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Monday, December 12
Pre-Briefing Registration Open and Light Breakfast
Cost: $250. Pre-registration required. Includes continental breakfast and lunch.
Join us to learn about work in California to leverage research and advocacy while building power to influence and implement policies around soil carbon, resilient food systems, and climate change.
The morning will set the context of climate change and agriculture policy in California, highlighting wins for agriculture through climate policy and discussing the education, advocacy, and outreach integral to building political power. We will then hear from several farmers, ranchers, and their funding partners who are working to demonstrate the potential of on-farm research efforts to inform and affect policy. The conversation will focus on strategic efforts to funnel funding and research to affect policy outcomes, as well as the benefits and possibilities of employing multiple funding strategies to target the same policy levers.
After an informal networking lunch, we will reconvene to hear stories, research, and lessons from social justice and grassroots voices working to make sure that cap-and-trade funds earmarked for ‘disadvantaged communities’ reach California’s rural agriculture communities and address the environmental costs of industrial agriculture. Speakers will describe how their work aims to ensure that funds serve under-resourced farmers and improve the health and economic viability of rural and disadvantaged communities. They will share the challenges they face and opportunities to strengthen and improve public policies and programs. Throughout the day, we will reflect on how the California experience might apply to other states and regions, and how these strategies might be incorporated into our own funding work.
Moderators: Sarah Cabell, collaboration facilitator, California Foodshed Funders, CA Virginia Clarke, executive director, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), CA Jeanne Merrill, policy director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), CA
Speakers: Sallie Calhoun, owner and operator, Paicines Ranch, CA Jeff Creque, co-founder, Marin Carbon Project; director, Carbon Cycle Institute, CA Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno County, CA Erin Eisenberg, director of philanthropy, TomKat Foundation, CA Torri Estrada, executive director, director of policy, Carbon Cycle Institute, CA Wendy Millet, ranch director, TomKat Ranch, CA Kelly Mulville, director of farming and education, Paicines Ranch, CA Brent Newell, legal director, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, CA Phoebe Seaton, co-founder and co-director, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, CA Nikki Silvestri, CEO, Silvestri Strategies, CA John Wick, co-founder, Marin Carbon Project; owner, Nicasio Native Grass Ranch, CA
For those interested in getting up to speed on the Farm Bill at the 101-201 level, Alan Hunt, Local Food Strategies LLC and 2016 Policy Briefing Planning Committee member, invites you to join him for a no-host informal dinner conversation. Check in at the registration desk for dinner location details.
Cost: $40. Pre-registration required. Limited to 40 attendees.
Agriculture and irrigation account for approximately 70 percent of the world’s freshwater withdrawals from rivers, lakes, and aquifers—and more than 90 percent in many western U.S. states. Demands for water are on the increase. Climate change alters both water availability and agricultural water demands. The overdrafting of groundwater and water contamination from agricultural runoff compromise freshwater resources and aquatic environments. And as local, state, and national policies evolve, sustainable use and management of water resources, including the use of oilfield wastewater to grow crops, water livestock, and recharge aquifers that may be used for drinking water, is of growing concern. Join colleagues for a dynamic dinner discussion of water, food, and agriculture policy, and how they all intersect—particularly with an eye to how the issues play out in the face of California’s historic drought.
Moderator: Virginia Clarke, executive director, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), CA
Speakers: Laurel Firestone, co-founder and co-director, Community Water Center, CA Seth Shonkoff, executive director, Physicians, Scientists, Engineers (PSE) Healthy Energy, CA
More than 230 crops are grown, most of the land is in agriculture, and more than 6.5 million people live in California’s diverse, productive Central Valley. This vast area is responsible for a significant percentage of vegetables produced for communities across the nation, as well as nearly all of U.S. nut production. What lessons can we learn together from what is afoot in this place—one shaped substantially by past and current food, agriculture, water, and land use policies?
We open the Policy Briefing by grounding ourselves in place. Join us for a candid conversation between funders and community leaders who are investing in racial, economic, and gender equity in order to generate power and create policy change. We will consider how the dynamics at play in the Central Valley—where the backbone of food and agricultural systems continues to be collaborative, compassionate, and resilient leaders, largely from communities of color and rural areas, and where political power is increasingly wielded by the New American Majority—offer lessons for regions around the country.
