As we move into a critical time of change within food systems domestically and globally, solutions to food crises are multiplying. This workshop will examine how such approaches differ from and complement each other, with a special focus on agroecology. Agroecology has proven to be an effective way to support small farm-based food systems, civic infrastructure for agricultural reform, and climate change adaptation and mitigation, including soil carbon sequestration. Movements for food sovereignty and agroecology are accelerating across the globe. Yet in the United States, agroecology is spreading slowly, especially as a robust process for building power among food producers, consumers, and their communities.
In part one of this half-day workshop, participants will explore what has led to the spread of agroecology in the U.S. and around the globe, as well as the factors slowing its adoption. We will address critical questions and hear directly from grantees—producers, movement leaders, and food sovereignty innovators—about the links between agroecology and critical issues of democracy, land security, community control of the commons, and the struggle for food sovereignty.
The second part of the afternoon will examine the differences and opportunities that bring together communities that focus on regenerative agriculture, sustainable agriculture, organics, and agroecology. We will explore specific strategies and opportunities for funding at the intersection of these approaches. This funders-only conversation continues the dialogue started at the 2017 Forum about how to build bridges between funders who are committed to sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture, the organic movement, and agroecology.
Sponsored by CS Fund, WhyHunger, Grassroots International, Agroecology Fund, and Thousand Currents
Moderator: Andrew Kang Bartlett, program officer, Presbyterian Hunger Program/U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, KY
Speakers: Angela Adrar, executive director, Climate Justice Alliance, DC Niaz Dorry, coordinating director, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA), MA Leah Penniman, co-director, Soul Fire Farm, NY
This event will serve as the kickoff for SAFSF’s 2018-19 Policy Watch List: a twelve-month deep-dive into the most pressing food and agricultural policy issues, as voted by the membership!
Open to all funders who are attending the Forum, this half-day intensive will allow for robust conversation with policy experts and colleagues on three of the most pressing sustainable food and agricultural policy issues and provide time for funder-only strategy meetings. It’s an opportunity to connect with colleagues and drill down on policy issues in a way that transforms knowledge into action. If you care about policy—and everyone should—come to this pre-Forum event.
Moderator: Monica Moore, program director, CS Fund, CA
Speakers: Neth Daño, Asia director, ETC Group, Philippines Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner, Friends of the Earth, CA Trisha Kehaulani Watson, board member, Aina Momona, HI
Connect with colleagues during this fun and interactive pre-Forum networking event. Valerie Segrest will guide attendees through an experiential demonstration and Native tea tasting. Research shows that the elevated consumption of sugary beverages like sodas, juices, and energy drinks are directly connected with nutrition-related health conditions that plague Tribal communities today. Native Infusion: Rethink Your Drink is a health education campaign that aims to support Tribal communities’ collective health efforts through a simple message: drink more ancestral beverages.
Join us for an experiential demonstration of this health promotion campaign and taste some of these ancient flavors for yourself at this evening’s ancestral beverage experience. Whether this is your first or fifth (or more!) Forum experience, kick off your time in Spokane by sipping Native herbal teas, making your own tasty tea blend, and catching up with friends old and new.
Speaker: Valerie Segrest, native nutrition educator, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, WA
This plenary will open the Forum by grounding us in powerful practices and even more powerful stories of movement-building and organizing from Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest, West, and beyond. Tribal nations are influential economic, legal, and political forces; their truths stand in stark contrast to common cultural misunderstandings that stereotype Indigenous peoples as ‘other.’ Tribal communities are vital leaders and partners achieving solutions for food and agricultural system issues related to land use, fishing rights, conservation, food sovereignty and justice, and much more. This session will highlight the strengths of Native assets, share examples of innovations developed in tribal communities, and underscore the rich opportunities for philanthropy in supporting this work. Join us to open the Forum with stories of hope and innovation.
Moderator: Martin Jennings, program officer, Northwest Area Foundation, MN
Speakers: Kelsey Ducheneaux, youth programs coordinator, Intertribal Agriculture Council; project director, Project H3LP!, SD Abigail Echo-Hawk, director, Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle Indian Health Board, WA Jaime Pinkham, executive director, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, OR
The term “impact investing” seems to be everywhere in philanthropy these days, but what does it mean to invest for impact in food systems? And how can those investments be more equitable, especially for low-income and historically marginalized peoples?
As more foundations move toward mission-aligned investing through program- and mission-related investments (PRIs and MRIs), there’s an opportunity to move money in a way that was never before possible. Spurred by a new wave of engaged investors and donors, there is also a movement to think about philanthropic and private investments differently in the coming decades.
Leaders of social impact investing, like RSF Social Finance, have been walking this path for years and have important lessons to share. Simultaneously, emerging models in economically distressed communities are working to integrate capital in ways that can unlock new capital flows to historically underinvested in places and people.
