, Gender and Power in the Food System
BRIDGET DOBROWSKI joined the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders in August 2009. She has a master’s in environmental science and management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was honored as a national Doris Duke Conservation Fellow. Other experience includes working for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; interning with the Sonoran Institute in Montana and the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara; and working as a biological[…]
field technician for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service in Montana, Idaho, and Utah. In addition to Bridget’s passion for the environment, she has become a dedicated practitioner of AcroYoga and loves shopping at the farmers’ market, sewing, and crocheting.
Steven Dubb, research director, Democracy Collaborative, MD Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Building an Inclusive Local Economy Through Food
STEVE DUBB is Director of Special Projects and Senior Advisor to the President at The Democracy Collaborative and has been with the Collaborative since 2004. In addition to his research and project-based work, Steve regularly represents the Collaborative at public events and conferences.
At the Collaborative, Steve has written extensively on community wealth building as it relates to public policy, sustainability, community development, anchor institutions, health, and much more. Steve has also been engaged in a wide range of project-based work[…]
including working on the initial strategic planning that helped lead to the development of the Evergreen Cooperatives initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, Steve has participated in writing a number of feasibility studies in cities across the country that seek to identify ways that area anchor institutions can leverage their purchasing strength to help create community-owned businesses and/or better support existing businesses in low-income neighborhoods. In addition, Steve is part of the Collaborative’s Learning/Action Lab team that is partnering with the Northwest Area Foundation and Native American organizations to develop employee-owned businesses and social enterprises in Indian Country, both in urban areas and on reservation land.
Earlier in his career, Steve worked in various positions involving cooperatives and social justice work. He was a co-manager of the Groundwork Books Collective in San Diego, California, he worked as a researcher in the International Office of the Organizing Department of the United Steelworkers, and he was Executive Director of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO).
Tatianna Echevarria, program associate, Surdna Foundation, NY Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Forging Sustainable Partnerships…
TATIANNA ECHEVARRIA serves as the Senior Program Associate of Sustainable Environments at the Surdna Foundation. She helps to manage the program’s day to day grantmaking activities and logistics. She also serves as the program’s Food Fellow, working with grantees who are taking innovative approaches to restoring regional food systems by strengthening urban and rural connections. Tatianna was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Vietnam, where she worked alongside experienced instructors to enhance students’ English speaking skills. She was a community organizer for the[…]
Corbin Hill Food Project, where she led food distribution and community engagement efforts at sites across New York City. She began her work in community development and environmental justice at The Point Community Development Corporation in the South Bronx. Tatianna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges where she cofounded the Race and Racism Coalition.
Jeannie Economos, coordinator, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project, Farmworker Association of Florida, FL Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Partnering for Justice in the Food System
JEANNIE ECONOMOS, is the Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida: Jeannie has worked for over 20 years on issues of the environment, environmental justice, indigenous and immigrants’ rights, labor, peace and social justice. From 1996-2001, she worked for the Farmworker Association of Florida as the Lake Apopka Project Coordinator, addressing the issues of job loss, displacement and health problems of the farmworkers who worked on the[…]
farm lands on Lake Apopka prior to the closing of the farms in 1998. From 2007 until the present, she has been the coordinator of the pesticide health and safety program of the organization, which includes annually training over 500 farmworkers in Florida on their rights and protections in the workplace and how to protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure. She is, also, engaged in local, state, national and international coalitions and collaborations related to farmworker rights and health and safety, pesticide reduction, sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. She is currently co-coordinator of the Lake Apopka Farmworkers Memorial Quilt Project whose purpose is to raise awareness about the impacts of pesticides on the former farmworkers on Lake Apopka.
Marianne Engelman Lado, senior staff attorney, Earthjustice, NY Thursday, 12:30-2:45 pm: Factory Farms and Environmental Justice
MARIANNE ENGELMAN LADO is a senior staff attorney with Earthjustice in the Northeast regional office in New York. She joined Earthjustice with more than twenty years of experience working on issues of health within the civil rights context. Previously, Marianne served for ten years as the director of litigation and advocacy at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a non-profit civil rights law firm that focuses on racial and ethnic disparities in access to health care, environmental justice, and […]
disability rights. She was also a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), where she represented clients attempting to break barriers of access to health care and quality education. Marianne has also played a key role in the development of the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights, a nationwide effort to address the rollback of civil rights by the courts. Marianne has lectured widely and has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in public administration, health policy, family law, and education law at the School of Law at Seton Hall University and at Baruch College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University, a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and an Masters of Arts in politics from Princeton University.
Deborah Felder, advisor, Broad Reach Fund, ME Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Partnering for Justice in the Food System
DEBORAH FELDER is an advisor to the Broad Reach Fund, a collection of donor-advised funds set up by an anonymous family. She provides strategic direction and grantmaking services to the fund. The fund’s focus areas include sustainable food systems including community fisheries; environmental health and justice; immigrant, refugee and worker rights; and corporate accountability. She is the former director of Maine Initiatives, a social justice fund.
Claudette Fernandez, acting director, Education and Research Division, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development, DC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Forging Sustainable Partnerships…
CLAUDETTE FERNANDEZ currently serves as Acting Director for Rural Business-Cooperative Service’s Education and Research Division. She also leads the agency’s national Community Economic Development Team and its capacity building, training, and technical assistance mission including Strikeforce and Promise Zones initiatives. Claudette has over 15 years of program management and community economic development experience at the local, regional, federal and international levels.[…]
Claudette previously served as the Director of Rural Business – Cooperative Service’s Specialty Lending Programs Division managing technical assistance and revolving loan fund programs that funded projects for business development and local food systems. Prior to joining USDA in 2012, Claudette served as a Senior Program Manager for FEMA leading disaster policies, administering preparedness and mitigation exercises, grant programs and implementing post-disaster rebuilding strategies.
Prior to federal service, Claudette served with the Southern Georgia Regional Development Center, Prince George’s County Department of Housing & Community Development, and supported African and Middle-Eastern humanitarian affairs at the United Nations Secretariat. Originally from the Philippines, Claudette has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from Valdosta State University, a Master of Engineering in Emergency Management from George Washington University and a Graduate Certificate in International Business Management from Georgetown University.
Kathleen Fluegel, executive director, HRK Foundation, MN Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
KATHLEEN FLUEGEL is executive director of HRK Foundation and a member of the management team of HRK Group, a three- generation family office in St. Paul, MN. HRK is a place-based family foundation with a long-term commitment to the arts and an emerging interest in impact investing. HRK has begun discretionary grantmaking in the area of access to healthy food, primarily at the behest of individual trustees. Kathleen has extensive experience in the arts beginning at MoMA in New York where she translated the Mies van der Rohe papers, and development and senior management positions at P.S. 1 (now part of MoMA) and the Walker Art Center and Weisman Art Museum in[…]
Minneapolis. Kathleen has served on many boards and is currently a member of the steering committee for the national PRI-Makers Network. She holds a PhD in German literature from New York University and can twirl ten hula-hoops at one time.
