Conference Workshop Lineup

2017 Community Food Systems Conference - Boston - Workshop Lineup


If you have downloaded the previous PDF version of the workshop lineup that was posted here,  please note that some sessions have been updated recently. Click here to view the final conference program, including summaries of each presentation.

 Please consult the grid and lineup below.






Session Title

Category/Topic Area


Presenter info


Building Stronger, Healthier Communities through Farm to Early Care and Education
Farm to All
Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) offers access to local food sourcing, school gardens, and food and agriculture education, implemented to enhance the quality of ECE settings. This session will highlight farm to ECE as a strategic approach to building healthier kids, families, and community food systems.


  • Lacy Stephens, National Farm to School Network (MT)

In her work with the National Farm to School Network, Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN, applies her experience in child nutrition and food systems to promote the development and expansion of the farm to early care and education movement through information sharing, network building, and advocacy at national and state levels.






  • Meagan Shedd, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (MI)

Meagan Shedd is an Academic Specialist with the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, with degrees in Dietetics (BS), Community Services (MS), and Educational Psychology (PhD).  She brings almost 20 years of experience in early childhood nutrition and education, working in public health, Extension, and institutions of higher education. She has authored several publications, including multiple professional development and resource guides, and has spoken widely about the use of children's books to integrate gardening and positive nutrition habits in early childhood education settings.

  • Afia Bediako, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (NY)

Afia Bediako is a community health advocate who has spent more than 10 years active in organizational and community health initiatives. She has led the Farm to Early Care initiative at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation since inception. She is passionate about healthy food access, specifically for our youngest residents.

Building Power to Change the Food System: Grassroots organizing towards Food Sovereignty in the United States
Movement Building in Food Systems
Food sovereignty is a political banner grounded on the rights of millions of food producers, and consumers around the World. This workshop will discuss the lessons and challenges on building power around food sovereignty in the United States and Worldwide.


  • Kathia Ramirez, Farmworker Support Committee (NJ)

Kathia Ramirez is the Food Justice Coordinator for CATA, a farmworker support center with offices in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. CATA is one of the leading organizations in several networks and Kathia is currently serving as one of the Northeast Region coordinator for the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.

  • Julianna Fisher, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (MA)

Julianna is NAMA’s Civic Engagement Program Coordinator. NAMA is a fishermen-led organization building a broad movement toward healthy fisheries and fishing communities.

Creating Equitable and Sustainable Supply Chains: Possibilities, Challenges, and Past Efforts
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks
Building supply chains supporting cooperatives, small/mid-scale farmers, and fair labor, from production to consumption, shifts power to economies based on equity instead of profits at any cost. This workshop emphasizes efforts to build these agricultural supply chains and discusses possibilities and challenges of constructing fully fair and sustainable supply chains.


  • Erika Inwald, Domestic Fair Trade Association (NY)

Erika has organized food workers with the UNITE HERE labor union, strengthened a coalition of emergency food providers in Chicago, and assisted with policy analysis and communications at the National Family Farm Coalition. Erika received her bachelor's degree from Brown University and is a Master's degree candidate at NYU.

  • Gideon Burdick, Red Tomato (NY)

Gideon joined Red Tomato in 2015 after working for LoCo Food Distribution in northern Colorado as Director of Vendor Relations and Office Manager. At Red Tomato Gideon works to support retail partners, farmers, and the RT team through B2B, electronic and retail marketing support. He would be more than happy sharing the stories and passion of the farmers in the RT network with anyone who will listen. A graduate of Warren Wilson College, outside of work you can find him trying various recipes in the kitchen, juggling, and trying to find a hidden spot along the New England coast.

  • Cian Dalzell, Wellness Manager, Berkshire Coop Market

How to incubate and incubator kitchen: The tips, tricks and lessons learned
Social Enterprise in the Food System
This workshop will address the challenges, tips and tricks to opening and operating a non-profit cooperative commercial kitchen. The presenters will start by giving an overview of CLiCK and will then map out their experiences in balancing their visions with the reality of developing and growing a food business hub.


  • Phoebe Godfrey, CLiCK, Inc. (CT)

Dr. Phoebe Godfrey is an Associate Professor-in-Residence in Sociology at UCONN. She is the co-founder of the non-profit CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Co-operative Kitchen) in Windham that is an incubator for local food businesses. She considers her teaching and non-profit work as central to her commitment to social and ecological justice.

  • Rachael LePort, CLiCK, Inc. (CT)

Rachael LaPorte is the General Manager at CLICK inc a commercial licensed cooperative kitchen in Windham CT. Rachael has over 20 years' experience in the fields of culinary arts education, small business development and food service industries. She assists small business culinary entrepreneurs to open and operate their food businesses.

Inhabit the Foodshed: Tools for Resilient Communities through Regenerative Agriculture
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks; Food Justice
This session will explore how we can begin to convert underutilized public and civic spaces in our communities into productive landscapes using regenerative practices to meet basic human needs: food, fuel, fiber, “farmaceuticals” and forage/fodder.


  • Thais Thiesen, Inhabit Earth (FL)

Thais Thiesen is a community organizer and designer focused on creative and educational community based programs in the area of sustainability. She has focused on grassroots roots initiatives to help innovators grow more sustainable, dynamic and diverse communities with organizations such as Earth Learning in South Florida and Idea Me in Latin America. She studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida and holds a Masters in Environmental Science from FIU researching sub-tropical perennial polyculture systems.  Thais is currently a partner in FoodScape Designs a design/build landscaping firms with a unique vision to create self-sustaining edible and productive ecosystems, along with relevant programming in civic and private spaces.  Her specialties include project management, teaching, program design, and landscape design.



Milked: Immigrant Dairy Workers' Quest for Dignified Work Conditions
This interactive session will focus on improving participants' knowledge of issues around immigrant dairy workers, including a developing program called Milk with Dignity that will promote the rights of dairy workers through worker-driven social responsibility.


  • Enrique Balcazar, Migrant Justice (VT)

Enrique “Kike” Balcazar worked on Vermont dairy farms for over three years, and both his parents were dairy workers in Vermont. Kike, an organizer among Vermont's immigrant worker communities, helped lead Migrant Justice's successful driver's license and bias-free policing campaigns. Kike has also helped build the Milk with Dignity Program.

  • Rafaela Rodriguez, Milk with Dignity Standards Council (VT)

Rafaela has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and a Master's degree in Social Welfare from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Rafaela's previous work with HIV+ orphans, human trafficking survivors, and teen pregnancy in Nicaragua all merges at the intersection of vulnerability, service access, and trauma.

  • Tom Fritzsche, Milk with Dignity Standards Council (VT)

Before joining MDSC, Tom supervised student advocates' case work in Cardozo School of Law's Immigration Justice Clinic, led litigation and advocacy efforts protecting rights of poultry processing workers as a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and was a health outreach worker with the Maine Migrant Health Program.

Organizing Youth Power
Youth Engagement
Learn from Rooted in Community - a national youth and food justice organization - about effective ways and stories around organizing youth power and building lasting coalitions, particularly in marginalized communities, in changing the food system in their communities.


  • John Wang, Rooted in Community (MA)

John is a graduate of the Health Policy and Management program at the Heller School at Brandeis and joined RIC in 2005 as a representative of The Food Project. John serves as an Anchor Circle member of RIC while also being Regional Director of TFP's North Shore site in MA.




  • Bevelyn Ukah, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (NC)

Bevelyn is passionate about youth and food justice work and is currently the Youth Organizer for CEFS. She is also responsible for organizing Rooted in Community's national annual youth and food justice conference happening this year in Greensboro, NC.






  • Beatriz Beckford, Rooted in Community (IL)

Beatriz is an organizer and human rights activist with over 15 years of experience who works tirelessly alongside grassroots groups domestically and internationally to organize for social change. She is a member of RIC's Anchor Circle while also being the Campaign Director of Mom's Rising.






  • Ayisah Yusuf, Rooted in Community 

Ayisah is a African American/Indigenous student who previously worked at the DC based national food justice/agro-policy organization called the Rural Coalition for 3 years. While working for Rural Coalition she became apart of the RIC national board in 2013 as well as being apart of the board for the women's group Ecohermanas.




Strategies for Equitable, Holistic Community-based Food Justice
Food Justice
Lawrence change makers explore Lawrence's holistic approach to food access, including urban farming, youth development, healthy bodega project, cooking classes, and community gardens, while acknowledging root causes of inequity and using a racial equity compass to guide processes and organizational integrity.


  • Heather Conley, Groundwork Lawrence (MA)

Heather has over 15 years of youth development and community organizing experience and 8 years growing food in urban spaces and cultivating community engagement in food systems as a vehicle to address and expose root causes of racial injustice.

The Power of Evaluation: Lessons Learned from the USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Measuring and Reporting Impacts
This session will use the evolution of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program’s evaluation system to illustrate the process for developing strong reporting and evaluation programs. Join us for tips on how to effectively use data to strengthen the narrative of your organization’s work, improve program practices and secure additional funding.