This workshop is led by RSF Integrated Capital fellows who are helping to build this exciting new field. They will share overviews of their work that spans the spectrum of social impact investing and integrated capital approaches while introducing some of the tools currently being used. In-depth case studies about supporting food systems will be explored, drawing from the fellows’ investing experience.
Sponsored by the Appalachian Impact Fund
Moderator: Andrew Crosson, director of regional initiatives, Rural Support Partners, NC
Speakers: Robin Bot-Miller, independent investor, CA Kate Danaher, senior director, social enterprise lending and integrated capital, RSF Social Finance, CA Stephanie Randolph, Cassiopeia Foundation, VA Lora Smith, executive director, Appalachian Impact Fund, KY
Federal funding for the National School Lunch Program is one of the largest equity investments our country makes in children’s health. However, school cafeterias are often places of social exclusion, and too many students fail to get the nourishment they need to thrive. In a human-centered design initiative, FoodCorps is engaging organizational allies, district leaders, and students themselves to re-envision children’s experiences in our nation’s cafeterias, transforming hubs of stigma into welcoming places of health and joy. Meanwhile, New York City is implementing a pioneering commitment to make school lunch free for all students, and the Urban School Food Alliance is taking powerful steps to transform school food quality and access through multi-district procurements in cities across the country. Leaders from these efforts will share their insights, and a facilitated discussion will explore cafeteria solutions that are adaptive to culture, affordable to the budgets of low-income schools, and appropriate for broad-scale replication.
Sponsored by Claneil Foundation
Moderator: Curt Ellis, co-founder and CEO, FoodCorps, OR
Speakers: Lucy Flores, director of program design, FoodCorps, OR Eric Goldstein, chief executive, New York City Office of School Support Services, NY
Control and ownership of land are absolutely necessary to making the food system equitable and there are millions of acres of land for sale in rural America. Yet marginalized communities face a myriad of racial, social, economic, and political obstacles in acquiring, retaining, and protecting land to feed themselves and grow their communities.
After a short overview of the issues and the economic, health, cultural, and environmental impacts of historical losses of land, participants will engage in a role-playing activity to bring to life the complexities of land acquisition for low-income communities of color based on a compilation of real experiences. We will then dive into group discussion to identify opportunities for collaboration—grantmaking, investment vehicles, and more—that might restore power to these communities through land ownership and help them build or re-build power through land acquisition and re-growing their food systems.
Sponsored by The Conservation Fund
Co-Facilitators: A-dae Romero-Briones, director of programs—Native Agriculture and Food Systems, First Nations Development Institute, CA Livia Marques, president, Food Driven Strategies, LLC, FL Mikki Sager, vice president, resourceful communities, The Conservation Fund, NC
Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the term “corporate consolidation”? Whether it’s the perceived wonkiness or intractability of the subject matter, we know it can be hard to wrap our heads around why concentration matters and, what’s more, what can be done about it. Come hear from some of the brightest brains working on this issue—and winning. You will be enlightened and energized. We promise.
Today’s extreme levels of consolidation in food and agriculture business are both totally unprecedented and the root of some of the biggest challenges facing the movement for justice and sustainability in the food system. This workshop brings together leading experts—a journalist, a cattleman and entrepreneur (who even took a case to the Supreme Court), and a shareholder activist—to discuss what corporate consolidation looks like, why it matters, and what we can do about it. There will be space for dialogue about realistic goals in this arena, including viable policy improvements, smart approaches for meaningful engagement with corporations, and roles stakeholders—from funders to farmers to corporate leaders—can play. This interactive and dynamic workshop will provide opportunities for you to share expertise while also learning from your peers.
Sponsored by Claneil Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, and GRACE Communications Foundation
Moderator: Anim Steel, executive director, Real Food Challenge, NY
Speakers: Leah Douglas, associate editor and staff writer, Food and Environment Reporting Network, DC Sriram Madhusoodanan, deputy campaigns director, Corporate Accountability, MA Mike Callicrate, director and immediate past president, Organization for Competitive Markets; owner, Ranch Foods Direct, KS
This session explores contemporary efforts to create food systems based on millennia-old traditions that can address the health crises facing Native communities today. In addition to serving as an engine for economic development, these efforts preserve Indigenous traditions and practical knowledge about growing, harvesting, and preparing food that have been passed down from generation to generation. Most importantly, these models are adaptable for both Native and non-Native peoples across the country.
Throughout history, Indigenous growers and gatherers stewarded their land and its bounty with deeply-rooted spiritual values and trust in ancestral knowledge. Reservation systems removed Indigenous peoples from their lands and deprived them of their traditional culture, spirituality, and foodways. The disruption of Indigenous food systems and the insertion of government commodity foods has led to malnutrition and fueled the high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease present on reservations today. Reclaiming ancestral knowledge is critical to reversing this damage, and food and agriculture is at its heart.