Lisa Garcia, vice president, Litigation for Healthy Communities, Earthjustice, NY Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Partnering for Justice in the Food System
LISA GARCIA is the Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities, where she charts Earthjustice’s course in groundbreaking and high-impact litigation to protect communities and families from the wide range of pollution issues that confront them on a daily basis. For decades, Earthjustice has worked at the regional and national levels to ensure widespread protections from air and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. […]
Prior to coming to Earthjustice, Lisa served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, a role where she elevated environmental justice issues to the highest levels of the agency. She helped draft and implement Plan EJ 2014, EPA’s roadmap to integrating and strengthening environmental justice. Garcia also worked to promote meaningful, working relationships with overburdened, low income, minority and tribal communities, as well as build strong partnerships. She led the Environmental Justice Interagency Workgroup with other Federal agencies—including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce—to address some of the country’s most persistent environmental challenges. Previous to her role at the EPA, Garcia served as the Chief Advocate for Environmental Justice and Equity at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where she developed statewide environmental justice initiatives, and served as co-chair of the Governor’s Environmental Justice Interagency Task Force. Garcia also served as Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General, where she represented various state agencies in environmental litigation matters and defended New York’s Brownfields Cleanup Program.
Devika Ghai, organizer, Pesticide Action Network North America, CA Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Partnering for Justice in the Food System
DEVIKA GHAI is an Organizer at Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). PANNA is part of an international network that works to replace the pesticide-dependent industrial agricultural model with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. Devika’s work at PAN centers on raising the voices of frontline communities such as farmworkers, small farmers, rural families, and Indigenous people in creating and advocating for these solutions.
Tim Gibbons, communications director, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, MO Tuesday, 6:30-9:00 pm: Building Power and Changing the Narrative…
TIM GIBBONS has been with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) since 2005 and currently serves as their communications Director. MRCC is a statewide farm and rural membership organization with 5,600 member families. Tim works with MRCC to organize a large membership base of farm families, rural citizens and concerned consumers on numerous local, state and federal farm and food issues, as well as assisting with MRCC communications efforts. MRCC works to ensure that agriculture policies benefit the […]
vast majority of Missouri’s independent family farms and livestock producers, instead of facilitating the proliferation and vertical integration of industrial livestock operations and monopolized market control of livestock markets by transnational corporations. Tim also helps manage Patchwork Family Farms, MRCC’s on-the-ground economic development program, which connects sustainable hog producers to consumers through direct-to-consumer sales, sales to restaurants, grocery stores and consumers including middle and lower-income populations.
Tracey Greene-Washington, program officer, Community Economic Development, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, NC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Investing in the Grassroots…
TRACEY GREENE-WASHINGTON joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in June 2011 as the program officer who oversees the Community Economic Development focus area. Prior to this position, Tracey worked with the National Rural Funders Collaborative as a program officer and director of learning and evaluation. At the Collaborative she managed a portfolio of grantees in NC, SC, AR, LA, MS, CA and the Northern Plains. She also led projects regarding family economic success and regional asset[…]
development, as well as structural racism in rural communities of color. Tracey previously worked as the director of technical assistance and training for the SC Association of Community Development Corporations and is currently involved in Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Tracey is a native of North Carolina.
Thomas Guevara, deputy assistant secretary for regional affairs, Economic Development Administration, DC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Forging Sustainable Partnerships…
THOMAS GUEVARA serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, directing and supervising the activities of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Regional Affairs, which includes all six EDA Regional Offices, the Performance and National Programs Division, EDA’s Loan Guarantee Program, the Integrated Economic Development team, and EDA’s Organizational Development team. He also is the Grants Officer for the agency’s Regional Innovation Strategies program, which […]
awards grants to state, local, non-profit and tribal organizations to create and sustain regional systems of innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital development.
Regan Gruber Moffitt, associate vice president, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, AR Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: The Cost of Industrial Agriculture to Rural America
REGAN GRUBER MOFFITT is the associate vice president at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF), where she is responsible for helping WRF proactively identify and support policy and advocacy activities that support increased prosperity in the state of Arkansas. Regan also oversees the Foundation’s initiatives and investments around workforce, immigration, asset development, and nonprofit capacity. Regan serves as a board member for Southeastern Council of Foundations and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and is on the steering committee for Grantmakers for Southern Progress.
Andrew Gunther, executive director, A Greener World, OR Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Animal Welfare Approved at Swallow Rail Farm
ANDREW GUNTHER, the executive director of A Greener World, has spearheaded AWA’s growth and development into the only “highly meaningful” food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access, and sustainability, as designated by Consumer Reports. Andrew works to increase the availability of Certified AWA meat, dairy, and eggs in traditional retail settings and recently led the launch of Certified Grassfed by AGW, the only label to guarantee 100% forage diet and high-welfare management. Andrew is a member of the U.S. delegation for development of standards related to ISO/TC 034/WG 16.
Leslie Hatfield, communications director, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Food for Thought: High Quality Independent Media…
LESLIE HATFIELD is the senior partnership and outreach advisor at GRACE Communications Foundation, where she advises on communications matters and collaborates with like-minded organizations on the development and refinement of external communications. Leslie has contributed to The Huffington Post, EcoWatch, Alternet, Edible Hudson Valley, Acres USA and others, and served as lead author of the publication Cultivating the Web: High Tech Tools for the Sustainable Food […]
Movement. She also serves as visiting faculty at The Evergreen State College, where she teaches a masters level elective on food policy.
Angie Hawk, director of development, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE); former president and CEO of ACEnet, CA Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Building an Inclusive Local Economy Through Food
ANGIE HAWK is the Director of Development at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). She has extensive experience in non-profit leadership, organizational development, social enterprise, and fundraising. Previously, Angie served over 9 years as President and CEO of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), a community based economic development organization, and ACEnet Ventures, a regional loan fund. In addition, she has held positions as COO for the[…]
Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, Director of Ohio University’s Kids on Campus Community Partnership, and public school educator. She is also a BALLE Local Economy Fellow as well as an Aspen Institute SCALE Academy Fellow. Angie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Ohio University.
Michael Higgins, CEO, Custom Food Solutions, KY Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Investing in the Food System…
MIKE HIGGINS was appointed President & Operating Partner of Custom Food Solutions in 2012 where he is responsible for the overall performance and success of the company. In the three years under Mike’s leadership CFS has flourished by growing its annual revenue 16% and EBDITA 25%. Mike’s tenacity and knowledge of the restaurant industry has enabled him to procure many new clients, develop a wide variety of customized products and deliver specialized packaging for the industrial, retail, restaurant and convenience store markets. Mike believes that by being equipped with the latest[…]
product development and production technology, and by having a superior team CFS is able to provide exceptional quality products to its partners.
Along with his twin brother, Matt, they formed TW-Indiana LLC, a franchisee of Tumbleweed Tex Mex Margarita Bar & Grill in 1998. Mike served as the Chief Operations Officer overseeing all operational and financial areas of the company. In 2007, Mike was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Tumbleweed Inc., the parent company. In 2009, Mike and Matt purchased Tumbleweed Inc. and as a result acquired Custom Food Solutions LLC. Mike has a rich history in the restaurant industry that enables him to understand his clients’ needs.
Mike’s previous work experience includes ten years in the restaurant industry, holding positions in every function of a casual dine restaurant. Prior to partnering with TW-Indiana, LLC Mike worked for Brown-Forman Beverage Company for 11 years. After positions in sales, sales promotion and marketing, he concluded his Brown-Forman career as Director of Canada, responsible for sales, marketing, production and distribution for the company’s spirits brands, including Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort.
Kevin Irby, investment associate, Armonia LLC, CT Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
KEVIN (KIRBY) IRBY is an investment associate at Armonia LLC, a private equity and venture capital firm focused on scaling environmental restoration efforts through regenerative agriculture. Prior to Armonia, he worked with C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S., where he gained experience as a supply chain strategist in the food system. He is also an active conservation biologist and previously worked with The Nature Conservancy on Martha’s Vineyard. Before his environmental career, Kevin worked in contemporary art and translation in France,[…]
and as a photographer in Spain. He received his BA in conservation biology from Middleburg College in Vermont, with additional coursework at Sciences Po Bordeaux, after attending The United World College of the Atlantic in St. Donat’s, Wales. Kevin is a Texas native currently living in NYC and enjoys trail running, hiking, reading, analogue photography, and irony.