  • Rachel Spencer, USDA Food & Nutrition Service (TX)

Rachel Spencer works across the USDA's southwest region to help child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods into federal child nutrition programs. She holds a degree in environmental health science from the University of Georgia and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas.



Farm-to-Market: Connecting Producers and Consumers of Ethnic Crops
Farm to All
Increased demands for culturally appropriate, locally produced foods present a compelling opportunity for addressing food access and security in urban communities, while creating new markets for farmers. This workshop explores the production of culturally appropriate crops, the market in nearby urban areas, and the education needed to bridge the two.


  • Nicola Williams, The Williams Agency (MA)

Nicola Williams is owner of The Williams Agency, a marketing and business strategy firm. The business is built upon the values of sustainability, diversity, localism, and respect for the environment. She is a board member of Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, and honored as a Cambridge Food Hero in 2015.




  • Douglas Ling, Development Renaissance LLC (MA)

Douglas has over 25 years of experience working with small businesses to provide access to markets and capitals, and break barriers to growth. Douglas received his graduate engineering degree from M.I.T. and co-founded the Cambridge Business Development Center, and the MIT $100K Entrepreneurial Competition, an internationally-replicated entrepreneurial business launch model.



  • Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting (MA)


Karen Spiller is principal of KAS Consulting. Karen serves organizations in various arenas that include The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Food Solutions New England, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts.





  • Brett Richardson, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (ME)


At CEI, Brett supports local farmers and food system entrepreneurs to increase production, strengthen economies, and create quality jobs. He has worked in sustainable development for over 15 years. He earned a BA from Michigan State, and Masters in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Service.



Feeding Kansas: Civic Agriculture for Civic Health
The Community Food Solutions Initiative aims to advance key public policy solutions to better incorporate Kansas farms into the supply chain that provides healthful foods to Kansans. It reflects growing national and global awareness that the literal roots of our food system and farms, are key to improving food access.


  • Natalie Fullerton, Kansas Rural Center (KS)

Natalie Fullerton is the Program Director of the Kansas Rural Center's Community Food Solutions Initiative. Fullerton helps empower Kansans to advance policy and actions that incorporate the state's farms and ranches into the supply chain. Natalie has a master's of science in Public Horticulture Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.





Hawai‘i Food for All 
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks
A vibrant community foods network in Hawai‘i upholds traditional culture, farming, fishing, and land stewardship practices against great odds. Now low-income farmers add value to traditional crops - a health official quietly fosters grassroots networks - a health center runs a farm. Learn how and join our network!


  • Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center (MN)

Ken Meter is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. Meter holds 46 years of experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building, and worked with several tribal organizations. Author of food system assessment for Hawai‘i.






  • Kaiulani Odom, Kokua Kalihi Valley (HI)

Kaiulani Odom is Director of the ROOTS program for Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center. Involved in native Hawaiian health concerns for 20 years, her specialty is `Ai Kupele, nutrition from a cultural perspective, engaging communities, schools, and most importantly families. She's immersed in study of ho”˜oponopono, lā”˜au lapa”˜au and lomilomi.

  • Tina Tamai, Hawai‘i Good Food Task Force (HI)

Tina Tamai, MPH, JD, retired program manager of USDA SNAP Education program at the Hawaii Department of Health. There she facilitated and established The Network, a collaborative of community leaders dedicated to improving food systems in local communities to provide better access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods.

How Sustainable are Local Food Systems?
Measuring and Reporting Impacts
This workshop conveys practical decision-making strategies to better appreciate and apply sustainability to local food systems. Participants in small groups will map their local food system and apply sustainability criteria to assess the various components they identify. Participants will reflect on how to apply their experiences in the real world.


  • Hugh Joseph, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy (MA)


Hugh directs the Tufts Sustainable Diets Project with several other faculty and teaches a graduate course at the Friedman School titled “Food Systems and Sustainable Diets”.






From the Micro to the Macro: Community Food System Organizing in Oregon and beyond

Food Justice/Movement Building
Join Village Gardens, Oregon Food Bank, and the Closing the Hunger Gap network as they move from the micro to the macro in sharing practical approaches to building a healthier, more equitable and more resilient food system. From community gardens to regional organizing to a national network, the panel will reflect on what it takes to build solidarity and foster community organizing at different scales in the food system.


  • Christine Hadekel, Oregon Food Bank (OR)

Christine Hadekel is the Statewide Education and Outreach Manager at Oregon Food BankӬ where she manages garden education, nutrition education and health care Ҭpartnerships with food banks and community partners across Oregon. She has a background in garden-based education, food policy advocacy, and international nutrition programs.






  • Tracy Gagnon, Oregon Food Bank (OR)

Tracy Gagnon is the Community Food Systems Developer for the Oregon Food Bank where she works with communities to come up with self-identified solutions to address food security. Before OFB she has worked in school gardens, Farm & Fish to School programs, and 4H. She is passionate about community organizing and social justice.

  • Brad Melaugh, Village Gardens (OR)

Brad Melaugh is passionate about community solutions, food systems that work for the earth and the people, and working toward a just society. He has been with Village Gardens since May 2016, has lived in Portland for the last four years, and is originally from the Boston metro area!

  • Emily Becker, Closing the Hunger Gap (OR)

Emily Becker works for Oregon Food Bank and is on the Leadership Team of Closing the Hunger Gap, a nationwide network of food banks and partner organizations engaging in community food security programs. Prior to working at Oregon Food Bank, she worked for the Community Food Security Coalition where she facilitated collaboration among a nationwide network of food systems groups. Outside of work, Emily serves on the board of the Portland Fruit Tree Project and enjoys harvesting and preserving fruit from city trees.

Scaling out Agroecology in North America
Movement Building in Food Systems
Agroecology is a concept, a body of practices and a way of life. Farmers and farmworkers in the North America and around the world are working to scale out Agroecology, e.g. develop initiatives that will encourage others to take ownership and will strengthen food producers' leadership in the food system.


  • Holly Baker, Farmworker Association of Florida (FL)

The Farmworker Association of Florida, established in 1983, is a grassroots, community-based, farmworker membership organization with five locations in Central and South Florida. FWAF's primary programs focus on community organizing, leadership development, civic and electoral participation, pesticide safety education and policy change work, immigrants' rights and workers' rights advocacy and organizing, agroecology and cooperative development, women's health, vocational rehabilitation for injured farmworkers, and farmworker health research. FWAF fights for farmworkers' rights, food justice, and food sovereignty through our membership and participation in the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, La Via Campesina, Food Chain Workers Alliance, and Domestic Fair Trade Association.

  • Saulo Araujo, Why Hunger (NY)

Saulo works to advance initiatives of food sovereignty and agroecology by identifying resources and network opportunities that will strengthen the work of grassroots organizations and social movements. Originally from Brazil, Saulo brings years of experience working with urban and rural families in the United States and abroad.

  • Pia Desangles, Farmworkers Association of Florida (FL)

The Story of Labor: How Wholesale Farms in the Northeast Attract and Retain Skilled Labor
To remain competitive wholesale farmers must attract, train and retain a skilled workforce that can contribute to increased yields, product quality and food safety. This workshop will explore how growers and their crews, both domestic and foreign (H2A visa program), accomplish these goals while providing for worker health and wellbeing.


  • Susan Futrell: Director of Marketing for Red Tomato, Plainville, MA  

Susan will be serving as moderator as well as presenting an overview of labor for wholesale growers in the Northeast including background on the H2A program.

  • Elly Vaughan: Owner, Phoenix Orchard, Belchertown, MA  

Elly owns and manages a wholesale orchard in western MA; she has a year-round crew as well as a seasonal crew during harvest, and she will talk about her crew and the challenges for a mid-size grower in meeting labor needs.

  • Kerstin Lindgren: Campaign Director, Fair World Project, Boston, MA 

In addition to her current work promoting Fair Trade with FWJ, Kerstin is the former Director of the Domestic Fair Trade Association.  She will give an overview and some history of fair trade standards and programs and how they address wholesale growers in the US.

Youth Engagement in Building Sustainable Food Systems: Higher Education, Sustainability and Justice
Youth Engagement
Colleges have a critical role to play in building just and sustainable community food systems. In this workshop, we will present findings on the environmental, economic and social sustainability of our campus farm at Davidson College in order to facilitate a broader discussion of higher education in food systems.


  • Amanda Green, Davidson College (NC)

Dr. Amanda Green is an applied cultural anthropologist. She currently serves as a postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Studies at Davidson College. She teaches food systems courses and supervises undergraduate research at Davidson College's campus farm and local food system.

  • Charley Orner, Davidson College (NC)

Charley Orner is an Environmental Studies major and Latin American Studies minor at Davidson College. Sean Caveney is an Environmental Studies and Political Science major. They are Research Assistants in the Food, Farming and Community Engagement project.