Our three expert practitioners will offer unique perspectives on constructing food systems to build cultural prosperity, improve health, and revive traditional foodways. The goal is for participants to view food systems within the context of the cultural values that guide our choices about food.
Sponsored by HRK Foundation, New Field Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Moderator: Jonathon Landeck, advisor to the Seeds, Soil, and Culture Fund, New Field Foundation, CA
Speakers: Valerie Segrest, native nutrition educator, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, WA Sean Sherman, chef, NĀTIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), MN Cynthia Wilson, director, traditional foods program, Utah Diné Bikéyah, UT
Rural communities are often perceived as deep “red state” regions comprised of conservatives who do not care about climate change and other “blue state” issues. Recent successes in the Upper Midwest are challenging that assumption through an innovative project called the Rural Climate Dialogues. A partnership between the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Jefferson Center, Rural Dialogues use a citizen jury process to engage citizens from across the political spectrum and socioeconomic divide. Together they process information and test assumptions to identify their own community priorities and address some of the most contentious issues of our time, like climate change and GMOs.
This interactive session will provide an overview of how this process mobilizes action, changes attitudes, generates informed citizens, and informs policy. Participate with us as we walk you through this deliberative process as active citizen jurors. See for yourself that this is far more than an exercise in community decision making—it’s an opportunity to rebuild our democracy.
Sponsored by Thread Fund
Moderator: Tim Crosby, principal, Thread Fund, WA
Speakers: Kyle Bozentko, executive director, The Jefferson Center, MN Anna Claussen, director of rural strategies, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; fellow, Nathan Cummings Foundation, MN
In 2012, five foundations joined together to launch the Food and Farm Communications Fund (FCCF) to address a critical gap in communications capacity and innovation. More than five years later, the Fund has seeded the field with more than $2.1 million in grants and engaged in an evaluation to learn from its grantmaking to date, check in with community needs, and reorient the Fund’s strategies for deepened impact. This session will provide an opportunity to learn from this formative process, including the importance of ongoing learning, the value of collaborative grant programs to allow for more focused and experimental investments, and where urgent need remains to bolster strategic communications. Two recent FFCF grantees will join us to reflect on how their communications support has allowed for out-of-the-box ideas and short-term boosts in capacity that will benefit their work for the long haul.
Sponsored by 11th Hour Project, GRACE Communications Foundation, Christensen Fund, McKnight Foundation, and Panta Rhea Foundation
Moderator: Hilde Steffey, fund manager, Food and Farm Communications Fund, MA
Speakers: Leslie Hatfield, senior partnership and outreach advisor, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY Robert Shimek, executive director, White Earth Land Recovery Project, MN Christina Spach, national good food purchasing campaign coordinator, Food Chain Workers Alliance, SC
As rural and coastal areas in the U.S. are increasingly hit by extreme natural and man-made disasters, a large proportion of affected people are those working in the agricultural and food sectors—many of whom earn low wages and experience minimal job security, uncertain legal status, and ongoing discrimination. This session explores the roles and strategies of funders in getting resources in times of disaster to agricultural and migrant workers who may have lost their livelihoods, housing, and weekly wages, have little or no access to healthcare, and be afraid to go to official disaster centers. Speakers will share about efforts in California and Puerto Rico that offered immediate help as well as support for long-term recovery. This workshop will reflect on what is needed to ensure greater resilience and stability for people who play an important role in U.S. food and agriculture systems.
Sponsored by West Marin Fund and SAFSF
Moderator: Sarah Hobson, executive director, West Marin Fund, CA
Speakers: Camille Collazo, president, Visit Rico, Puerto Rico Julia DeNatale, vice president of philanthropic services, Napa Valley Community Foundation, CA Maricela Morales, executive director, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE); steering committee member, 805 UndocuFund, CA Joe Schroeder, farm advocate, Farm Aid, MA
This session will explore some of the most influential drivers of our globally connected food system from a holistic vantage point. Whether your organization’s funding strategy focuses on domestic change or seeks global influence, impacts flow in both directions. International policies affect what happens on the ground in the U.S., and funders’ activities in the States impact people and places abroad in both expected and unexpected ways. Speakers will explore the deeply interconnected issues of climate change, trade, migration, and immigration within the food system context and examine the crucial roles of social and environmental resilience. This plenary promises to stretch your understanding of our global relationships and the deep-seated interdependence of these connections, providing both high-level analysis and inspirational stories from the field.
Moderator: Trishala Deb, regional director, ASIA, Thousand Currents, NY
Speakers: Claire Regina Ameyo Quenum, Floraison program coordinator, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Togo Greg Schell, attorney at law, Southern Migrant Legal Services, TN Shefali Sharma, director, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP) Europe, Germany
Sponsored Dinners or Dinner on Your Own Pre-registration is required for sponsored dinners. Exact timing and location of sponsored dinners vary.