Noelle Ito, vice president of programs, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), CA Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Upside Down or Rightside Up…
NOELLE ITO is the Vice President of Programs at AAPIP (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy), a national membership and philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. In her current role, Noelle coordinates and connects AAPIP’s diverse incubation, research and community philanthropy program areas to maximize shared learning and increase overall program impact. Prior to her current role,[…]
Noelle launched and led AAPIP’s National Giving Circle Campaign to create a network of 50 giving circles to engage individuals in building democratic philanthropy.
Noelle has extensive experience in donor relations, having worked in several non-profit organizations from Washington DC to Los Angeles. Prior to joining AAPIP Noelle was the Director of Donor Relations for BronxWorks, in New York City. She has also served as the Director of Development for the Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles. Noelle received her MBA in Nonprofit Management from the American Jewish University and BA from the George Washington University in Human Services.
Ricot Jean-Pierre, program director, Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA), Port-au-Prince, Haiti Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Black Lands Matter…
RICOT JEAN PIERRE has worked as the Director of Programming at PAPDA since 1997. From 1997 to 2002, he coordinated the Campaign for the Cancellation of Haiti’s External Debt (The Jubilee Campaign). This campaign played a crucial role in pushing international financial institutions to forgive a major part of Haiti’s external debt. He is a graduate of the State University of Haiti, Madrid University, and the Latin American Institute for Economic and Social Planning. He was also coordinator of the Campaign Against Free Trade Zones in the Americas, participating in many of the mass[…]
mobilizations that were held around the continent. Currently, he is directing PAPDA’s Campaign against free trade agreements, and advocates for fairer economic, social and cultural reforms.
Chris Kabel, deputy director, Health Program, The Kresge Foundation, MI Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Forging Sustainable Partnerships…
CHRIS KABEL is deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program. He is responsible for developing and co-executing the Health team’s grantmaking and investment strategies to promote health equity. He also invites and reviews grant proposals in support of the Health Program’s goals, while contributing to the team’s learning and evaluation strategies. In addition, Chris promotes and fosters more effective cross-team work at the foundation, supporting the development of interdisciplinary […]
grantmaking and investment approaches that advance the strategies of multiple Kresge programs.
Andrew Kang Bartlett, associate for national hunger concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC(USA), KY Tuesday, 8:30-9:00 pm: Welcome
ANDREW KANG BARTLETT has worked with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Hunger Program in Louisville, KY since 2001. The Hunger Program educates Presbyterians and others about the systemic causes of hunger, works with congregations to care for creation, collaborates with partners on advocacy and justice campaigns, and funds domestic and international initiatives to build just and sustainable local/regional food […]
economies. Andrew coordinates the U.S.-based grantmaking program and works with the PHP team on consciousness raising and the development of educational materials. Andrew is a member of the steering committee for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders. Locally, in his free time, he stays active helping on the leadership team of the Food in Neighborhoods Community Coalition, growing okra at the cooperative farm La Minga, and serving on the West Louisville FoodPort Community Council.
Bruce Karmazin, executive director, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, IL Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: The Cost of Industrial Agriculture to Rural America
BRUCE KARMAZIN is Executive Director of the Lumpkin Family Foundation based in Mattoon, Illinois. His 30 years of nonprofit experience includes stints as a fundraising and management consultant and service as executive director of two Canadian hospital foundations. Bruce joined The Lumpkin Family Foundation in 2001 after completing a law degree and helping to found the Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center at the University of Iowa. Bruce serves on the Mattoon Arts Council and on the boards of Forefront Illinois[…]
and US Friends of Adonai, a Ugandan community development organization. Bruce is a member of the Illinois Bar.
Ken Keck, director, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, DC Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Building an Inclusive Local Economy Through Food
KEN KECK is the director of the Agricultural Marketing Service at USDA. Ken joins AMS from the California Citrus Research Board, where he served as President. He has deep knowledge and experience in working with farmers of all sizes and commissioning research that helps to address many of the challenges they face. Before that, Ken served as general counsel and executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus from 2006-2012. In addition, he served as the organization’s director of government affairs and general counsel from 2002-2006, and director of legislative and regulatory affairs with[…]
Florida Citrus Mutual from 1999-2002. Not only does Ken have legislative experience at the state level, he has also served in shaping federal farm policy for Congressman Sanford Bishop (Macon, GA) from 1997-1999 as his legislative director.
Reggie Knox, executive director, California FarmLink, CA Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Investing in the Food System…
REGGIE KNOX is Executive Director of FarmLink, and has been working on behalf of farmers and sustainable agriculture for 27 years. He joined California FarmLink in 2004 to help beginning and low-resource farmers access land and capital, and since then has facilitated the growth of FarmLink’s loan fund, and the organization’s emergence in 2013 as a certified Community Development Financial Institution. Throughout his career Reggie has developed expertise in farming, organic production, policy advocacy, program and non-profit management, land transactions and leases, farm financing,[…]
business development and farm succession. As Program Director at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, he ran the Lighthouse Farm Network, implementing hundreds of workshops for family farmers addressing farmland protection, resource conservation and economic options for small farmers. Earlier in his career he worked on the development and implementation of national organic standards; on sustainable agricultural development projects in Sri Lanka, India and Africa; and co-managing an eleven-acre organic farm.
Karen Lehman, director, Fresh Taste, IL Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Earth, We’ve Got You Covered…
KAREN LEHMAN directs Fresh Taste, a funder initiative dedicated to relocalizing the food system in the Chicago foodshed and improving equity of access to good food. Karen’s food system work spans three decades, beginning with an award-winning PBS documentary on women’s leadership in farm movements. Karen directed the local food and regional economy programs at The Minnesota Project; co-founded Youth Farm, located in Minneapolis and St. Paul; and directed the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Food and Agriculture Program. Karen also held an endowed chair in[…]
agricultural systems at the University of Minnesota, consulted with the Ford Foundation on rural development in Mexico, and received a Master’s of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow. Prior to her work with Fresh Taste, Karen was a senior associate with Cambridge Leadership Associates.
Karissa Lewis, program director, People’s Grocery in West Oakland, CA Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Black Lands Matter
KARISSA LEWIS directs People’s Grocery’s programs where she brings her love of land and her race analysis to the table. She is also a Black Radical Farmer from Oakland California, and is the co-founder of an urban farm in East Oakland, Full Harvest Urban Farm. She also works with CTWO a national training institute building the next generation of organizers, where she is the Training Director. She hopes to fuse her organizing work with her food justice work to build a sustainable and thriving black led food justice movement in Oakland. She has organized around issues ranging from gentrification[…]
to environmental racism, gang injunctions, and police brutality. Karissa believes that the movement for social justice has to be led by the people most affected, by building leadership in communities of color. She became politicized during the rebellions fighting for justice for Oscar Grant and through CTWOs MAAP program which she is a graduate. She is an active member of the BlackOut collective and the Bay Area Black Lives Matter chapter.