  • Gregory Hunt, Davidson College (NC)

In 2008 Davidson College, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, purchased nearby farmland in order to build a 2-acre campus farm. The original goal was to supply sustainably produced food to Dining Services. Eight years later the college expanded its mission and offers experiential learning, student internships, and independent research based at the Farm. In essence, it has created a two-year learning community where faculty, staff and students learn about and act on the food system in order to move the college towards a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable food system.

Why Race Matters: The Importance of Connecting Race to Anti-Hunger Advocacy
African American and Latino communities are disproportionately impacted by hunger in the U.S. However, their voices are often ignored by elected officials when it comes to finding solutions. This session will address barriers to racial wealth equity, the impact on hunger and advocacy strategies for engaging food-insecure people of color.


  • Minerva Delgado, Alliance to End Hunger (DC)

Minerva Delgado has promoted economic and civil rights for 28 years. An experienced policy analyst, organizer and manager, Minerva is the Director of Coalitions & Advocacy at the national Alliance to End Hunger. She has held senior positions at Food Bank For New York City, Children's Defense Fund and Latino Justice.






LIGHTNING TALKS (short talks during session 2)

The Role of Gleaning in Local Food Systems
Food Justice
Gleaning is a method of capturing available nutrition that engages community members and provides value to farmers. Its adaptability makes it a suitable solution for improving community food security for all. Boston Area Gleaners will present their model, provide comparisons, and discuss the potential of surplus to fuel community development.


  • Laurie “Duck” Caldwell, Boston Area Gleaners (MA)

Laurie “Duck” Caldwell is the Executive Director for Boston Area Gleaners. She began working as the first employee of the organization in January 2010. Under her leadership, BAG has had exponential growth in capacity, from 37,545 pounds gleaned in 2010 to 421,167 pounds gleaned in 2016.






Welcome to the Lemonade Village
Food Justice

A dynamic spoken word piece that invites the audience to question the ways in which we see resource strapped communities. This piece tells the story of how one unique organization choose to see the power in themselves to grow food to feed and uplift themselves.


  • Lindsey Lunsford, TULIP (AL)

Currently a Sustainable Food System Resource Specialist for Tuskegee University, Ms. Lunsford works in food justice & community sovereignty efforts. An advisor to the Tuskegee United Leadership and Innovation Program (TULIP) in Tuskegee, Lindsey leads a team of community champions in building and creating home and community gardens and gardeners. The current goal of the Tuskegee United Leadership & Innovation Program is to help provide easily accessible, healthy produce to members of the Macon County community. In 2014, the Tuskegee University College of Agriculture Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) partnered with the Department of Interiors AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (DOI/VISTA) Program to create the Tuskegee United Leadership and Innovation Program (TULIP). TULIP maintains and creates public land spaces within the Tuskegee community to promote collective work and community harvest.



Agricultural Apprenticeships: Reproducing Traditional Labor Relations in the Alternative Food Movement

Agricultural apprenticeships are increasingly popular. This session explores the tension between apprentices' need for educational training and farmers' need for inexpensive workers. Based on research findings from twenty-six apprenticeship programs in the United States, I analyze the extent to which agricultural apprenticeships contribute to farmworkers' oppression in the form of powerlessness, exploitation, marginalization, and cultural imperialism.


  • Kaitlin Fischer, Fort Lewis College (CO)

Kaitlin Fischer is a Visiting Professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. She is a recent graduate of Marylhurst University's Food Systems and Society program that is uniquely focused on studying the food system through the lens of social equity and on bridging academia and activism.






Chefs for Change - The Power of Youth to Inspire
Youth Engagement

Demonstrate the power of urban youth to inspire their community to accept and sustain change. CHEFS for Change (Culinary Health Education for Stores) is a field-tested, youth- led healthy retail program where youth collaborate with local bodegas to produce healthy 'grab 'n go' options, leading to a profitable business model for the owners, while building confidence and culinary skills in the youth.


  • David Bartolomi, Family Cook Productions (NY)

Director of Youth Development for 5 years at (FCP). I provide a strength based framework helping youth naturally discover and develop their unique identities. Through modeling, SMART goals, and hands on engagement I help build their confidence and skills for achieving sustainable, healthy behavior changes in a modern world, including reducing obesity and diabetes.

  • Lynn Fredericks, Family Cook Productions (NY)

Farm Link: A food hub model to increase local produce for institutions and hunger relief agencies
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks

This session will provide preliminary results from a 2-year project which partners a food bank with a medical school to implement a food hub system to coordinate a currently fragmented food system and provide healthy local food options to institutional buyers and hunger relief organizations who serve at-risk populations.


  • Melissa DeNomie, Medical College of Wisconsin (WI)


Melissa DeNomie is a research coordinator at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She has ten years' experience managing community-engaged research projects in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin. She is also a doctoral student studying critical theories of race, community-engaged research, and the food movement.





Federal Food Programs: A Tool for Food Sovereignty?

The $100 billion spent annually on federal food programs, such as SNAP and WIC, reduces food insecurity but also reinforces the industrial corporate-controlled food system. We need to rethink the “back end” of these programs, so that they are the leading edge of poverty reduction and a more democratic economy.


  • Andy Fisher, Independent consultant and author of Big Hunger

Andrew Fisher is a leading food security expert. In 1994, he co-founded and led the Community Food Security Coalition until 2011. He played a lead role in gaining passage of various pieces of seminal federal food policy. He authored Big Hunger, an expose of the hunger-industrial complex, published in 2017.






Fresh, Local Food Hits the Road
Food Justice

This session will highlight how bringing healthy food to food deserts is making a difference in the health and living conditions of communities with limited incomes.


  • Mike Devlin, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA)


Mike oversees the Foundation's grantmaking projects, all of which are focused on some aspect of increasing access to fresh, healthy food.





From the Ground Up: Emerging Themes in Community-Based Food Systems Innovations
Social Enterprise in the Food System

From coast to coast, communities are innovating to create more equitable food systems. This session will highlight emerging trends that will inspire and inform positive change at the community level.


  • Susan Lightfoot Schempf, Wallace Center at Winrock International (AR)

Susan's been immersed in community-based food systems for over 15 years. After co-founding the Noyo Food Forest, a unique Farm to School partnership in rural northern California, Susan led numerous regional food systems initiatives, designed a decentralized food hub, and developed farmer training programs before joining the Wallace Center.



Jones Valley Teaching Farm's food education program in partnership with Birmingham City Schools
Youth Engagement

By linking nutrition and food literacy programming with an educational design that aligns with content standards, Jones Valley Teaching Farm measurably improves students' understanding of core subjects including science, math, engineering, and English language arts. The program also incorporates youth entrepreneurship, social-emotional development, paid internship opportunities, and after school programming.


  • Scotty Feltman, Jones Valley Teaching Farm (AL)

Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2002, Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) began with a simple mission to grow and provide access to fresh produce in urban areas. A major milestone in this mission was the development of a vacant city block into an urban farm in 2007. In 2012, JVTF refined its mission with the goal of increasing long-term impact on students in the Birmingham City School System. We now operate seven teaching farms (six on school campuses) and implement a cross-curricular food and nutrition education model connecting standards-based content during the school day.





Numbers Add Up to Better Nutrition: A Healthy Chelsea Case Study
Measuring and Reporting Impacts

Since 2015, Northbound Ventures has provided nutritional data analysis to Healthy Chelsea, Chelsea Public Schools, and the district's food service management company, Aramark. As a result of this project, high school lunch entrees have dropped saturated fat and sodium content by more than 30% without sacrificing participation rates.


  • Holly Fowler, Northbound Ventures (MA)

Holly has almost 20 years experience in business, sustainability, food service, and food systems. She routinely collaborates with institutions, food service professionals, farmers, supply chain partners, NGOs, health professionals, academics, and policy makers positioned to lead and to influence sustainable food system and community change.






  • Madelyn Herzog, School Programs Coordinator at Healthy Chelsea (MA)


A New England Food Vision: New Narratives
Food Justice
What are our “counter stories” about food system work required in A New England Food Vision? The power of revealing the counter stories while discussing food system transformation leads us to embrace our new and evolving narratives around a new economy within that new food system of equity and dignity. In this workshop, we will: 1) Discuss the power of regionalism and regional networks for communities of color; 2) Explore the unique role of culture and ethnic crops in urban settings in the Vision; 3) Reflect on how political will at the grassroots level can influence the change and transformation required.


  • Julius Kolawole, African Alliance of Rhode Island (RI)

Julius Kolawole is President and Cofounder of the African Alliance of Rhode Island (AARI). The African Alliance of Rhode Island promotes unity within the African Communities in Rhode Island, advocates for the rights of Africans in RI, and educates the American public about Africa, while elevating the profile of the continent and facilitating linkages between Americans and Africans. He is an adjunct professor at Bristol Community College. Julius is also a cofounder and former President of Oasis International in Providence and chairman of a credit union. He spends time providing assistance to young people in the community. Julius serves as Rhode Island Ambassador and Process Team member of Food Solutions New England.