Dinner on Your Own — Use this time to meet with fellow attendees and make connections, or simply have a quiet night to reflect on the day’s learning. A list of nearby restaurants can be found in the mobile guide.
Sponsored Dinners — Click on the titles below for more details.
Join us for dinner, where we will discuss the exciting work of two inspirational leadership programs: the HEAL Food Alliance’s School of Political Leadership and the new national Food Systems Leadership Fellowship (whose new name will be announced during the dinner). Representatives from each program will highlight what makes their program unique and how they are working to strengthen our movement through leadership development. Attendees will learn the latest updates about these efforts, and have an opportunity to share insights and hopes for modern leadership within our food system movement.
Sponsored by Panta Rhea Foundation, GRACE Communications Foundation, and 11th Hour Project
Moderator: Anna Lappé, program director, food and democracy, Panta Rhea Foundation, CA
Speakers: Jay Conui, political leadership coordinator, HEAL Food Alliance, CA Farzana Serang, executive director, Food Systems Leadership Fellowship, CA
After decades of political stalemate, there has been no progress toward the goal of immigration policy reform. At the same time, there is a growing shortage of farm labor as farmworkers legalized in the 1980’s under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) move into middle age and tightened border control deters newcomers. In February 2018, ICE began sweeps to detain and deport undocumented farmworkers, making an already untenable situation worse.
Legislation introduced in October 2017 (the Agricultural Guestworker (AG) Act) and re-introduced in February 2018 (Securing America’s Future Act) proposed to solve the problem by dismantling the longstanding H-2A visa program and allowing virtually unlimited recruitment of foreign-born workers. However, it would require eventual implementation of online review of all job applicants’ employment authorization. This “solution” seemed attractive to some farm interests, but, after looking closely at the details, responsible agricultural employers, organizations such as the National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition (NSAC), and immigration advocates agreed the legislation would disrupt local agricultural communities and have dangerous long-term impacts.
This session brings together a leader from agribusiness and a leading immigrant advocate in a conversation moderated by a longtime activist for sustainable agriculture. They will discuss ways to overcome the longstanding stalemate in Congress and their progress toward articulating an innovative framework for a solution. They will also share their thoughts about the roles funders can play in supporting efforts toward sound immigration policy for healthy, sustainable rural communities.
Sponsored by Werner Kohnstamm Family Giving Fund
Moderator: David Runsten, policy director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, CA
Speakers: Marielena Hincapie, executive director, National Immigration Law Center, CA Hector Lujan, chief executive officer, Reiter Affiliated Companies, CA
Join us to hear from two engaging producers about their hands-on experiences integrating livestock with crops in Oregon, Minnesota, and beyond. We’ll also cover questions like, “what’s all the fuss about soil health?” and “what is regenerative agriculture?” and “how does this support rural economies?” And we’ll connect the dots on livestock, water, soil, and climate resilience.
Aside from the primary speakers, several funders and investors working in this area will briefly describe what they fund and why. We hope to also hear about the chef’s experience sourcing, preparing, and serving grassfed beef. Please join us for what promises to be an entertaining and delicious evening!
Sponsored by Cedar Tree Foundation, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, and Armonia, LLC
Moderator: Kevin (Kirby) Irby, director, Threadspan, NY
Speakers: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, chief strategy officer, Main Street Project / Regeneration International, MN Andrea Malmberg, CEO, Beyond Organic Beef; master of applied positive psychology, Life Energy Guide, OR
This workshop will speak to how NGOs, scientists, and lawyers are creatively collaborating to use the courts as a vehicle for food systems and policy change. Richman Law Group uses policy, science, and litigation to bring corporate America under a microscope, both figuratively and literally. Where traditional legislative, regulatory, or administrative efforts may fail, we use direct legal action on behalf of consumers, activists, nonprofits, and progressive businesses to address the misdeeds within the corporate food and agriculture industry. Through consumer class actions and consumer watchdog cases, Richman Law Group seeks both monetary and injunctive relief that inures to the benefit of the society at large. This “Robin Hood” approach to the law has enabled us to administer significant settlements that help NGOs further their work.
In this session, we will speak about the successes and challenges of our work, and how, through the judiciary branch, a private right of action can make a meaningful impact. Our goal is to speak to other mission-driven folks who may be interested in joining this “Justice League”—a network of NGOs, scientists, activists, and lawyers taking up arms in courts across the country for food system reform.
Sponsored by Richman Law Group
Moderator: Tyson-Lord Gray, lawyer, Richman Law Group, NY
Speakers: Larry Bohlen, chief operating officer, HRI Labs, MD Kim Richman, founding partner, Richman Law Group, NY Jennifer Shecter, senior director of content impact and outreach, Consumer Reports, NY
This dinner panel follows up on a well-attended workshop at the 2017 SAFSF Forum in Gainesville, Florida, which introduced a Racial Equity Implementation Guide (REIG) to help food hubs integrate the value of racial equity in their everyday operations, governance models, and decision making. Many SAFSF attendees called for a continuing discussion on how to further address racial equity in the broader food system.