Michael (Mike) Lewis, farmer, Growing Warriors, KY Wednesday, 8:30-4:30 pm: Interwoven Future: Building Fibersheds & Social Enterprises
MICHAEL LEWIS began full-time farming in 2010 and, after supporting local farmer’s market and community supported agriculture efforts throughout 2011, founded America’s first Veteran Oriented food security organization, The Growing Warriors Project, in 2012. In 2013, Michael was a celebrated recipient of Kentucky’s Local Food Hero Award, an honor granted by Seed Capital Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to exceptional individuals who promote local, farm-fresh food grown in Kentucky. At the close of 2014, Yahoo lauded Michael as one of eight people who “Made our World[…]
a Better Place”. Compassionate and unfaltering, Michael’s impact is undeniable—even a brief conversation will show that his vision is contagious and will, as we work together, bring about the growth and change that Kentucky, the U.S., and our good green Earth so markedly needs.
Kate Long, co-director and website developer, Try This West Virginia, WV Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Knocking West Virginia Off the Top of the Worst Health Lists
KATE LONG is co-director and a founder of Try This West Virginia. A former journalist, she wrote the national award-winning Charleston Gazette series, The Shape We’re In, which detailed efforts local West Virginians are making to improve their communities’ health. That two-year-long series left her intimately familiar with local health efforts and led to the Try This Web site and Try This West Virginia As a full-time director of Try This, she oversees the Web site and other media and has organized two highly successful[…]
conferences, expanded state-level and regional partnerships. Most recently, she shepherded a faith-based companion project, West Virginia Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits. Long has won national awards for her journalism, songwriting, fiction and radio production. This year, she was a Purpose Prize Fellow for her Try This work. She is also a Senior Fellow for the California Endowment for Health Care Journalism. A West Virginia native with a master’s degree in special education, she loves to paint, photograph, make pots and sing harmony with friends.
Barry Lynn, senior fellow, New America Foundation, DC Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: The Cost of Industrial Agriculture to Rural America
Tuesday, 6:30-9:00 pm: Building Power and Changing the Narrative…
BARRY LYNN directs the Open Markets, and is a senior fellow at New America. He is author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction (Wiley 2010) and End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation (Doubleday 2005). Lynn’s groundbreaking writings on interdependence among nations and the growing fragility of complex industrial systems have attracted wide attention,[…]
and he has presented his work to high officials in China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Taiwan, and the European Commission, as well as in the White House and U.S. Treasury Department.
Lynn’s writings on the political and economic effects of the extreme consolidation of power in the U.S. have influenced the thinking of policymakers and antitrust professionals on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been profiled on CBS and in the New York Times, and his articles have appeared in publications including Harper’s, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Policy. He has appeared on CBS, PBS, CNN, the BBC, NPR, MSNBC, C-Span, and the Christian Broadcasting Network, among others. Prior to joining New America, Lynn was executive editor of Global Business Magazine for seven years, and worked as a correspondent in Peru, Venezuela, and the Caribbean for the Associated Press and Agence France Presse.
Scott Marlow, executive director, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, NC Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: When Less Is More…
SCOTT MARLOW is Executive Director of Rural Advancement Foundation International. He previously directed the organization’s Farm Sustainability Program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers seeking to increase the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets. His specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk[…]
management for value-added producers. Scott has served on the steering committee of the National Task Force to Renew Agriculture of the Middle, the Organization Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Board of the North Carolina Farm Transition Network, and currently serves on the NC Agricultural Advancement Consortium and the Advisory Committee of the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Scott holds a Master’s degree in Crop Science from NC State University and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.
Joyce L. Moore, co-founder and programs manager, Urban Patch, LLC, IN Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Upside Down or Rightside Up…
JOYCE L. MOORE is Co-Founder and Programs Manager of Urban Patch, LLC. This organization promotes people to actively engage in the community to make the “inner city” a better place to live. Urban Patch is a Social Enterprise that provides affordable housing, training opportunities for individuals to do neighborhood revitalization on a small scale, gardening, cooking and canning classes, environmental stewardship, permaculture landscaping, community building and community art.[…]
In addition, Joyce is an entrepreneur and state licensed real estate broker and owns her own real estate company. She is a member of the board of the Indy Food Council, a life member of both the Indiana University Alumni Association and NCNW (National Council of Negro Women) and a member of the NAACP. Joyce works with various community education outreach programs and loves to work with youth and young adults on career fulfillment and financial wealth development. Joyce is a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business with a BS specializing in Business Administration. She promotes entrepreneurship and self-sustainability.
Emily Moose, director of communications and outreach, Animal Welfare Approved, NC Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Animal Welfare Approved at Swallow Rail Farm
EMILY LANCASTER MOOSE, the director of communications and outreach for Animal Welfare Approved, developed an interest in food, sustainability, and agriculture at an early age during summer visits to her cousin’s hog farm in eastern Virginia. After studying sustainable agriculture in college, Emily gained hands-on experience working at several farms in her native state of North Carolina. Based in Pittsboro, NC, Emily now works with AWA to build consumer awareness of the program and provide farmers with the […]
highest level of service and support, leading AWA’s four-region Outreach Team, guiding communications, and developing new programs and initiatives within the program. She also coordinates AWA’s Labeling Assistance program.
Nelson Mudzingwa, national coordinator, Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Agroecology: For People, Land, and Community
NELSON MUDZINGWA is the National Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF). Nelson was born on a small family-run farm in Chiwundura in Zimbabwe. Acting on his passion for peasant farming, he studied at the Mlezu Agricultural College and was nominated to join the Natural Farming Network of Zimbabwe. He later worked at the Association of Zimbabwe Traditional Environmental Conservationists. Learning deeply from the cultural and spiritual knowledge systems of the rural communities and their cosmovision, Nelson worked on enhancing and[…]
expanding practices in the areas of agroecology, bio-cultural diversity conservation, traditional health knowledge systems and local technology development.
Since 2000, Nelson has lived and farmed on his homestead in Shashe, Masvingo district, where he coordinated and facilitated the innovation of the Shashe Agroecology School, which focuses on farmer to farmer training. He has supported the members of the school to develop “centers of excellence” to showcase vivid and excellent practices in agroecology and biocultural diversity conservation. Playing a leading role in the formation of ZIMSOFF to represent a strong farmers’ voice, he was elected as their volunteer coordinator. In 2013, he played a lead role in the process that led to ZIMSOFF becoming a member of La Via Campesina and subsequently hosting the International Operative Secretariat of LVC.
Naeema Muhammad, community organizer and co-director, North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), NC Thursday, 12:30-2:45 pm: Factory Farms and Environmental Justice
NAEEMA MUHAMMAD is currently serving as the Community Organizer/Co-Director of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN). She is also a founding member of BWFJ (Black Workers for Justice) in NC, a community-based organization that addresses workers’ rights issues at the workplace since 1981. Naeema has worked on two major projects dealing with waste from industrial hog operations. The first was Community Health and Environmental Reawakening (CHER), the second was […]
the Community Health Effects of Industrial Hog Operations (CHEIHO) project. In both projects she served as a community organizer, environmental justice educator, interviewer, and participant. She has co-authored publications regarding community based participatory research (most recently in the New Solutions Health Journal), and coordinated environmental monitoring and data collection in communities. Naeema is the wife of Saladin Muhammad of 49 years in which they have 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren and believes that the work they are doing will lead to a better life for the lives of the children and their families.