  • Marilyn Moore, US Senator (CT)

Marilyn Moore has been a force in advocating for health equity, living wage, and legislation that supports and protects Connecticut communities. She founded and is President and CEO of The Witness Project of Connecticut, which seeks to address and reduce breast cancer mortality. Marilyn was first elected in 2014 to serve the 22nd State Senatorial District communities of Trumbull, sections of Bridgeport and Monroe. She was elected to a second term in 2016. Marilyn serves as Connecticut Ambassador and Network Team member of Food Solutions New England. Moore founded and became President and CEO of The Witness Project, which seeks to address and reduce breast cancer mortality. Marilyn Moore was first elected in 2014 to serve the 22nd State Senatorial District communities of Trumbull, sections of Bridgeport and Monroe. She was elected to a second term in 2016.

  • Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting (MA)

Karen Spiller is Principal of KAS Consulting, providing mission-based consulting with a focus on resource matching and strategic planning for health and equity-focused initiatives. She works with diverse stakeholders, including community residents and businesses, state and local agencies, policy makers, corporations, foundations, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers. Karen currently serves organizations in various roles that include Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Karen serves as Massachusetts Ambassador and Process Team member of Food Solutions New England.




  • Joanne Burke, University of New Hampshire (NH)

Joanne Burke is a Clinical Associate Professor, and Director the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Dietetic Internship in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Food Systems, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She also serves as a Senior Faculty Fellow in the UNH Sustainability Institute, and a member of r the UNH task Force on Food Security. She is actively engaged in promoting sustainable food systems initiatives in state, regional, and national arenas. As a member of the Food Solutions New England network (FSNE), and the New Hampshire Food Alliance (NHFA) she is committed to advancing racial equity, food justice, access to healthy food and democratic engagement in emergent food systems. Joanne, as a registered Dietitian, and a member of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition (HEN) professional practice group, is actively engaged in exploring a greater understanding multidimensional relationship inherent in promoting population and planetary health. Joanne is an author of A New England Food Vision.


Movement Building in Food Systems: The case of Puerto Rico
Movement Building in Food Systems
Puerto Rico receives approximately 85% of it's food imported from abroad. Nevertheless, during the last 10 years there has been a strong and very active Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology Movement growing.


  • Jesus Vazquez, Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica (PR)

Jesús Vázquez is an activist, organizer and lawyer who is part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology Movement of Puerto Rico. Jesús Vázquez, works with public policy and advocacy around environmental justice food sovereignty issues. He also coordinates different activities to support the network of local sustainable farms in the different regions of Puerto Rico. Jesús Vázquez, gives priority to organizing tasks to strengthen the local movement for food justice. He is a member of the National Coordination Team of Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico.

  • Katia Avilés, Organizacion Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica (PR)

Katia Avilés has worked for the past 25 years seeking and organizing alternative participatory methods for under represented communities. Her work expands upon her activism in the US for visibility of Latino populations.  She has a doctorate in Cultural and Political Ecology and has worked for almost a decade on the intersection between science and political activism with grassroots community leaders and farmers.  She is a member of Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica, PR Chapter of La Vía Campesina, and currently working on Post-hurricane Maria self-recovery efforts. Katia R. Avilés Vázquez, PhD

CommonWealth Kitchen - Creating stronger links in the food system
Social Enterprise in the Food System
CommonWealth Kitchen, Boston's nonprofit food incubator and small batch food manufacturing facility based in Dorchester, plays an important and multi-faceted role in strengthening our regional food economy. Members of CWK's collaborative community will discuss the organization's approach to economic development, social justice, and food systems change.


  • Roz Freeman, Commonwealth Kitchen (MA)

Roz manages the intake processes for CWK's aspiring food entrepreneurs, assesses their readiness to start and grow a food business, supports them and makes available a wide range of technical training for the 45+ member companies so can they develop their products and food concepts and grow their businesses.

  • Jackson Renshaw, Fresh Food Generation (MA)

FFG is increasing access to healthy food for residents of Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan communities and believes people should be able to eat well regardless of where they live or their level of income. They also believe in hiring from within the communities they serve, sourcing from local businesses and farms in and around Boston. FFG supports local farmers and believes that providing sustainably grown produce and meat builds a better food system. In addition FFG runs a catering business and has recently opened a cafe at Dorchester House Health Center, introducing healthy and affordable grab-and-go options in the lobby.

  • Tristam Keefe, Urban Farming Institute (MA)

Tristram, Enterprise Manager at the Urban Farming Institute, manages production on three urban farms in Dorchester and Roxbury. He completed the Urban Farming Institute's farmer training program, was a CSA intern at IBA, cooked for Mei Mei restaurant, and was Farm Manager at City Growers LLC from 2013 to 2015.

  • Akeisha Hayde, Harvard University (MA)

Akeisha joined HUDS in April 2015 as Executive Chef for Residential Dining. Previously she worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she served as Executive Chef since 2011, following numerous foodservice roles at other medical facilities and restaurants, taking large institutional food programs to the next level.

Gaining strength in the rural Appalachian food system through multidisciplinary collaboration
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks
This session will focus on the development of a community-based coalition consisting of faculty, staff, and students from Appalachian State University and community-based food agencies. The goal of the community-based coalition is sustained improvement of the local food system for those living in the rural Appalachia region of North Carolina.


  • Adam Hege, AppalFRESH (Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health) at Appalachian State University (NC)


Adam Hege, PhD, MPA, CHES, is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Appalachian State University, where he teaches courses in Community Health, Foundations in Health Behavior, and Health Policy, Ethics and Law. His community-based research focuses on addressing food insecurity and other health disparities in rural North Carolina.





  • Carla Ramsdell, AppalFRESH (Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health) at Appalachian State University (NC)

Carla Ramsdell, MS, PE, is a registered engineer and senior lecturer in the Physics and Astronomy department at Appalachian State University. Her work with sustainable food focuses on the energy of our food cycle, specifically cooking. She is passionate about improving our understanding of the food, energy, water nexus.

  • Amy Galloway, AppalFRESH (Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health) at Appalachian State University (NC)

Amy T. Galloway, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University, where she teaches courses in Child Development and Conservation Psychology. Her research focuses on the development of eating behavior, and she is particularly interested in understanding how to foster the consumption and enjoyment of sustainably-produced foods.

  • Charlie Wallin, Appalachian State University (NC)

Charlie Wallin is the Assistance Director of Appalachian Food Services at Appalachian State University.

  • Carol Coulter, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (NC)

Carol Coulter is the Executive Director of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.

  • Laura Johnston, Appalachian State University (NC)

Laura Johnston, current Graduate Student in Sustainable Development and Intern with the Office of Sustainability, Appalachian State University

Creating A New Economics That Supports Community Food Systems
Movement Building in Food Systems
If community food systems are to endure and transcend the vagaries of current political and economic systems, they must be created in tandem with a new economics that shares its goals and values. Workshop participants will discuss what that new economics might look like and how it is taking shape.


  • Greg Watson, Schumacher Center for a New Economics (MA)


Greg served two non consecutive terms as Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture where he launched a statewide urban agriculture program. Currently assisting Battle Creek, MI stakeholders design and implement a resident-led food system.





  • Penn Loh, Tufts University Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning (MA)



Penn Loh is Lecturer and Director of the Master in Public Policy Program and Community Practice. Currently authored paper on the emerging solidarity economy movement in lower-income communities of color in Massachusetts.





  • David Bollier, The Commons Strategies Group (MA)



David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and independent scholar with a primary focus on the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. movement. Bollier's work on the commons especially focuses on Internet culture; law and policy; ecological governance; and inter-commoning.




  • Adam Davenport, Terra Cura (MA)


Adam studied civil engineering at The University of New Hampshire. He created his own path taking classes in Environmental Engineering, Water Management, Sustainable Engineering, Natural Resources and Wildlife Ecology. He is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner.





Farmworkers under Threat
Farmworkers' long-fought victories, their communities, their health, and even their lives are under threat by policies and actions of the new Administration. These controversial decisions that disregard farmworkers' dignity, family unity, community safety, and exposure to poisonous chemicals are manifesting in real and severe impacts on farmworker families now.


  • Elvira Carvajal, Farmworker Association of Florida (FL)

Elvira Carvajal is the South Florida Lead Community Organizer with the Farmworker Association of Florida. She organizes farmworkers to confront economic, social, environmental, and political injustices. Elvira is also an herbalist, agroecology practitioner, and leader among women in La Via Campesina North America and La Alianza Nacional de Campesinas.

  • Kathia Ramirez, Farmworker Support Committee (CATA) (NJ)

Kathia Ramirez is the Food Justice Coordinator for CATA, a farmworker support center with offices in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. CATA is one of the leading organizations in several networks and Kathia is currently serving as one of the Northeast Region coordinator for the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.

  • Edgar Franks, Community-to-Community Development (WA)

Edgar Franks is the Civic Engagement Program Coordinator at C2C, working to engage supporters and develop a strategy that ensures the needs of the Farm Worker community are represented. Edgar currently serves on leadership teams of the US Social Forum, US Food Sovereignty Alliance, and Move to Amend.