During this dinner, we will explore how the questions offered by the REIG framework can deepen perspectives and understanding of the place of racial equity in our efforts to transform the food system. Our conversation will be facilitated by Tamara Jones of the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON); Savonala “Savi” Horne of Land Loss Prevention Project; and Dara Cooper of National Black Food and Justice Alliance, HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, and Labor) Food Alliance, and a 2018 James Beard Leadership Award recipient. The development of the Racial Equity Implementation Guide was supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Center for Social Inclusion (Race Forward).
Sponsored by Surdna Foundation and Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation
Moderators: Kellie Terry, program officer, Surdna Foundation, NY Kolu Zigbi, program director, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, NY
Speakers: Dara Cooper, national organizer, National Black Food and Justice Alliance; member, HEAL Food Alliance, PA Savonala (Savi) Horne, executive director, Land Loss Prevention Project, NC Tamara Jones, CEO, Evident Impact LLC, GA
Organic food should not be a food of privilege. Rather, people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds deserve access to safe, nutritious food, just as all people living near or working on farms deserve safe drinking water, clean air, and uncontaminated land. Certified organic agriculture has a proven track record of protecting human and environmental health. Yet the price point for organic—or, in some cases, the unavailability of organic at local farms or retail outlets—creates and reflects inequity in our food system by making safe, nutritious organic foods more available to high-income communities. While it has seen tremendous growth over the last decade, the organic sector has yet to address how it will increase access to organic food in underserved communities. The goal of this dinner is to start the conversation and explore how we can step up to increase access to organic foods.
Sponsored by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
Moderator: Kelly Damewood, director of policy and government affairs, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), CA
Speakers: Cathryn Couch, executive director, Ceres Community Project, CA A-dae Romero-Briones, director of programs—Native Agriculture and Food Systems, First Nations Development Institute, CA
The commercial use of GMO technology in food crops began in 1994, and has a relatively long record against which to track promises and challenges. The first genetically engineered animal, a salmon, was approved for consumption in 2015. The use of GMOs to manufacture novel processed food ingredients is ever expanding, especially in the alternative meat and dairy business, one such example being the genetically engineered soy heme that makes one alternative meat burger “bleed.” Without mandated labeling, it will be difficult to track potential environmental and human health implications.
The session will include a brief overview of GMO applications in various foods and a discussion of purported benefits. The conversation will explore whether GMOs have delivered on promises of higher yields, greater resilience, and lower inputs, and whether next-generation genetic techniques like CRISPR, gene drives, and rNAI gene silencing will live up to their massive hype. We will also discuss federal policies, pending policy decisions, pollen spread, and patent infringement.
While registering for the dinner, attendees will have the chance to submit up to three questions of interest so we can tailor our discussion to the audience as best as possible.
Sponsored by GRACE Communications Foundation
Moderator: Urvashi Rangan, chief science advisor, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY
Speaker: Tom Philpott, senior reporter, Mother Jones Magazine, TX
Wednesday, June 20
7:00-8:30 am Ballroom
Site Visits, Learning Journeys, Reality Tours, Whatever You Want to Call Them… Exact timing depends on site visit.
Washington state is ranked fifth among the nation’s top wheat-producing states. The majority of that grain is grown in the Palouse region in southeastern Washington, a 4,000 square mile of unique and scenic rolling hills. Although the United States is a major wheat-producing country, discussions about grains as part of sustainable agriculture and food system development are few and far between. Sustainability in grain production is often overlooked in comparison to fruits, vegetables, and animal production. This tour will highlight two major regional initiatives addressing sustainability in grain production.
We will be joined by Steve Lyon, who was a grain farmer for 13 years and spent the last 23 as a researcher developing new wheat varieties, throughout the day to provide context about the region we are in. Steve Lyon works with the Washington State University Bread Lab Plant Breeding Program, which breeds and conducts research on thousands of new and forgotten lines of wheat, barley, buckwheat and other small grains to identify those that perform well for farmers, and that are most suitable for craft baking, cooking, malting, brewing, and distilling.
We’ll start out the day meeting with farmers who are part of the Shepherd’s Grain cooperative, learning about the no-till practices they employ and the economic realities for most mid- to large-scale grain farmers. You’ll get a chance to meet with a handful of different farmers who will share their deep knowledge and histories of family farming in the region.
The other major initiative in the region that we’ll learn about is being spearheaded by Don Sheuerman, who operates Palouse Colony Farm, where he raises heritage grains (also known as landrace grains) for local markets. We’ll learn about how these grains and his production practices and philosophy are unique in the region. Through his collaboration on the Grain Shed in Spokane’s South Perry neighborhood, Don is helping to develop a direct connection between grain farmers, processors, and consumers. We’ll meet up with participants from the Building a Local Foodshed tour at the Grain Shed to chew on reflections about the day and some tasty bites.