Jessica Norwood, executive director and founder, Emerging ChangeMakers Network, AL Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Building an Inclusive Local Economy Through Food
JESSICA NORWOOD is Founder and Executive Director of Emerging ChangeMakers Network. She is a tireless activist committed to the cause of community investing, who labors at the intersection of empowering grassroots leadership and facilitating innovative entrepreneurial ideas. Armed with an encyclopedic understanding of the intricacies of business development, she deploys strategies in the areas of capital, policy, and leadership development to transform the systems that prohibit communities from thriving in an increasingly harsh economic climate.[…]
As a leading social entrepreneur in her native Alabama, Jessica is a vocal evangelist for investing as a strategy to build community resiliency. Identifying the need for a springboard for those with a vested interest in the financial vibrancy of their respective communities, in 2012, she established the Emerging ChangeMakers Network. This initiative targets disenfranchised communities within the Deep South, providing a user-friendly business development toolbox of sorts that allows civically dedicated individuals to actively invest in their communities. An offshoot of the program, SOUL’UTIONS, was launched shortly thereafter, encompassing a network of investment clubs supporting socially conscientious businesses and economically vulnerable communities throughout the area.
Jessica has also served as a lead consultant for the following entities: the Center for Social Inclusion; Black Land Loss Prevention Project; Oxfam America, Coastal Communities Land and Water Restoration Policy; and the League of Independent Voters, League of Young Voters Education Fund, and League of Pissed-Off Voters PAC. Jessica has received many recognitions throughout her career, including: the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economies Fellowship; Harvard University, Hip-Hop Archive at the DuBois Institute, Political Power and Hip-Hop Fellowship; Duke University and Southern University, Effective Leaders Fellowship; University of South Alabama, Center for Healthy Communities Fellowship; and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, among others.
Jose Oliva, co-director, Food Chain Workers Alliance, CA Tuesday, 6:30-9:00 pm: Building Power and Changing the Narrative…
JOSE OLIVA is the Associate Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. He was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the U.S. Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello. He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the[…]
Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers’ Centers Network. In 2008 he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.
Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is the Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 300,000 workers.
Esther Park, CEO, Cienega Capital, CA Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Investing in the Food System…
ESTHER PARK is the CEO of Cienega Capital, a regenerative investment firm utilizing an integrated capital approach to systemic change in the areas of soil health, regenerative agriculture, and local food systems. Prior to joining Cienega Capital, Esther founded Commons Stock, an impact-focused due diligence consulting firm. Clients included high net worth individuals, foundations, and investment advisors. She has 15 years of experience in mission-based financial services ranging from microfinance to risk capital investments. Esther also serves as a Board member at New Resource Bank, Nutiva, and City Fresh Foods, as well as an Advisor to Kitchen Table Advisors.[…]
Esther has also served as the Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at RSF Social Finance, and oversaw all lending activity from 2007-2011, which resulted in a tripling of the loan portfolio, and the development of a mezzanine debt fund. Prior to joining RSF, Esther was a senior consultant for ShoreBank Advisory Services, where she provided strategic and capital planning advice for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), particularly small business and affordable-housing loan funds. She also trained lenders internationally in small business lending practices, and underwrote Program Related Investments (PRIs) for private foundation clients. And in a previous life, Esther lived in Nukus, Uzbekistan, teaching English and conducting program evaluation work for the United Nations. Esther received her MPP from University of Chicago and BA in Social Welfare from the University of California Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, Greg, and their two children, Evangeline and Bryce.
Urvashi Rangan, executive director, Safety and Sustainability, Consumer Reports, NY Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Food for Thought: High Quality Independent Media…
URVASHI RANGAN leads the Consumer Reports Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group. She is also the Executive Director of CR’s Food Safety and Sustainability Center and its website greenerchoices.org. She manages a team of public health based scientists in testing, research, risk assessment, analysis, and advocacy/lobby work for safety and food sustainability. She also manages ratings and related advocacy work for food eco-labels. Under her direction, over the past two years, Consumer Reports[…]
released several reports on food safety and food labeling including arsenic in grains part 2, 4-MEI cancer risk from caramel color in sodas, GMOs in processed foods, shrimp safety and production, chicken, beef, antibiotics in meat production and the results of national polling on food labeling and campaign to ban the “natural” label on food. She also led strategic efforts on detergent pod safety including Consumer Reports’ current position to not recommend liquid laundry pods for households with children under age 6. She is a national spokesperson and scientific expert for the organization and currently serves on the FDA Food Advisory Committee as well as on the Board of the American National Standards Institute. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and has been at Consumer Reports for 16 years.
Martin Richards, executive director, Community Farm Alliance; steering committee, Central Appalachian Network, KY Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 pm: Plenary: Understanding the Region
MARTIN RICHARDS is the Executive Director of Community Farm Alliance in Kentucky and a member of the Central Appalachian Network Steering Committee. A graduate of UK’s College of Architecture, Martin has been a tobacco farmer and the economic development organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Martin has been an active member of Community Farm Alliance for over 20 years, serving on the Board, as President, and as a CFA Fellow during the creation the Kentucky Agricultural[…]
Development Fund. Growing up in Western Pennsylvania Appalachia, Martin witnessed the decline of the steel industry. As an adult he has worked to help communities create a just transition from tobacco and from coal.
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO, Louisville Urban League, KY Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 pm: Plenary: Understanding the Region
SADIQA REYNOLDS became the eighth person and first woman to be president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League (LUL) in October of 2015. Prior to coming to the LUL Ms. Reynolds served as Chief for Community Building in the Office of the Louisville Mayor. In her position within the Office of the Mayor, she provided leadership to eight metro departments, overseeing approximately 1,400 employees and a combined budget of more than $100 million. Ms. Reynolds’ previous experience also includes serving[…]
as: District Court Judge in Jefferson County; Inspector General for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services; Chief of Staff for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness; and running her own law office for many years. Ms. Reynolds’ law practice included criminal defense, employment law and representing abused, neglected and dependent Louisville children by serving as Guardian Ad Litem. Ms. Reynolds’ career includes many firsts, not the least of which was serving as the first African American woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court. Ms. Reynolds received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky and earned her bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of Louisville. She has served on various boards and commissions within the community and has also been the recipient of a variety of community awards, including the Torch of Wisdom, the Tower Award for Public Service and the Champion for Community Recovery Award for her work in the mental health arena.
Michael Roberts, program manager, 11th Hour Project, CA Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Forging Sustainable Partnerships…
MICHAEL ROBERTS is a Program Manager on the Ecological Agriculture team of The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation. Michael oversees the team’s Regional Food Systems portfolio and supports movement-building efforts with a focus on California and the Southeastern US. Michael also leads the foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative.
Gerry Roll, Appalachia Funders Network Steering Committee Member; Executive Director of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, KY Tuesday, 6:30pm: Sponsored Dinner: A Taste of Appalachia
GERRY ROLL is the executive director of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, a community foundation committed to establishing an endowment in southeastern Kentucky based on the principles of rural development philanthropy. The Foundation was created in 2006 by Hazard Perry County Community Ministries, where Gerry served as executive director for 18 years. Her work in eastern Kentucky has been focused on equity in housing, early childhood education, and health care. In addition to the community […]
foundation, under her leadership Perry County established a regional Community Housing Development Organization, a federally qualified health center; a quality rated early care and education system and a full continuum of other support services for working families. She is recognized locally, regionally, statewide and nationally as an advocate for rural development and community philanthropy. Gerry lives in Busy Kentucky with her husband Dan who is an architect.
Jeff Rosen, chief financial officer, Solidago Foundation, MA Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
JEFF ROSEN is the chief financial officer for the Solidago Foundation and its affiliated Foundations, where he oversees all of the financial systems and manages both the Mission Related Investments (MRI) and Program Related Investment (PRI) portfolios. Jeff is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and holds a Master’s in Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine, where he worked to pioneer sustainability-focused impact assessment techniques. He has worked in the private sector as a serial entrepreneur, developing and selling food sector businesses, and as a chief financial officer for several restaurant chains and food […]
manufacturers. He is an active, founding member of PVGROWS, a local food system collaboration located in Western Massachusetts, where he is part of a group focused on financing the regional food economy. Jeff is an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Antioch University Sustainable MBA program, where he has taught Ecological Economics for Social Entrepreneurs since 2007. Jeff lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife and three children.