  • Saulo Araujo, Why Hunger (NY)

Saulo works to advance initiatives of food sovereignty and agroecology by identifying resources and network opportunities that will strengthen the work of grassroots organizations and social movements. Originally from Brazil, Saulo brings years of experience working with urban and rural families in the United States and abroad.

Book Smart: Using Benchmarking and Performance Indicators for Better Bottom-Line Management
Measuring and Reporting Impacts
Once the books are in order, it’s time to stop working IN your business and start working ON your business. Led by Erin Pirro of Farm Credit East and Will Gray of The Wallace Center, this interactive workshop demonstrates how food businesses can use their financial statements to examine key performance indicators and identify opportunities as well as problem areas.


  • Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East (CT)

Erin Pirro is a farm business consultant and vice president for Farm Credit East, the Northeast's leading financial services cooperative for agriculture. Her work is centered on successfully helping customers analyze their businesses from many angles to pinpoint methods for improving their profitability.

  • Will Gray, Senior Program Associate at The Wallace Center at Winrock International (VA)


The Farm Bill is Coming! Make Your Voice Heard
The next farm bill is just around the corner, which means now is the time to make sure food systems practitioners voices are heard around the policy table. Join the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in learning about the 2018 Farm Bill and how you can get involved.


  • Wes King, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC)

Wes staffs NSAC's Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development Committee. Previously, he worked at Illinois Stewardship Alliance on local food, farmers markets and working-lands conservation policy. Prior to that he worked for the Illinois Environmental Council. Wes holds an M.A. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois.





  • Sarah Hackney, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC)

Sarah works with NSAC's members and allies to empower and mobilize grassroots food and farm voices nationwide. Raised in rural Florida, her prior work includes working to improve small farm viability, increase food access, and build leadership in rural communities. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.






The Freshest for the Youngest: Farm to Early Care
Farm to All
What is Farm to Early Care? How do you get started? Discover how to find local foods and use them in healthy, appealing meals and snacks for children. Learn how to engage children in understanding where their food comes from through hands-on activities like gardening, field trips, stories and more.


  • Erin McKee VanSlooten, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (MN)

Erin McKee has been with IATP for 7 years and is Program Director of our Farm to Institution Program. She has managed on the ground programs, leads a coalition advocating for state-level policy supporting these programs and has regularly presented nationally and locally on Farm to Institution. Erin McKee focuses her work on Farm to School and Farm to Early Care, getting fresh healthy produce from our local growers into school and early care meals, as well as testing and promoting curricula and educational models that encourage food literacy as children make the connection between those locally grown foods and the farmers who produce them. Erin especially enjoys working with partners to advance the farm to institution cause both locally and nationally-we are stronger together!

The Youth Are The Truth: authentic engagement of urban youth in community led food justice work
Youth Engagement
This interactive session will tell the story of the Appetite For Change Youth Founders and the creation of an innovative and successful youth engagement program that trains, educates and employs young people ages 14-24 in North Minneapolis. Hear this grassroots tale of harnessing the power of the youth.


  • Princess Titus, Appetite for Change (MN)

Princess Titus, youth engagement - A teacher and mother who lives and works in her community of North Minneapolis. A founder of Appetite For Change, she is also a licensed teacher and career counselor who believes that food is connected to how we perform in all areas.

  • LaTaijah Powell, Appetite for Change (MN)

LaTaijah is one of AFC's Youth Founders. She is 20 years old and was born and raised in North Minneapolis. She graduated from Patrick Henry and has been a Youth Leader at AFC since graduating. She loves performing arts, music and hanging out with her friends and family.

  • John Washington, Appetite for Change (MN)

John is a sophomore in High school who believes that healthy eating supports him as an athlete and is encouraged to grow food so he can save money to buy foods. He plans to develop a family business that will involve media and the arts.

  • Tyrell Dunlap, Appetite for Change (MN)

Tyrell is a junior in High school and grew up in a family that cooked healthy food, but not as a family, and knew the importance of growing food but didn't know how. AFC has helped insert those missing pieces and Tyrell has gained confidence by being a part of the program.


Adapting Food and Farm Policies Across Local, State, Tribal and Federal Programs
Through Navajo cultural and values based approaches, we will give examples of how policies across local, state, tribal and federal programs can impact the ability to create a robust value chain from the farm to schools, stores, and home. Through group interaction we'll share policy ideas and solutions.


  • Gloria Ann Begay, Dine (Navajo) Food Sovereignty Alliance

Gloria Ann Begay is a retired Navajo educator and policy advisor. She advocates and educates for healthier families and environment. As a Din4 Community Advocacy Alliance member, they passed the Navajo Junk Food Tax and currently a member of the Din4 Food Sovereignty Alliance to restore the Dine food system.

  • Katie Sandson, Food Law and Policy Clinic Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation Harvard Law School (MA)

Katie Sandson is a Clinical Fellow in the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, where she provides legal and policy guidance to community advocacy groups, state agencies and non-profits who are working to improve the food system. 

  • Pam Roy, Farm to Table New Mexico (NM)


Pam Roy is Executive Director of Farm to Table, a New Mexico organization working on regional food and farm systems initiatives; farm to school; and focuses on local, state, tribal and national policy. She coordinates the NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council and Santa Fe Food Policy Council.





Building and Maintaining a CSA in Underserved Communities
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks
This workshop is about a non-profit urban farm's initiative to address food insecurity, healthy food access, and community food resiliency through a 40-share CSA program. We will focus on 1) outreach and engagement, 2) creative partnerships for affordable, accessible prices and processes, 3) farm planning and management, and 4) evaluation.


  • Michelle Kaiser, Ohio State University/Franklinton Gardens (OH)


Kaiser is on the executive committee of OSU's Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, leads the Food Mapping Team, is evaluating a USDA Community Food Projects grant, volunteers with Franklinton Gardens, consults for a USDA CYFAR grant related to food, and participates in other food, agriculture, and policy research.





  • Nicholas Stanich, Franklinton Gardens (OH)


Nick has worked with Franklinton Gardens since 2011 and as director since 2013. He serves as a voting member of the Franklin County Local Food Council, OSU food mapping team, Ohio Smart Agriculture Solutions from the Land steering committee, and has a MS in soil science.




Cutting-edge evaluation in Community Food - Participatory, Tech, Lean
Measuring and Reporting Impacts
Poor health indicators and rising consumer demand are driving the need for an increase in equitable access to fresh, healthy food for residents throughout our region. This session will bring together a wide sample of people working in community food to discuss strategies to chart impact and gather meaningful community stories.


  • Catherine Sands, Fertile Ground (MA)


Catherine has 20 years experience as an evaluation and education leader in food systems and policy change. She is the primary evaluator for the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council's W.K. Kellogg Foundation multiyear food and fitness grant. Sands is also a systems and policy lecturer at UMASS Stockbridge School of Agriculture and a member of the Harvard Pilgrim Evaluation Design Team.




  • Ashley Hackett, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation (MA)

Ashley manages the grant portfolio for the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund in Central and Western Massachusetts. Ashley was previously at Care Force, the national civic engagement team of City Year, where she led corporate volunteers in transformative service and helped plan and implement various projects around the country. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Sports Medicine.




  • Daniel Ross, Daisa Enterprises (MA)

Daniel has 17 years leading Holyoke-based community food organization Nuestras Raices, and is COO of  Wholesome Wave national capacity-building organization. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan. He is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance, and co-founded and chaired the Holyoke Food& Fitness Policy Council for many years.





  • Cynthia Espinosa Morerro, Growing Places (MA)

Cynthia Espinosa Marrero is a food systems scholar and activist, helping diverse communities grow and eat more healthy food. Her passion for gardening was seeded with her family Yabucoa, Puerto Rico where she grew up. Cynthia was the Nuestras Raices Farm Manager. BA Sustainable Food Studies, MA Environmental Studies.






From Volunteers to Ambassadors: Volunteer Management to Maximize Mission
Movement Building in Food Systems
Volunteers are an essential part of our work. This session will help food and farm justice organizations with often-limited time, staff, and resources to engage and manage volunteers in a sustainable way. We will discuss best practices and strategies to develop volunteers as allies, ambassadors, and partners in your work.


  • Maleah Gustafson CVA, M.Ed., Central Mass Grown; & Central Mass Local Food (MA)

Maleah has over 20 years experience in civic engagement, volunteer management, experiential learning and community development across national service, non-profit, and higher education sectors. She is a Certified Volunteer Administrator; board member of Central Mass Grown; graduate of the FSNE Leadership Institute; and advocate of local food and social justice.






Funding Streams to Build and Sustain Your Farm to School Program
Farm to All

This session will detail government, philanthropic, community, and individual funding streams that can help build or sustain farm to school programs. Participants will learn about grant programs as well as creative fundraising strategies that school districts and their partners can use to support farm to school in their community.