Moderator: Kaying Hang, director of Health Programs, Sierra Health Foundation, CA
Speakers: Janaki Jagannath, coordinator, Community Alliance for Agroecology, CA Lupe Martinez, assistant director, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, CA Pablo Rodriguez, executive director, Communities for a New California, CA
In this session, we will learn about the key legal and strategic considerations for funding policy change initiatives, and examine case studies of cutting-edge policy and civic engagement efforts launched by foundations around the country. In California, foundations working on a variety of issues, including sustainable agriculture and food systems, health, LGBT equality, immigration reform, women’s rights, and criminal justice reform, are working to build grassroots power by strengthening civic engagement in communities of color through voter education, engagement in local and state issues, and leadership development. On a broader local, state, and tribal public policy level, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has teamed up with the American Heart Association to launch Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaboration that aims to engage, organize, and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Through this partnership, RWJF provides funding for advocacy activities that are permitted as a private foundation, while AHA provides funding and engages in direct and grassroots lobbying efforts that are allowed as a 501(c)(4) organization.
Find out how examples such as these combine 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) strategies to build movements that can achieve sustainable, long-lasting policy changes; what funders need to know about the legalities and mechanics of funding public policy change; and the implications of this work for food and agricultural policy change both in California and across the country.
Moderator: Earl Lui, program director, California Wellness Foundation, CA
Speakers: Jill Birnbaum, vice president, State Advocacy and Public Health, American Heart Association; executive director, Voices for Healthy Kids, TX Ludovic Blain, executive director, Progressive Era Project; director, Color of Democracy Fund, CA Cathy Cha, program director, Immigrant Rights and Integration, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, CA
As is the case for many other industries, the food and agricultural sector is structured such that power and wealth are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of businesses and individuals. This trend is exacerbated by policies that prevent the success of cooperative business models promoting shared ownership and profits and discourage diversity in the number and types of agrifood system businesses. Join us for a panel discussion to explore how state-based laws governing cooperative businesses and local movements for increased equity in matters of ownership affect wealth inequalities across the food system. This panel will also highlight encouraging policy movements that are fostering more equitable agrifood economies throughout the United States.
Moderator: Sarah Bell, program director, Schmidt Family Foundation/The 11th Hour Project, CA
Speakers: Peter Chestnut, legal counsel, La Montanita Co-op; attorney, Chestnut Law Offices, P.A., NM Esteban Kelly, co-executive director, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, PA Janelle Orsi, executive director and co-founder, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA
We are in the midst of a change of leadership in the presidency, Congress, governorships, and state legislatures. What does this mean for sustainable agriculture and social justice? What are the key points of influence through which we might reach new leaders, and what issues do we need to defend, promote, and inform? This panel brings together advocacy leaders and government liaisons with experience in presidential transitions to provide insights about how the sustainable agriculture community can engage new leaders at the federal level and how those lessons might be applied at the state and local levels. There will be a blend of ‘news updates’ on top agriculture and social justice issues, a big picture view of what the election symbolizes about America’s current political mood, and plenty of time for discussion.
Moderator: Ellyn Ferguson, reporter, CQ Roll Call, DC
Speakers: Patricia Griffin, partner, Nueva Vista Group, LLC, DC Ferd Hoefner, policy director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, DC Eric Kessler, founder, principal, and managing director, Arabella Advisors, DC
The Obama Administration has placed a strong emphasis on healthy eating and local and regional food systems. Leaders in these fields can occupy important strategic positions within the administration. This panel will take advantage of a unique moment to encourage frank dialogue between some of these experts and foundations interested in understanding where the greatest opportunities lie for capacity-building among their grantees.
Panelists: Melinda Cep, deputy chief of staff to the secretary, Office of the Secretary, USDA, DC Elanor Starmer, administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, DC
All Policy Briefing attendees and speakers are invited to this evening of fun, food, and drink. Our reception and dinner will be held at Antiquité, which is located in a historic Midtown Sacramento building that has a rich history as a 1920’s retail antique salon. There is no formal programming—just an opportunity to relax and enjoy conversation with friends new and old.