Robert Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Investigative Reporting, CA Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Food for Thought: High Quality Independent Media…
ROBERT J. ROSENTHAL is executive director of The Center for Investigative Reporting. An award-winning journalist, Rosenthal has worked for some of the most respected newspapers in the country, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer and, most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosenthal worked for 22 years at the Inquirer, starting as a reporter and eventually becoming its executive editor in 1998. He became managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2002, and[…]
joined CIR as executive director in 2008. Before joining the Inquirer in 1979, Rosenthal worked as a reporter for six years at The Boston Globe and three-and-a-half years at The New York Times, where he was a news assistant on the foreign desk and an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer-Prize winning Pentagon Papers project. As a reporter, Rosenthal won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World Reporting. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. Rosenthal was a Pulitzer Prize judge four times. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
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 Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: When Less Is More…
RANDI ILYSE ROTH began serving as Interfaith Action’s Executive Director July 2015. Randi’s most recent position was Executive Director of Philanthropy for the Otto Bremer Foundation. She led the Foundation for six years, providing strong leadership and grant-making focus that contributed to improved access to higher education, and supported anti-poverty programs for communities in need and for disadvantaged youth.[…]
Prior to that, she served for 12 years as a federal court-appointed Monitor for a national class action civil rights lawsuit brought by 22,000 African-American farmers. Beginning in 1986, she worked for 16 years at Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG), a nonprofit law firm that providing legal services for farm organizations nationwide. She began working at FLAG as a Staff Attorney and then served for 10 years as its Executive Director.
Randi earned her B.A. in Political Science from Yale University, and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Randi began her career as a civil legal aid attorney in Chicago, and moved to Saint Paul in 1986 to join the start-up team at FLAG. Randi is an active community volunteer, serving on the board of the Rural Advancement Foundation International, as a Trustee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Saint Paul, and as a member of the Legal Services Advisory Committee to the Minnesota Supreme Court. She is an active member of her synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights.
Sara Rummel, engagement manager, Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative, MN Thursday, 12:30-2:45 pm: Factory Farms and Environmental Justice
SARA RUMMEL is the engagement manager for the Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative (AARC). With the vision of a just and sustainable animal agriculture system, AARC convenes policy, advocacy, research, base building, and legal organizations from a variety of perspectives, including public health, environment, economic justice, and animal welfare. Sara built coalitions on a variety of environmental, health, and economic justice issues as the legislative director for the Service Employee’s International Union[…]
(SEIU) Minnesota State Council, and the political program coordinator for the Clean Water Action Alliance of Minnesota. She holds an MPA in environmental science and policy from Columbia University and a BA in critical social thought from Mount Holyoke College.
Christopher Sacco, co-founder and director of operations, Groundswell International, NC Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Agroecology: For People, Land, and Community
CHRISTOPHER SACCO serves as Director of Operations at Groundswell and is one of its co-founders. He also continues to consult on disaster risk reduction and community and family preparedness for a number of international organizations. Mr. Sacco brings 10 years experience in resource development and managing community development and disaster preparedness and rehabilitation programs. He previously worked as a project coordinator for the Yachana Foundation and as a project manager and consultant[…]
for Catholic Relief Services. His academic preparation includes a BA in Government and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College, a graduate certificate in the Design, Management and Evaluation of Sustainable Development Projects from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, and a graduate certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from UNC Chapel Hill.
Lillian Salerno, deputy under secretary for rural development, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), DC Thursday, 9:00-10:30 am: Plenary: Rural America on the Frontline
LILLIAN SALERNO was appointed by President Obama as Deputy Under Secretary. As Deputy Under Secretary for the Rural Development Mission Area, she oversees the development of strategies and policy initiatives. Previously serving as Administrator of Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), Salerno oversaw numerous business development programs that obligated over $11 billion in grants and guaranteed loans over the last six years and a multitude of programs that spur economic development[…]
and job growth throughout rural America. Salerno further promotes Secretary Vilsack’s vision for strengthening the bioeconomy and supporting local and regional foods. During her tenure at USDA, Salerno has helped champion Tribal lending, public- private partnerships, increasing access to capital for rural communities, in addition to participating in The White House Business Council. Deputy Under Secretary Salerno continues to play a crucial role in support of several USDA nation-wide initiatives including: Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), Made in Rural America, Rural Opportunity Investment Initiative, Advanced Manufacturing, and Small Business Credit Initiatives.
Prior to her service in the federal government, Salerno successfully founded an advanced manufacturing company which started with a Small Business Innovation Grant making her a fierce advocate for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Salerno grew up in rural Texas, where her manufacturing business continues to thrive and support the local economy.
Mike Sands, senior associate, Liberty Prairie Foundation, IL Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 pm: Plenary: Understanding the Region
MICHAEL SANDS was the founding executive director and is now senior associate of the Liberty Prairie Foundation (LPF) in Grayslake, Illinois. The LPF is a small private operating foundation dedicated to providing leadership in the integration of economically prosperous, ecologically sensitive farms and protected, high quality natural areas. Mike is a seasoned manager of interdisciplinary programs with 30 years of experience in sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, and community-based economic development. He is committed to the integration of rural economic development with[…]
natural resource conservation, and possesses leadership abilities coupled with strong communication skills. He has demonstrated capacity to build innovative coalitions and motivate teams; has experience with non-governmental, public and private sector institutions; and created and worked with U.S. and international nonprofit boards.
Shirley Sherrod, co-founder and executive director, Southwest Georgia Project; former Georgia State Director of Rural Development, USDA, GA Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: When Less Is More…
SHIRLEY SHERROD is the executive director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education in Albany, Georgia. For more than 30 years, Ms. Sherrod has devoted her life to the civil rights movement by working on social justice issues. Through her work at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, she developed a program of outreach, education, and technical assistance for small and limited resource farmers throughout Georgia. She also serves as the Georgia State Lead for the Southwest[…]
Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc., Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI). SRBWI promotes the first human rights agenda in the United States aimed at eradicating historical race, class, cultural, religious, and gender barriers experienced by southern rural black women. The initiative encompasses three states, operating in 77 counties in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Ms. Sherrod’s work began in 1965 as an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Southwest Georgia Project. She helped start the land trust, New Communities, Inc., that occupies 6,000 acres of land.
Lora Smith, Appalachia Funders Network Steering Committee Member; Network Officer for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, NC Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 pm: Plenary: Understanding the Region Tuesday, 6:30pm: Sponsored Dinner: A Taste of Appalachia
LORA SMITH serves as the Central Appalachian Network Officer for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation where she directs the foundation’s strategic grantmaking in support of economic transition in Appalachia’s coalfields. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation is a 61-year-old private family foundation with the mission to help move[…]
people and places out of poverty in the Southeast United States. A native of Southeastern Kentucky, Lora comes from a background of social justice engagement in Appalachia. She is a former Communications Associate for the grassroots group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, where her media and storytelling work supported environmental and economic justice organizing. Lora serves on the Steering Committee of the Appalachia Funders Network (AFN) where she is co-chair of AFN’s Food and Agriculture Systems Working Group. She is a co-founder of the Appalachian Food Summit and regularly writes about Appalachian foodways for regional and national publications. Smith is a former Southeast Council of Foundations (SECF) Hull Fellow and in 2015 received the Southern Foodways Alliance’s John Egerton Prize. Lora lives and works from Big Switch Farm, her family’s organic certified farm in Egypt, Kentucky, where they focus on preserving Appalachian food heritage while building a sustainable food and fiber future.