Host Organizations: Shepherd’s Grain and R & R Farms Inc., Endicott, WA
● Fred Fleming, co-founder, Shepherd’s Grain
● Mark Richter, farmer, R & R Farms Inc.; grower, Shepherd’s Grain
Join farmers, advocates, investors, and other experts on a day of deep learning, tromping through wildly healthy pastures, and being charmed by calves (and their elder herd members, too). We will rise and shine to be on the road early, and take advantage of our time on the bus with quick talks, including background on the dairy and beef industries and distinctions in production methods that differentiate them. We will drive past industrial-scale feedlots and dairies, and discuss their impact on rural economies, public health, water, air, and quality of life for neighboring community members. We’ll also hear about legal strategies and coalition efforts to push the dairy and beef industries toward a more sustainable and just direction.
At Pure Eire Dairy in Othello, WA, we’ll speak with Jill and Richard Smith, who spent decades in mega dairies before transitioning—first dabbling in raw milk, then producing for Organic Valley, and finally going fully independent with the highest levels of certification through organic and Certified Animal Welfare Approved production. We’ll also observe (and for those who are interested, participate in!) the morning’s milking, visit cows grazing on pasture, tour the processing facility, and enjoy a BBQ with beef and dairy products (including what may be the world’s best yogurt) from the ranch, as well as vegetarian options.
Then it’s back on the bus for more quick talks on efforts and opportunities to shift culture, markets, and policy, including through support for labels that increase the value of high welfare; regenerative products in the marketplace; peer-to-peer learning; and organizing ranchers and communities on issues like Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), beef checkoff, and cottage food laws. At Lazy R Ranch in Cheney, we will see and help move cattle, and hear from Maurice and daughter Beth Robinette about holistic and regenerative methods of rotational pasture grazing, intergenerational transfer, and much more, and ruminate on what we’ve learned and seen. Plus, calves!
Host Organizations: Pure Eire Dairy, Othello, WA
● Richard Smith, farmer and owner, Pure Eire Dairy
● Jill Smith, farmer and owner, Pure Eire Dairy
Lazy R Ranch, Cheney, WA
● Maurice Robinette, farmer and owner, Lazy R Ranch
● Beth Robinette, farmer and owner, Lazy R Ranch; co-founder, Cowgirl Camp; co-founder, LINC Foods
Additional Speakers: Jessica Culpepper, food project attorney, Public Justice, DC John Smillie, executive director, Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), MT More speakers coming soon.
Conversations about rural communities often focus on the challenges they face. But just like every region, rural communities are filled with vibrancy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. To explore how one community is utilizing their assets to support rural development, this site visit will take us an hour north of Spokane to Pend Oreille County. The county has a population of just over 13,000 people within about 1,400 square miles of picturesque rivers, lakes, and mountains. This county, unlike many other rural regions, also has an innovative grant-funded fiber optic internet infrastructure that serves the full county and supports local economic growth efforts.
We’ll start the day by visiting the Kalispel Indian Reservation in the community of Cusick. The Kalispel Tribe is a strong partner committed to supporting not only the Tribal community, but also its surrounding neighbors, and is deeply engaged on many projects related to food sovereignty, wellness, and community development. We’ll visit the Camas Center for Community Wellness, a beautiful facility providing holistic health care and wellness programs to neighboring communities; have a chance to see the grocery store the Tribe is building within an area that is very much a food desert; and hear about the Tribe’s philanthropic work throughout the region. Participants will have an opportunity for hands-on learning around nutritional education and Tribal foods, and a chance to get up close and personal with the Kalispel buffalo herd while learning about natural resources management efforts.
We’ll also visit with stakeholders from Washington State University Extension to learn about their micro-scale Farm to Food Pantry and Farm to School program that is active within a three-county region. A testament to right-scale infrastructure, the program pays local growers for fresh produce and transports it to food pantries and schools. Join us to learn more about opportunities to partner with community leaders and cultivate health, wellness, vitality, and economic development within rural communities.
A thriving regional food system requires a number of sustainable and profitable components: farmers and producers, processing and distribution systems, and outlets to consumers and markets at the end. This site visit will explore efforts to cultivate a healthy local foodshed in the Spokane region and highlight many of the exciting efforts taking place at all levels along this continuum.
We’ll start the day at the three-acre Vets on the Farm demonstration farm, a program of the Spokane Conservation District that equips veterans with small-scale food production skills through a relationship with WSU Extension and Spokane Community College. The program is both creating a pipeline and network of new small farmers and contributing to the development of a new agricultural corridor in south Spokane. We’ll speak with vets participating in the program to learn about their transformative experiences, and have a chance to get our hands dirty by helping with the summer harvest or in the greenhouse.