  • Tegan Bernstein, USDA FNS

Tegan is the USDA’s Farm to School Lead for the Mid-Atlantic Region (MARO) as well as the School Garden Specialist for the USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS).  She has been with USDA Farm to School Program since its inception. Tegan has over twelve years of professional food systems & justice experience, including working for departments of public health,  The Food Trust on a wide-variety of programs, and served as the first NFSN Farm to School Lead for the Mid-Atlantic. Her academic background is in Anthropology & Nutrition. Tegan lives in Philadelphia and enjoys gardening with (or protecting her garden from).

  • Kate Mitchell, Portsmouth, NH School Department's CLIPPERS Farm to School Program (NH)

Kate is the Program Manager of the Portsmouth, NH School Department's CLIPPERS Farm to School Program. Recipients of both USDA Farm to School Planning and Implementation grants, Kate has experienced the wonders and woes of funding a program within the Nutrition Department, that is within the School District, that is within the city…. and does NOT have 501c3 status. Not including USDA support, that amounts to over $50,000 in outside fundraising so far. What does the future look like? We're working on it, and happy to share our story.





  • Francey Slater, Mill City Grows (MA)

Francey is the Co-Director of Mill City Grows and oversees the Community and Education Programs. Francey is a seasoned educator and gardener. She holds a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from University of Pennsylvania, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Keene State College. She also holds a Master Gardener certification from the University of Vermont, and a Master Urban Gardener certification from Boston Natural Areas Network. Her experience creating garden-based educational programming spans a decade, several continents, and youth through adult learners, and has solidified her belief that gardens present infinite opportunities to foster community resilience and engage people of all ages in the empowering and healing act of growing healthy food from seed to harvest.




Increasing Health Equity and Food Access through Food Hubs: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities
Social Enterprise in the Food System
Innovative strategies are being tested to move food to price sensitive and resource constrained buyers in order to improve food access and health equity. Doing so in a financially sustainable way is a huge challenge for social enterprises. Learn from three about the trials, early successes and failure.


  • Kathy Nyquist, New Venture Advisors LLC (IL)


Kathy's work has led to numerous business launches, publications, speaking engagements and trainings focused on developing food systems that are good for farmers, consumers and the intermediaries that connect them. She spent 20 years working with Fortune 100 companies and received an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago.





  • Thea Upham, Farm Fresh Rhode Island (RI)

Farm Fresh Rhode Island is non-profit organization founded in 2004 to grow a local food system for Rhode Island that values the environment, health, and quality of life of farmers and eaters. Part incubator, part activator, FFRIs programs grow the local food system by building capacity in three areas: Producers, Markets & Eaters. Thea oversees all current Community Access Programs and bridges the gap between agriculture and public health, by developing and maintaining key partnerships, seeking new connections and staying abreast of national best practices. She holds a BA in Foodservice Entrepreneurship from Johnson and Wales University.




  • Kathlyn Terry, Appalachian Sustainable Development (VA)


Kathlyn Terry, Executive Director for Appalachian Sustainable Development, has over 20 years of experience in the private sector and holds a bachelor's degree in business from Texas A&M University. She joined ASD in 2006 as its first Business Operations Manager and has served as the Executive Director since 2011.





Mukayuhsak Weekuw (The Children's House) Community Food Projects
Youth Engagement
At Mukayuhsak Weekuw, The Children's House, Wampanoag preschool and kindergarten students learn tribal values and cultural practices in a language immersion setting, beginning at age two. Language team members share strategies and practices for introducing tribal youth to traditional and contemporary food, farming, and fishing practices in Wampanoag homelands.


  • Melanie Roderick, Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (MA)

Roderick is a citizen of the Assonet Band of Wampanoag, and a certified Wôpanâak language instructor. She serves students from pre-K through grade 12, as well as tribal elders. She also teaches community language classes and has expertise in traditional Wampanoag food systems and material culture.

  • Jennifer Harding, Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (MA)

Harding is a licensed practical nurse and nutrition specialist for Mukayuhsak Weekuw: The Children's House preschool and kindergarten. She is a certified Wôpanâak language instructor and citizen of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe. Harding oversees Mukayuhsak Weekuw snack and meal planning, as well as student/family planting and composting projects.

  • Tia Pocknett, Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (MA)

Pocknett (Mi'kmaq) grew up in a Mashpee Wampanoag family and learned tribal shellfishing, gathering, and farming traditions from a young age. As a community language teacher, and immersion classroom teacher for preschool and kindergarten students she enjoys sharing her local ecological knowledge with her students during science walks around Mashpee.

From Bison to Blue Corn - Native Leaders Making Farm to School Happen
Food Justice
Does serving fresh, local food seem daunting? Worried it might be too complicated or costly? Hear directly from Native American leaders about the creative ways in which they've overcome challenges and established farm to school programs that honor traditional Native foods and values. You'll be inspired and have a deeper appreciation for the value of farm to school in communities across the country.


  • Andrea Northup, Office of Community Food Systems, USDA (CO)

Andrea Northup is the USDA Mountain Plains Farm to School Regional Lead. Previously, Andrea was the Farm to School Coordinator at Minneapolis Public Schools as well as the Founder and Director of the DC Farm to School Network. She has degrees in Environmental Engineering and Public Health from Tufts University.

  • Mark Sorensen, STAR School (AZ)

Mark Sorensen has been deeply involved in community-based Native American education for over 40 years, as the lead administrator of Native schools and Native -led non-profits serving Navajo, Hopi and Apache students. Dr. Sorensen is co-founder, CEO and Board President of the STAR School, the first off-grid, solar and wind powered school in the U.S.

  • Patricia Hammond, Oglala Sioux Tribe & Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Jason Schoch, Pine Ridge Community Development Extension

Patricia Hammond, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Jason Schoch have been working together on the Pine Ridge Reservation for over 12 years now, with youth, with gardens, especially community gardens, with health and nutrition, farmers markets, Beginning Farmer/Rancher, AgrAbility and community development efforts. They started back in 2006 while Patricia worked for the Math and Science Dept of Oglala Lakota College and Jason worked for Dr. Jane Goodall as the Project Director for her Roots & Shoots program. Eventually, Patricia joined Dr. Goodall’s team for several years. Together they opened a small coffee shop and café on the reservation for a couple of years.

Jason came on board with SDSU Extension as the Pine Ridge Community Development Extension Associate a little over four years ago and remains in that role, however his main role is now as the Native American Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program Manager on the Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Cheyenne River reservations. Patricia started out with SDSU Extension as a garden educator, stepped up to become the Pine Ridge Snap-Ed Nutrition Assistant and now also serves as the Native American Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program Assistant.

What's Labor Got to Do with It? Livable Wages and Workers' Rights in the Food Chain
Labor; Policy/Advocacy

The rights of food workers and producers are integral to a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system. This panel will address systemic labor and wage issues inherent to food production in the U.S. and introduce policy proposals and community advocacy efforts to support a food system that works for all.


  • Sarah Reinhardt (moderator), UC Santa Cruz (CA)
  • David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute (DC)

David Cooper is a Senior Economic Analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, where he conducts national and state-level research with a focus on the minimum wage, tipped minimum wage, wage theft, employment, and poverty. David’s analyses on the impact of minimum wage laws have been used by policymakers and advocates in city halls and statehouses across the country, as well as in Congress and the White House. He has testified in many states and cities on the challenges facing low-wage workers and their families, and has been interviewed and cited by numerous local and national media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and NPR.

  • Edna Rodriquez, Rural Advancement Foundation International (NC)

Edna is the Operations Director and Come to the Table Program Manager at RAFI

  • Suzanne Adely, Food Chain Workers Alliance (NY)

Suzanne Adely, Northeast Regional Organizer at the Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA), a lead organization of the HEAL Food Alliance. Suzanne Adely joined the Food Chain Workers Alliance in 2017. A former NYC educator, she has a background in community organizing, public interest law and international worker advocacy. Suzanne worked with several youth and community led organizations in Chicago and New York before beginning her global labor rights work. From 2011-2014 she was the UAW Global Organizing Institute India project coordinator and since has collaborated with many local and global organizations on behalf of workers in New York, Middle East & North Africa and elsewhere.




Developing a Strategic Evaluation Plan: The Healthy Corners Program
Measuring and Reporting Impacts

This presentation demonstrates how to implement a strategic evaluation plan for programs aimed at tackling social justice issues. Using examples from DC Central Kitchen's Healthy Corners program, attendees will gain insight on developing a monitoring and evaluation plan to measure program impacts.


  • Laura Belazis, DC Central Kitchen (DC)


DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is a nonprofit whose mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. To achieve this mission, DCCK has developed several innovative social ventures that seek to break the cycle of hunger and poverty through career training, job creation, and sustainable business practices.





  • Andrea Talhmai, DC Central Kitchen (DC)


Andrea is the Strategic Initiatives Analyst at DC Central Kitchen. She holds an M.S. in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University and has experience in community research with a focus on nutrition and physical activity.





Drawing Connections Between Food Security, Social Justice, and Sustainable Agriculture
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks

Food security, social justice, and sustainable agriculture are directly and indirectly linked in the United States food system. We will use systems thinking approaches to identify factors related to food security, social justice, and sustainable agriculture, and then work together to better understand the connections between those factors.