Stephen Smith, director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, WV Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Knocking West Virginia Off the Top of the Worst Health Lists
STEPHEN SMITH is the Director of the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, an anti-poverty organization. The organization has helped win 18 state policy victories in recent years – ranging from raising the minimum wage to criminal justice reform. More recently, Stephen and Healthy Kids were proud to partner with dozens of other groups to help start Try This West Virginia, a movement to knock West Virginia off the top of the worst health lists, community by community. In two years, Try This has assembled a killer website (trythiswv.com), a 550-person annual conference, and funded 99 community-based[…]
teams to work on CDC approved health projects. Stephen is a graduate of Harvard University and the London School of Economics, and the author of Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation’s Introduction to Grassroots Organizing. He was born in Charleston, West Virginia, where he lives with his brilliant public defender wife and mischievous 4 year-old son.
Blain Snipstal, farmer, organizer, agroecological technician, Black Dirt Farm, MD Tuesday, 9:00-10:00 am: Plenary: Race, Class, Gender and Power in the Food System Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Agroecology: For People, Land, and Community
BLAIN SNIPSTAL co-manages Black Dirt Farm, a small-scale ecological vegetable, seed keeping, and livestock farm. He is part of the Black Dirt Farm Collective, which is the organizing body that facilitates agroecological, political, and cultural trainings at Black Dirt Farm and throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Black Dirt Farm is also a member of the Seed Keepers Collective, which is a regional collective of farmers and activists of[…]
color focused on keeping heritage and traditional seed varieties and their stories alive. In 2013, he began to support various organizations and community groups as an agroecological technician throughout the country. In 2015, he was part of the political coordination that organized the first campesino-a-campesino agroecology encounter hosted by the Farmworkers Association of Florida and the Rural Coalition in Florida. Between 2012 and 2015, representing the Rural Coalition, he was part of the international youth collective of La Via Campesina.
Adele Stafford, owner and founder, Voices of Industry, NC Wednesday, 8:30-4:30 pm: Interwoven Future: Building Fibersheds & Social Enterprises
ADELE STAFFORD was standing in a field of naturally colored cotton under the midday, blazing California sun, when she discovered both a magical crop and the harrowing story of the farmer who’d spent thirty years fighting to cultivate and grow it. This meeting became the inspiration for her work as a hand weaver and a platform for her project, Voices of Industry, where she meticulously crafts hand woven garments from 100% domestic fiber, farmed and spun in the United States. These ‘embodied objects’ carry stories of agriculture and place, ubiquitous forms transposed into poetic[…]
messengers. She returned to being a maker and an artist after fifteen years of working in a business strategy role for numerous creative organizations including frog design and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Adele received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons College.
Naomi Starkman, founder and editor-in-chief, Civil Eats, CA Thursday, 3:00-4:30 pm: Food for Thought: High Quality Independent Media…
NAOMI STARKMAN is a Founder and the Editor-in-Chief of Civil Eats. She is a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. She is a founding board member of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Naomi served as the Director of Communications & Policy at Slow Food Nation and has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. She was previously the Director of Communications for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). After graduating from law school, she […]
served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.
Hilde Steffey, program director, Farm Aid, MA Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: When Less Is More…
HILDE STEFFEY is Farm Aid’s program director. She provides strategic guidance and oversight for Farm Aid’s farmer service, resource network and grant programs, and serves as the liaison to the broader food systems funding community. Hilde joined Farm Aid in 2008 after spending close to a decade gaining perspective and exposure at various levels of the food system – from the halls of Congress to school cafeterias, even on the seat of a tractor. Hilde has a Master’s degree in agriculture, food and environment from Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and spent a number of years[…]
teaching about agriculture, nutrition and environmental science. Some of Hilde’s earliest memories are on her Grandpa Pete’s farm just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, and trawling for vine-ripened tomatoes in her mom’s salsa garden in Salt Lake City, Utah – both experiences inspiring a lifelong passion for food, farms and the outdoors.
J. Miakoda Taylor, founding director, Fierce Allies, CA Monday, 1:00-6:00 pm: Funders as Fierce Leaders and Allies for Food Justice
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.
Makani Themba, chief strategist, Higher Ground Change Strategies, MI Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Health Equity: Tools for Creating the Food System We Want
MAKANI THEMBA is Chief Strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies based in Detroit, Michigan. A social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications and narrative strategy, she has spent more than 20 years supporting organizations, coalitions and philanthropic institutions in developing high impact change initiatives. Higher Ground Change Strategies is her newest project, which she describes as “a place where change makers can get the support they need to take their work to the next level.” Higher Ground helps partners integrate authentic engagement, systems analysis, change communications and more for powerful, vision-based change.[…]
Previously, Makani served as the founder and executive director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice. Under her leadership, The Praxis Project raised more than $20 million for advocacy organizations working in communities of color and provided training and technical assistance to hundreds of organization and public agencies nationwide. These initiatives include Communities Creating Healthy Environments (C-CHE), an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support policy advocacy to advance healthy food outlets and safe places to play in communities of color and Building Capacity Building Power, a partnership with Ford Foundation to support grassroots civic engagement and Policy Advocacy on Tobacco and Health (PATH).
Makani is a highly sought-after public speaker, capacity builder, and ethnographer. Her publications have helped set the standard for policy advocacy work and contributed significantly to the field of public health’s current emphasis on media and policy advocacy to address root causes of health problems. Makani has also published numerous articles and case studies on race, class, media, policy advocacy and public health.
Kim Tieman, health and human services program officer, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, WV Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Knocking West Virginia Off the Top of the Worst Health Lists
KIM BARBER TIEMAN is the Health and Human Service Program Officer for the Benedum Foundation. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work and served as an adjunct faculty for the West Virginia University School of Social Work Master’s Program for 18 years. She has a background in community development, program development and management, grant writing, and training. Kim has more than 30 years of experience working in nonprofit, state government and school settings. She is an active[…]
community volunteer and serves on several nonprofit boards, such as Philanthropy West Virginia and the Appalachian Funder Network Health work group. Kim was fortunate to have grown up on a 300 acre farm, that she and her parents (who are in their mid-80’s) still operate. Kim is happiest when she is working on the farm or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors.
Wood Turner, vice president, Agriculture Capital Management, CA Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
WOOD TURNER is a Vice President at Agriculture Capital Management, leading the fund’s environmental and social impact strategies. Wood brings over 20 years of experience in corporate sustainability, environmental management, and consumer engagement. Before ACM, he was on the executive team at organic yogurt pioneer Stonyfield Farm as VP Sustainability Innovation, after serving as founding executive director of Climate Counts, an international NGO focused on measuring and scoring the world’s largest consumer companies on their enterprise-level responses to climate[…]
change. Wood has helped brands, elected officials, and public agencies on mobilize the public around ideas that improve the environment and build community, including a groundbreaking curbside food waste recovery program, the expansion of carshare program access to underrepresented communities, development of a shuttle program for Bay Area biotech workers, and a citizen engagement program that nearly resulted in innovative fixed-rail for Seattle. He worked with the plastics industry on policy and product stewardship and was instrumental in developing Urban Ecology’s “Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area.” He worked for many years on the alignment of economic and recreation demands with natural resource conservation in the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised in North Carolina, Wood has degrees from Duke University and the University of Washington.