Walk/taxi/Uber back to the hotel at your leisure. Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel
1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Insane. Arcane. Insider’s baseball. Washington politics. Whatever you call it, the Farm Bill is a piece of work. While its importance is far-reaching—touching 45 million Americans with low incomes, two million farmers, and more than half of the U.S. land area—its politics, rooted in the Depression era, are fraught. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees have successfully formed bipartisan, urban-rural, producer-consumer coalitions to pass Farm Bills for decades. For some, these political alliances have frustrated broad and fundamental change and presented long-standing challenges for inclusion. Speakers, including individuals who have deep history with the Farm Bill over time, will provide background on the politics and process of the Farm Bill as a political institution and help us to understand how sustainable food and agriculture can gain a more influential seat at the table.
Moderator: Alan Hunt, consultant, Local Food Strategies LLC, NJ
Speakers: Ricardo Salvador, director and senior scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, DC Mark Schultz, associate director, Land Stewardship Project, MN Ellen Teller, director of government affairs, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), DC
From Sacramento to America’s heartland, philanthropy can be a major force for influencing public policy and contributing to the development of more equitable food and agricultural policies. The many opportunities for philanthropy in this space raise questions: How does philanthropy best allocate resources and programming to engage policymakers and exert influence on food and agricultural policies? How does public policy work fit within the larger philanthropic agenda, and what types of philanthropic work constitute engagement with policy work? How can funders educate and influence stakeholders to take the lead in advancing solutions for a sustainable food and farm future?
Come hear a variety of funders share their perspectives on the answers to these questions. Funders will highlight their policy ‘wins’ and success stories, describe the tactical ‘how to’s’ and the roadmaps they followed while engaging in policy work, and share thoughts on other scenarios to which their particular funding strategies and tools might be applied. Through stories and case studies, panelists will underline the impact and possibility of funding policy change.
Moderator: Scott Cullen, executive director, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY
Speakers: Christine James, director of programs, The John Merck Fund, MA Jake Mogan, program associate, 11th Hour Project, CA Sarah Vared, interim director, ReFED; principal, MissionPoint Partners, CT
Health, food, and farming are deeply interconnected whether one lives in an urban or rural setting. What does it say about our food and agricultural system—and the health of our communities—when the people who work the land can’t access the food they grow? When children face pesticide exposure both on the foods they eat and in the places they learn, live, and play? When this exposure, or lack of food access, means potentially life-long health issues as a result? As grantmakers, our work must be grounded in the lived experiences of those with whom we work. If we are to realize the powerful systemic changes we seek, then we must be intentional about making explicit connections between health, food, and farming. This panel will highlight examples of policy interventions and funder investments at the intersection of health, equity, and organizing that are improving the health of children and communities in regions across the country.
Moderator: Tamela Luce, senior program officer, HealthSpark Foundation, PA
Speakers: Isabel Arrollo, executive director, El Quinto Sol de América, CA Alexa Delwiche, executive director, Center for Good Food Purchasing, CA Kathryn Gilje, executive director, Ceres Trust, CA
This lunch space offers an opportunity to translate learnings from throughout the week into action. Create or deepen existing connections with funders who share your programmatic goals and/or tactical approaches. Take this time to talk strategy and possible next steps that will continue to build the power to create a more equitable, robust, and sustainable food system.
Many are familiar with agriculture’s substantial carbon footprint and also know that positive changes in agricultural practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon in the soil, and provide multiple additional beneits. One year out from the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and in the face of increasing climatic disruption, this plenary will examine some of the intersections of policy, climate, and agriculture—and seek to understand how climate and agricultural policies might support sustainable and equitable agriculture and food systems and a safer climate. We will especially highlight carbon sequestration potential through agriculture and explore initiatives at the global and state levels while hearing from an innovative Midwestern farmer leader who has adopted climate-friendly practices. Join us for a conversation that looks at initiatives and policies designed to advance resilience, climate solutions, and sustainable farming practices.
Speakers: Renata Brillinger, executive director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), CA Loretta Jaus, farmer, Jaus Family Organic Dairy; White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Agriculture, MN Suzanne Lutfalla, scientific officer, 4 Pour 1000 Initiative, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), France