On the processing and distribution side, we’ll learn about LINC Foods. While it could be seen as a food hub like many others across the country, LINC Foods has also developed as a farmers’ cooperative and utilized a number of different creative integrated capital approaches to financing their business. In addition to providing food hub aggregation and distribution services, LINC Foods is unique in its creation of a malting business, Palouse Pint, that serves the unique needs of the many grain farmer-owners of its co-op. You’ll tour the malt house, learn about their business structure, and a bit about the how and why their structure is allowing them to reach profitability three to five years earlier than they might have otherwise. Don’t know what malting is? Don’t worry—you’ll know plenty by the end of the day!
We’ll close out the day by visiting the Grain Shed, a regional collaboration and cooperative venture between a baker, a pair of brewers, and a farmer. We’ll meet up with participants from the grain production site visit to swap stories while enjoying beer and bread made with Palouse Pint’s grain malt. You’ll get a taste of just how flavorful a healthy local foodshed can be.
Host Organizations: Vets on the Farm, Spokane, WA
● Vicki Carter, director, Spokane Conservation District
LINC Foods and Palouse Pint, a project of LINC Foods, Spokane, WA
● Brian Estes, procurement and logistics, LINC Foods
● Dan Jackson, sales and marketing director, LINC Foods
● Joel Williamson, co-founder, member-owner, and maltster, LINC Foods; brewer, The Grain Shed
The Grain Shed, Spokane, WA
● Teddy Benson, brewer
● Don Scheuerman, farmer, Palouse Colony Farm, Endicott, WA
● Shaun Thompson Duffy, chef, miller, and baker
The food movement has been working hard for decades to rebuild a food system that, in some ways, used to exist and was dismantled by consolidation and industrialization. With the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in nine states and medical use in 27 states, the pressures of consolidation and industrialization are already being felt. There is an opportunity to put sustainability and justice values into policy and practice now and to shape the development of an inclusive and equitable agricultural industry, but the window of opportunity is short and so far not many funders have been allocating attention and resources to this area.
Spokane County has more cannabis growers than any other county in Washington state, nearly 13% of all producers in the state. On this tour we’ll attempt to at least scratch the surface of this complicated and huge agricultural industry that is currently developing on a state-by-state and often county-by-county level. The day’s discussions will include an exploration of environmental sustainability; social justice; and economic, gender, and racial equity. We’ll have the chance to meet with two growers in the region and speak with advocates from other parts of the country. We’ll discuss the organizing power of farmers at the local level in Spokane County, burgeoning efforts to create regenerative organic agriculture standards for the industry, and how folks are trying to address equity and justice with new policy (don’t forget who the war on drugs, especially marijuana, has most affected).
Host Organizations: Washington’s Finest Cannabis, Deer Park, WA
● Crystal Oliver, president and co-founder, Washington’s Finest Cannabis; executive board member, Cannabis Farmers Council
● Kevin Oliver, co-founder and chief strategic officer, Washington’s Finest Cannabis; board member, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); executive director, Washington NORML
Additional Speakers: Andrew Black, founder and director, Certified Kind, CO Jesce Horton, chairman, Resource Innovation Institute; co-founder and former chairman, Minority Cannabis Business Association; co-founder, Saints Cannabis; founder, Panacea Valley Gardens, OR Amanda Reiman, vice president of community relations, Flow Kana; secretary, Cannabis Farmer’s Association; board member, Open Cannabis Project; board member, California Cannabis Tourism Association, CA More speakers coming soon.
We all know the phrase, “it takes a village.” This statement rings true for the Spokane region, where stakeholders are fostering access to healthy and nutritious food and developing a vibrant local food system from the ground up through the aid of strong relationships. Throughout the day, you will witness and experience the importance of robust community partnerships that are transforming lives in holistic, equitable, and impactful ways.
To learn about the broader context of the regional food system, we will head first to Second Harvest, a multi-faceted hunger relief network that distributes an average of two million pounds of food each month in 26 counties throughout eastern Washington and northern Idaho, including to more than 250 food banks, meal centers, and mobile markets. Their facilities include a state-of-the-art kitchen space that hosts many education, nutrition, and cooking programs for the community. We’ll tour their warehouse, hear from a number of their community partners, and participate in a short volunteer activity.
For lunch and learning, we’ll go to Westwood Middle School. Here we will explore the health, nutrition, and cultural change outcomes that have resulted from a district-wide school meal scratch cooking program developed in partnership with Empire Health Foundation, Spokane Regional Health District, and Washington State University Extension Food Sense Nutrition Education. All 52 schools in the Spokane Public School district, the second largest school district in Washington state, now offer healthy, scratch-cooked meals to K-12 students, and childhood obesity rates have decreased by 12% across the nine regional school districts that have switched to scratch cooking.