  • Larissa Calancia, Center for Health Equity Research at UNC Chapel Hill (NC)

Larissa is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health Equity Research at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on using systems science to better understand complex health challenges and empowering cross-sector collaborations to inform and implement policy, systems, and environmental-level changes in their communities.

  • Kristen Cooksey Stowers, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut (CT)


Kristen Cooksey Stowers is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, focusing on research to address how public policy influences inequities in obesity prevalence through community food retail environments that are considered “food swamps.”





  • Anne Palmer, Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University (MD)

Anne Palmer is the Food Communities and Public Health program director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and a research associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. Anne directs the Food Policy Networks project.

  • Rev. Heber Brown III, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church

Rev. Heber Brown III is pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore and the founder of the Black Church Food Security Network partners with local congregations to establish gardens/farms on church-owned land. In addition, we partner Black farmers with Black churches to inspire mutual support and self-sufficiency.

Food Planning and Policy in Massachusetts Communities
Food planning and resulting innovative policies are changing the food system context and shaping access to healthy food in municipalities across Massachusetts. Panelists in this session will provide multiple perspectives on state, regional, and local initiatives addressing municipal food access; participants will also have time for break-out discussions.


  • Heidi Stucker, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MA)


Heidi Stucker is a planner in the Public Health Department at Metropolitan Area Planning Council, specializing in food system planning and policy. She was a primary contributor to the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan. Her work includes municipal food system planning efforts; food policy advocacy; and school produce procurement.





  • Dillon Sussman, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (MA)


Dillon Sussman is a Senior Planner at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. His work focuses on land use planning and community design, emphasizing local government influence on public health through policy, systems and environmental change. Dillon is the Mass in Motion coordinator for Healthy Hampden and supports other MIM communities.





Food Production, Risk, and Immigrant Labor: The Public Health Case for Immigration Reform and a Better Food System
Labor; Policy/Advocacy
This session presents the health risks facing agricultural workers and provides short- and long-term policy recommendations needed to protect workers, the food system, and public health. This session demonstrates that U.S. food supply should be considered insecure as long as it relies on an impermanent, underrepresented, and at-risk workforce.


  • Carolyn Hricko, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)


Carolyn Hricko, MPH, works at the Center for a Livable Future to advance sustainable food system policies that protect public health and the environment. She has over five years of fieldwork, policy, and program management experience in health, environment, food security, and governance in both domestic and international settings.





Making Organic Accessible: Social Enterprise Partnerships with Ethiopian Smallholder Farmers
Social Enterprise in the Food System
East African Smallholder farmers are positioned to lead the world in climate-smart organic fruit and vegetable production. Using the Ethiopian social enterprise GreenPath Food as a case study, participants will learn simple systems that make organic certification, markets and premium prices accessible to smallholders historically barred from organic market entry.


  • Christina Zawerucha, GreenPath Food, PLC (NY)

Christina Zawerucha is a permaculture social entrepreneur who is passionate about the exchange of agroecological wisdom in multicultural contexts. Focused on working with immigrant populations, refugees, and adult learners, Christina has developed sustainability literacy programs with social enterprises, nonprofits, and universities in New York City, Pennsylvania, Ukraine, Virginia, and Ethiopia.

New American Farmers & Co-op Farm Innovators
Food Justice
New Americans are working together in the Northeast to access land, markets, equipment and infrastructure. These cooperatives are helping to build equity and economic security for New Americans. Through this workshop, you will learn about New American cooperatives, how you can support them and how to start cooperative farms.


  • Jonah Fertig, Cooperative Development Institute (ME)

Jonah Fertig, Director of Cooperative Food Systems at the Cooperative Development Institute, works with people in the food system, particularly New Americans, to form cooperatives. He co-founded Local Sprouts Cooperative and Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative. He's on the board of Cooperative Fund of New England and Maine Food Strategy.

Using Values to Shape Your Child Nutrition Program
Farm to All
As buyers, schools have the power to shape not only the food on the tray, but also the supply chain, the local economy, and environmental sustainability. USDA and VT FEED will discuss successful practices to leverage procurement in order to target goods and services that reflect school food program values.


  • Danielle Fleury, USDA Food & Nutrition Service (MA)

Danielle Fleury is the Farm to School Lead for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service Northeast Region. In this capacity, she works with Northeast states to support the integration of local foods into school nutrition programs. Danielle holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from The George Washington University.

  • Abbie Nelson, Northeast Organic Farmers Association – Vermont; Vermont FEED (VT)

Abbie Nelson is the NOFA-VT Food Systems Education Director and Program Director of VT FEED. She is a school food consultant and trainer involved in local purchasing and professional development. Abbie works with statewide partners to advance institutional local food access with the VT Farm to Plate and FTS Networks. Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) is a statewide collaborative Farm to School Project of Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and Shelburne Farms.

Weaving the Food System - The Economics of Food in the Rural Landscape
Movement Building in Food Systems

Learn how economic development agencies (EDA's) can help you build strong, just, local food systems. Join long time local food system and community economic development specialists for an in-depth look at the metrics of a rural local food economy and the benefits and challenges of partnering with a regional EDA.


  • John Dean, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (LA)

John Cotton Dean is the Director of Regional Innovation for the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA). Dean lead's CLEDA's Rural Prosperity Initiative, which focuses on empowering rural communities. Dean has over ten years of professional experience leading rural economic development initiatives across the country, including food policy councils.

  • Bahia Nightengale, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (LA)

Bahia has more than two decades of experience in community development and local food systems. She creates successful programs with communities that meet the health, social, economic and environmental needs of all residents by reducing financial insecurity, improving health outcomes, increasing educational attainment, encouraging job growth, and healthy living conditions.

  • Allison Tohme, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (LA)

Allison Tohme is Central Louisiana's Farmers Market Program Developer. She earned a Master of Public in 2011 and began her career in academia where she monitored and evaluated community-based obesity prevention programs throughout Louisiana. She brings expertise in program development, evaluation, and coalition building to her work in economic development.

USDA Grant Programs - NIFA and AMS
Community Partnerships 
Learn about the grant opportunities available within the United States Department of Agricluture's Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute of Food Agriculture.


  • Jane Clary Loveless, Ph.D., RN (DC)

Dr. Jane Clary Loveless, is the National Program Leader for nutrition/extension for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, in the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition.  Her specialization area is community nutrition and health and technology based nutrition and health education for young families with children to help combat childhood obesity. Clary Loveless is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. For over 20 years, Clary Loveless has worked as a professor and extension specialist, at Purdue University, where she completed both her undergraduate and graduate programs, and Mississippi State University,  on the design, implementation, and evaluation of community based programs for land-grant institutions providing evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs to families in the Midwest and the Southern regions.  Currently, she is working with the Community Food Projects, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, and the Childhood Obesity issues at USDA, co-leading the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Childhood Obesity Prevention Program with Dr. Deirdra Chester, and leads the nutrition portfolio team. On November 5th 2015, she received as group leader, along with the team, the “USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for successfully implementing the Food insecurity Nutrition Incentive interagency program to address food insecurity and increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers.”

  • Jill Fitzsimmons (DC)

Jill is an Agricultural Marketing Specialist with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services Division.  She is a community economic development practitioner with nearly 20 years of field experience in the United States, leading grassroots organizing, advocacy, and project management to support national, state, and local organizations’ initiatives. Jill has worked with the communities to research, develop, and manage mid-scale supply chains for regionally differentiated agricultural products. Jill holds an MS in community economic development and is completing a PhD in resource economics, focusing on industrial organization and behavioral economics. Jill’s research explores the relationship between agricultural firm profitability and market structure, and the role of economic actors’ social preferences in regional market participation.


Building Coalitions, Breaking Barriers
Community Partnerships and Coalitions/Networks
No matter how similar our challenges and visions for success may be, every community is uniquely positioned with its own set of stakeholders, histories of power, and cultural makeup. In this workshop, three Community Engagement Managers from City Harvest will share practices for forging community-specific and culturally competent collaborative action groups.


  • Jerome Nathaniel, City Harvest (NY)


Jerome has been a part of the fight for food justice since helping at Brooklyn pantries at age 8. After serving in AmeriCorps, he provided SNAP assistance in Rochester for 3 years. Now he works with residents of Northwest Queens to advocate for food justice in their community.





  • Catarina Rivera, City Harvest (NY)

Catarina became passionate about food and health through her work as an educator in the Bronx. She is trained as a holistic health coach and also has MSEd and MPH graduate degrees. She believes in the power of community organizing and the importance of self-determination. Juntos si se puede.

  • Keith Carr, City Harvest (NY)

Keith spent summers on his grandparents' farm in Connecticut. His passionate vision: Urban growing's potential to decrease food insecurity and impact Brooklyn's food system and with more than 15 years' experience in workforce development, Keith's mantra is “teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime”.