Kabzuag Vaj, co-executive director, Freedom Inc., WI Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Upside Down or Rightside Up…
KABZUAG VAJ is founder and co-executive director of Freedom Inc. She was born in Laos and come to this country as a refugee child with her mother and siblings. She has dedicated the majority of her life to ending gender-based violence. Her advocacy started when she was 16 years old, assisting and housing at-risk teens, and challenging abusive gender norms within her community. She is a strong believer that those who are most deeply impacted must be at the forefront of the movement. Those who are most impacted must have opportunities and resources to advocate for themselves and tell their own[…]
stories. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the White House Champion of Change award. In the past 20 years, Vaj has spent her life working to build collective power and social change within Southeast Asian and Black communities.
She is currently one of the Co-Executives at Freedom Inc. Freedom, Inc’s mission is to end violence within and against low-income communities of color by building the power of Black, Hmong, and Khmer, women, queer folks and youth.
John Waite, executive director, Franklin County CDC, MA Tuesday, 3:00-6:00 pm: Investment 303: Bridging the Finance Gap
JOHN WAITE began work at the Franklin County CDC in March 2000 and now serves as the executive director, where he oversees all of the organizations operations and programs. He has been involved with economic development in Africa, Central Asia and New York City since 1983. At the FCCDC, John has helped expand the Business Technical Assistance and Lending Program, and helped raise $900,000 to build, equip and operate the Western MA Food Processing Center. The Center is now 15 years old and has served over 350 food and agricultural businesses. John has a BA from the[…]
University Massachusetts and a Graduate Degree from Columbia University, was a volunteer and staff person with the Peace Corps, worked with CARE International, and consulted for several Microfinance programs. John now spends much of his time expanding the Food Processing Center (FPC) focusing on farms to institutions and community investment in the agricultural sector as a way to build the regional food system that is fair to all parts of the food value chain.
Carla Wallace, co-founder, Showing Up for Racial Justice and Fairness Campaign; member, Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame, KY Tuesday, 9:00-10:00 am: Plenary: Race, Class, Gender and Power in the Food System
CARLA WALLACE is co-founder of Showing Up for Racial Justice and Fairness Campaign, and a member of the Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. Carla grew up on a farm in Kentucky and in a big city in Amsterdam, Netherlands where her grandmother hid people fleeing the nazis under her floorboards during World War II.
Carla has done social justice work for over 30 years. She is a co founder of Louisville[…]
Showing Up for Racial Justice and a founder and leader in the national SURJ network which works to broaden the base of white people engaged in racial justice work. She believes in lifting up the interconnections between immigrant rights, war, economic, food, environmental, education, health and gender justice, and that we will make no progress on any of them without placing racial justice central.
Mentored by southern civil rights activists in the Black Liberation Movement and by white racial justice fighter Anne Braden, Carla believes that those most impacted by an unjust system must be central to our change making. “We can only win when we understand that each and every one of us is needed. I am not interested in the kind of change that leaves any of us behind.”
Carla is a co founder of La Minga, a collective local foods and food justice effort on her family’s farm. La Minga is a people of color led, multiracial team of subsistence farmers growing sustainable food in shared community.Carla is also a founder of Louisville’s Fairness Campaign, which has been honored locally and nationally for its work on behalf of LGBTQ equality and justice for all. A few years ago Carla was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Right Hall of Fame. She created the Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality at University of Louisville.
Gladys Washington, program director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, NC Thursday, 9:00-10:30 am: Plenary: Rural America on the Frontline
GLADYS WASHINGTON leads the Program Team and supervises Network Officer, Program Associate and Grants Manager activities at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Gladys also oversees grants and PRIs in Gulf Coast Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Delta. She leads the Program Team in planning and learning on public policy grantmaking. Before coming to the Babcock Foundation, Gladys was a Program Officer for the Community Foundation serving Coastal South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.
Craig Watts, farmer; former contract producer with Perdue Farms, Inc., NC Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 am: The Cost of Industrial Agriculture to Rural America
CRAIG WATTS is a farmer based in Fairmont, North Carolina. He was born and raised on a small family farm in rural North Carolina, where he worked until he left for college. He returned after college in 1991, business degree in hand, about when large corporate poultry processors were ramping up recruitment of local farmers. He signed his first processing contract in 1992. Thinking it was the perfect lifeline back to a life he loved, Craig soon learned it was anything but. Less than two years after Craig paid off the[…]
loans on his chicken houses, his processor forced him to borrow more to upgrade the houses. In 2008, he decided to speak out, connecting with RAFI to learn the ropes of advocacy. After 23 years Craig terminated his contract with Perdue. He remains an outspoken critic of the contract poultry industry. He and his wife Amelia have three children.
Bradley Wilson, director, Food Justice Lab, WV Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Knocking West Virginia Off the Top of the Worst Health Lists
DR. BRADLEY WILSON is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Director of the Food Justice Lab at West Virginia University. Bradley’s research and advocacy focuses on community food insecurity and creating more equitable food networks. For 15 years Bradley has worked with farmers, workers and cooperatives in the coffee lands of Nicaragua. However, after earning his Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 2010 he also brought his passion for action research with rural communities to West Virginia. In 2015, Bradley and his research team launched WV FOODLINK, an interactive online map[…]
to expand access to information on food resources such as emergency food agencies and retail stores that accept public benefits that reaches all 55 counties. This foundational research is now catalyzing participatory action research and planning for resilient food networks with partners throughout the Mountain State. Bradley enjoys biking, baking, hiking, singing, swimming and gardening with his little girls (7 and 4 years old).
Donald Wyse, professor and co-director, Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management, University of Minnesota, MN Tuesday, 10:30-12:00 pm: Earth, We’ve Got You Covered…
DON WYSE is a Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, where he teaches and conducts research in weed management, cropping system development, and plant breeding and selection. His research concentrates on biological weed management, development of multifunctional agricultural systems, perennial crop breeding, and legume and grass seed production systems. He has focused his research efforts on the development of perennial […]
cropping systems, cover crop systems, biomass prairie polycultures, and has studied their impact on soil and water quality. He has lead several multi-disciplinary research teams composed of university faculty and scientists from both state and federal agencies. He has experience in managing large multi-year grants. Dr. Wyse was the founding Director of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and currently serves as Co-director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota. Recent activities of the Center have led to the development of the Mississippi River—Green Land, Blue Water Initiative that includes universities, state and federal agencies, and NGO’s that have organized to deal with the landscape issues that impact water quality in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basin. He was one of the founding organizers of the Midwest Cover Crops Council and is an active member of the Executive Committee. He currently leads the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota that provides leadership for the development of winter annual and perennial grain crops that can be used in cropping systems to provide continuous living covers for agricultural landscapes.
Kolu Zigbi, program director for sustainable agriculture and food systems & Eat4Health Initiative, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, NY Thursday, 11:00-12:30 pm: Black Lands Matter…
KOLU ZIGBI is the Program Director for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, and Eat4Health Initiative. She has 15-years of experience managing grantmaking, providing technical assistance, and convening and evaluating grassroots organizations serving low income communities and constituencies working at the front lines of the food system. She has supported equitable, sustainable, and resilient food-oriented development that spans the rural-urban continuum and builds health and wealth within low-income communities. Kolu developed and directed two three-year, multi-funder initiatives to build the[…]
capacity of grassroots organizations serving family farmers and ranchers, farmworkers, food chain workers, “food swamp” neighborhoods, and Native American communities. Kolu is a co-founder of Community Food Funders, a philanthropic organizing project supporting the development of a sustainable food shed for New York City. In 2014 Kolu was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and received a certificate in Environmental Design.