Our last stop will take us to northwest Spokane to visit River City Youth Ops. Their mission is to create opportunities for youth enrichment in the neighborhood through community engagement, job training, and education. We will hear from youth leaders in the program, take a walking tour of their urban garden plots, and help harvest produce for sale at a weekly farmers’ market.
Westwood Middle School, Spokane, WA
● Raeann Duncar, SNAP-Ed behavioral economics coordinator, Washington State University Spokane County Extension
● Chef LJ Klinkenberg, director of nutrition services, Cheney School District
● Laura Martin, senior program associate, Obesity Prevention, Empire Health Foundation
● Natalie Tauzin, healthy eating lead, Spokane Regional Health District
● Lori van Anrooy, Food Sense program manager, Washington State University Spokane County Extension
Tonight’s dinner will allow you to share stories and pictures from the day; huddle with non-funder colleagues before they depart; or simply get some food, head to your room, and get some rest. We’ll take a moment to recognize and thank the non-funder speaker partners and Food System Partners who have joined us over the past two days. No other programming tonight—enjoy!
Thursday, June 21 – Funders-Only Day
These facilitated in-depth sessions are designed to let funders share stories and best practices based on your own experiences; bring forth challenges you are facing; and hear your peers’ thoughts and strategies for impactful engagement. Choose from one of the five themes listed below, and join with other funders interested in advancing the conversation. Come ready to share!
In our collective work to create an equitable food system that advances health for those most impacted by health disparities, we often focus on the enormous problems we face. All too frequently we minimize emergent strategies for lack of solid evidence that they’re working. The intent of this highly participatory session is to focus on promising and exciting work addressing inequities in the food system related to food, nutrition, and health. We will lift up stories and examples that make us feel hopeful, with the goal of energizing ourselves as we leverage our power to challenge inequity in the food system.
Facilitator: Crystal Echo Hawk, consultant, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, CO
Fiber crops, both plant- and animal-derived, are a critical but often overlooked part of the global and U.S. agricultural system. Since SAFSF’s first workshop on this topic in 2013, members have moved forward with a variety of funding strategies. Funder peers will share examples highlighting a range of crops (wool, hemp, cotton); examine the connections between fiber, food, and soil health through rotational cropping and grazing systems; and take a close look at investment strategies as a tool for rebuilding local fiber processing infrastructure. There will also be time to consider next steps. Inspired by models like the ReFED collaborative on food waste, we’ll discuss emerging ideas for collaborative action.
Facilitator: Sarah Kelley, senior program officer, Island Foundation, RI
Break & Snacks
11:30 am-1:00 pm
SAFSF Network Update
11:30 am-1:00 pm
SAFSF Network Update
Speakers: Virginia Clarke, executive director, SAFSF, CA Kyle Datta, general partner, Ulupono Initiative, HI; SAFSF Co-Chair Jennifer Zuckerman, director, Strategic Partnerships, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, NC; SAFSF Co-Chair
Organized Ad Hoc Sessions
This space is offered in response to past Forum attendees’ requests to have time on the agenda to meet with peers interested in discussing particular topics. Looking for an opportunity to dive deeper into a particular topic missing from the Forum agenda? Want to follow up on an intriguing session or theme from earlier in the week? Or need time to build out that new collaboration? Use this time to join an informal conversation proposed by funder peers, or suggest your own topic for discussion.
All attendees will have the opportunity to host or join a conversation about a topic of interest. Attendees will be given more information about how to submit an ad hoc conversation theme while and after registering.
There is so much interest in food these days but still too little interest in those who grow and harvest that food. SAFSF will be hosting a special screening of the James Beard award-winning film FOOD CHAINS with filmmaker Sanjay Rawal. The film, produced by Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser with Forest Whitaker as narrator, exposes the horrific abuses farmworkers face and reveals the forces behind that exploitation: the $4 trillion global supermarket industry.
FOOD CHAINS tracks the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida as they battle the giant Floridian grocery chain, Publix. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farmworkers and a more humane, transparent food chain.
The film was released theatrically in 2014 and has played in over 1100 US Cities as part of its extended community screening tour. The film was screened at the White House, DOJ, State Department, and USDA. In 2015 the film was honored by the US Conference of Mayors. In 2016, Food Chains shared the BritDoc Impact award with CitizenFour, Virunga, and Chasing Ice as the most impactful films of 2015.
The film was funded by Ford, Humanity United, 11th Hour Project, Fledgling, Public Welfare, Panta Rhea, Bertha Philanthropies, and others.
Come celebrate all that we’ve shared and learned during the past three days at the Forum. Enjoy delicious food, local libations, live music, engaging conversation, and plenty of fun during our closing party at Overbluff Cellars. This craft winery and unique multi-use event space is located within a historic building that once housed the Washington Cracker Company, which took advantage of Spokane’s location in a grain-producing region to scale up production of cookies, biscuits, and crackers at the turn of the twentieth century.