Growing for our Community: Youth led efforts to grow culturally relevant crops in Somerville
Youth Engagement; Food Justice
Improving food access isn't just about price and geography. Groundwork Somerville's Green Team youth corps members will describe their efforts to increase the culturally relevancy of the crops at their urban farm to better serve communities in Somerville. They'll talk about community outreach and launching an inter-generational farmer mentorship program. Groundwork Somerville is a community driven nonprofit in Somerville, serving our community since 2000. We seek to build a cleaner, greener, healthier and more equitable city, and we do this through 4 key project areas: Food and Farms, Youth Empowerment, Sustainable Environment, and Racial/Social Justice. Our flagship program, the Green Team, employs low-opportunity youth to work on our urban farm and mobile farmers market, as well as civic engagement initiatives that range from food justice to combating gentrification. We also support 10 school gardens, and guide volunteer support for multiple city parks in Somerville.


  • Jess Bloomer, Groundwork Somerville (MA)


Jess Bloomer has spent over ten years as a garden educator and urban grower in Somerville, MA New Orleans, LA and Boulder, CO. She has also worked with farming communities in Mozambique, Belize, and Bolivia. She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate and a BA in International Development.





  • Dylan Alvarado, Groundwork Somerville (MA)

Member of the Green Team at Groundwork Somerville.

Local Food Builds Strong Communities
Farm to All

Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA) is led by people directly experiencing food insecurity. With minimal resources, SBCA began an agriculture project to reconnect to its cultural heritage. CCFSC, prioritizes food system initiatives based on empowerment of people who need healthy food most. Workshop participants will share strategies for building food security with local food.


  • Jim Hanna, Cumberland County Food Security Council (CCFSC) (ME)


Jim Hanna has worked in the food system in Maine for 20+ years, emphasizing building food security. He has achievements in anti-hunger advocacy, developing immigrant farming projects, articulating anti-racism in the food system and organizing communities to achieve collective impacts. His family has belonged to the same CSA since 1992.





  • Muhidin Libah, Somali Bantu Community Association (ME)


Born in Somalia, Libah has co-founded three NGOs including SBCA and consulted with seven other immigrant serving nonprofits across the Northeast. His expertise includes food security, production and sustainability. With extensive experience farming, he has the skills and knowledge to teach his community many elements of their cultural heritage.





Local laws that promote healthy food access: one size does not fit all


There are many creative, local laws that support healthy food access. This session highlights the Healthy Food Policy tool, an online resource to connect community food systems work with local policies that further health equity and have an environmental and/or economic impact.


  • Lihlani Skipper, Vermont Law School - Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (VT)


Lihlani Skipper has a background in agriculture and food systems, having received a dual masters from UW Madison in Agroecology and Urban and Regional Planning. Before joining the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems team, she was a Program Associate with the National Farm to School Network.





  • Sally Mancini, University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (CT)


Sally Mancini leads the Rudd Center's efforts supporting state and local advocates as they develop the resources necessary to support food policy improvements in all communities. Sally earned a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs from Gordon College and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Connecticut.





  • Kristen Cooksey-Stowers, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut (CT)


Kristen Cooksey Stowers is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, focusing on research to address how public policy influences inequities in obesity prevalence through community food retail environments that are considered “food swamps.”





Supporting Food Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Social Change
Social Enterprise in the Food System
KitchenShare @ Heritage Hub is activating change agents. The rental production facility and business incubator is supporting minority entrepreneurship among people who are crafting sustainable models for making positive impact in their communities. Business ownership affords this flexibilty, and food sits at the center of both the problem and solution.


  • Michelle Gomez, Frenchown Heritage Hub / Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association (FL)


Michelle Gomez has worked to develop community-based, social impact programs for the past seven years in California and Florida. She serves as the director of a food business incubator focused on food access and minority business development. Michelle has led funding, partnership, and design efforts for the $1.5 million project.





  • Rose Garrison, Marie's Jelly, Jams & Herbs (FL)


Born and raised in Talladega, Alabama, Rose Garrison starting canning in her early 20's as a way to feed her family. Rose began transforming a 35-year career in food service into a business that provides the opportunity to share her love for a lost art, one jar at a time.





  • Samadhi Jones, Love Jones Sweets (FL)


Samahdi Jones has served Florida's state government for nearly a decade. Her skill specialties include organizational change, strategic planning, project management, training, and communications. A talented home cook, Samadhi is launching her first social enterprise, Love Jones Sweets, to merge her skills and passions, and affect change in her community.





  • Kevin Warren, Southern Comfort Chefs (FL)


Chef Kevin Warren is founder of The LIFE Group LLC, Southern Comfort Chefs, author, and motivational speaker. The father of four shifted focus when his twins were born, from tech development to education through culinary arts. Kevin believes that exposing urban youth to opportunities through food can change the future.





Systems Disruption 101: How to transform the food movement through unlearning
Movement Building in Food Systems
Changing our food system requires a massive disruption of status quo thinking that translates into action. Join our session to learn about how this disruption begins with individual unlearning, discuss how individual values shifts can change institutional norms and practices, and identify tipping points for systems change.


  • Noelle Harden, University of Minnesota (MN)

Noelle has worked on food systems change in Minnesota for the last five years, bringing an educational background in geography, agroecology and sustainable food production. Noelle works with a variety of rural, urban, and tribal partners to create a healthier and more equitable food system by disrupting the status quo.

  • Jamie Bain, University of Minnesota (MN)

Jamie Bain works for the University of Minnesota Extension as a Health and Nutrition Extension educator. She seeks to advance equitable access to healthy foods for all through leadership, coordination, and technical assistance for food networks in Minnesota.

  • Stephanie Heim, University of Minnesota (MN)

Stephanie develops and manages strategic partnerships at local, state, and national levels related to healthy food access and provide strategic direction and leadership to food networks, especially the Minnesota Food Charter Network. She also provides statewide leadership to Farm to School initiatives.

  • Brian Bluhm, The Rutabaga Project (MN)

Brian Bluhm is the Rutabaga Project Coordinator, with the goal to increase local and nutritious food access in NE MN's Iron Range, based at the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. Brian has a B.A. in Anthropology and a M.Ed. in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Active in the field of sustainability (including local food development and education) for over 10 years, Brian also serves on the NE MN Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Local Agriculture Work Group and the Minnesota Food Charter Network Learning and Capacity Building Team.

  • Samty Xiong, The Food Group (MN)

Samty Xiong is the Equity Specialist at The Food Group and is dedicated to increasing equity at all levels of the food system. Samty believes ending racial injustice is the key to ending hunger. She is a Hmong-American womxn who was born and raised in Wisconsin.

  • Miah Ulysse, Appetite for Change (MN)

Miah Ulysse coordinates Northside Fresh Coalition and Appetite for Change's Policy Manager. She is passionate about cooperative, systems-based food movements and is committed to working with Coalition partners to continue building a stronger, for self-sufficient food system in North Minneapolis.

The Right to Food: Shifting Systems, Policies, and Narratives that Ignore the Root Causes of Hunger

Can a rights-based approach to adequate food and nutrition in the U.S. build a broad-based alliance to fundamentally shift our food and farm policy from one that presumes the free market or the private charitable sector can end hunger, to one that places social justice and food sovereignty center stage?


  • Alison Cohen, Why Hunger (NY)

Alison Cohen is WhyHunger's Senior Director of Programs where she stewards programmatic strategies to support grassroots organizations in the U.S. and social movements globally that work to address the root causes of hunger and the deep inequities of poverty at the intersection of food systems, racism, health and climate change.

  • Molly Anderson, Middlebury College (VT)

Molly Anderson is organizing a Food Studies Program at Middlebury College. She teaches about hunger and food security, fixing food systems, and sustainability. She participates in the Food Solutions New England network, the Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture & Sustainability, and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.

  • Smita Narula, human rights scholar – unaffiliated (NY)

Narula is a human rights scholar and lawyer working to defend access to nutritious food as a fundamental human right. Narula is former advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and co-author of the study Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States.

Using Local Level Indicators to Assess and Address Healthy Food Access in Urban Areas
Measuring and Reporting Impacts
This session showcases how Baltimore, Maryland and Austin, Texas adapted the USDA food desert measure to include local indicators to more accurately assess and address equity in accessing healthy food. Learn and discuss metrics to incorporate into your community assessments, strategies to present data spatially, and consider individual level impacts.


  • Patricia Moncure, City of Austin, Office of Sustainability (TX)


Patricia Moncure leads the Food Environment Analysis for the City of Austin and is pursuing a Masters of Public Health at The UTHealth, School of Public Health. Patricia completed her undergraduate degree at Tufts University and has a background in food policy, health, and psychology.





  • Caitlin Fisher, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)


Caitlin Fisher is a Program Officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. She manages the food system mapping team and coordinates the Baltimore City Food Environment research. She received her master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan.





  • Carrie Burns, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)

Carrie Burns joined the Center for a Livable Future as Communications Specialist for the food system mapping team, where she works to connect organizations with data and resources that build their capacity to support healthy food systems. She completed her master's work at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.