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Keynote Speakers - EcoFarm 2020

Keynote speakers confirmed for EcoFarm 2020

Wed, Jan 22 | 8:00 - 9:45pm

Visionaries in the Field: Weaving Together Ecology and Equity

Leah Penniman

Soul Fire Farm

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 and has been farming since 1996. Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs - including farmer training for Black & Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for communities living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system. Her book, Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land is a love song for the land and her people. 

Jonathan Lundgren

Ecdysis Foundation

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is an entomologist and agroecologist, Director of Ecdysis Foundation, and CEO for Blue Dasher Farm in Iowa. He received his PhD in Entomology and was a top scientist with USDA-ARS for 11 years. His ecological research focuses heavily on conserving healthy biological communities within agroecosystems by reducing disturbance and increasing biodiversity within cropland.

Thursday, January 23 | 1:30pm - 2:45pm

The Past, Present, and Future of Organic

Bob Quinn

KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat

Robert “Bob” Quinn is a progressive leader in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout the state of Montana, United States, and world. After finishing a PhD in plant biochemistry, Bob took over his family's conventional grain and cattle farm in 1978, started experimenting with organic production in 1986, used the last chemical application on the farm in 1988, and was 100% certified organic by 1991. As demand for organics grew, Bob discovered that with time-tested practices like cover cropping and crop rotation, he can produce successful yields—without pesticides. With his company Montana Flour & Grains, he introduced the domestic natural food industry to an ancient Egyptian wheat called khorasan which is similar to durum wheat and marketed under his own brand name, KAMUT®. The brand name helps to preserve the ancient grain and guarantee it is not genetically modified or altered. Bob recently co-authored the book Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food. Bob’s challenge to the next generation is to walk through the door that the pioneers of organic opened and reintroduce the world to healthy, flavorful eating. If you look at it as a two-generation project, we’re already halfway there! Bob’s new challenge to America is to be CHEMICAL FREE BY ’43!

Friday, January 24 | 8:30am - 10:00am

Successful Organic Farmers

Emigdio Ballon

Pueblo of Tesuque

Emigdio Ballon was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia and is of Quechua descent. Emigdio serves as the Director of Agriculture at the Pueblo of Tesuque, overseeing a 75 acre organic and biodynamic farm since 2005. The Tesuque Farm strives to help those interested in growing their own food, in addition to growing crops for elders and students, and saving indigenous seed from around the world. The farm’s seed bank was featured in the recent film Seed: The Untold Story. By training, Emigdio is a plant geneticist who has specialized expertise in quinoa and amaranth grains and has published numerous articles about them in both South and North America. In his little free time, Emigdio pursues research into germination techniques for a wide variety of crops, including traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs, and herbs indigenous to Northern New Mexico. His other interests include biodynamic and organic farming, sustainable agricultural practices, and incorporating traditional Quechua techniques and rituals into his work, which he learned at his grandfather’s side as a boy in Bolivia. Emigdio is also Board President of Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute.

Ward and Rosie Burroughs

Burroughs Family Farms

Ward & Rosie Burroughs, together with their children, are part of a family legacy of farming spanning over a century. The Burroughs family own and operate farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley and Southeastern Oregon. Burroughs Family Farms is the marketing flagship of all the organic products from Full Circle Dairy, California Cloverleaf Farms, Burroughs Family Orchards and CCF Sullivan Ranch including almonds, beef, cheese, free-range pastured chickens, grass-based dairies, eggs, seasonal meat birds, and olives. Over the past 17 years, they have converted all of their farms to organic. The Burroughs use regenerative agricultural practices to improve soil fertility by focusing on nourishing soil biology and increasing biodiversity. In 2016 Rosie and Ward Burroughs co-founded the CSU Chico Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, now known as the Center for Regenerative Agriculture & Resilient Systems. 

Scott Park

Park Farming Organics

Scott Park and his family farm 1700 organic acres in the Sacramento Valley. The main crops are processing tomatoes, rice, corn, wheat, barley, dry beans, alfalfa, vine seed crops, squash, cauliflower, as well as various experimental crops (hemp, quinoa, stevia). Scott started his farming career in 1974 as a first generation farmer with a political theory degree. The first 11 years were spent “cloning” what neighbors did, but observing the decline in soil quality along with increased chemical and fertilizer inputs led Park to begin shifting his focus from conventional solutions to “natural” inputs in 1986. The farm struggled in these early years of transition without a model, but today the farm represents a successful organic farm system that has similar size, crops, and yields to conventional California farms. The farm continues to evolve as the family “tweaks” the system to minimize inputs and let healthy soil and the surrounding environment do the problem solving for the farm.

Saturday, January 25 | 10:30am - 11:45am

Two Paths to the Future of Food and Farming

Dr. Vandana Shiva 

Author, Scientist, Warrior, Mother

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned scholar and tireless crusader for economic, food, and gender justice. Dr. Shiva was trained as a physicist, and later shifted her focus to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology which was dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, and to promote organic farming and fair trade. In 2004, in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K., she started Bija Vidyapeeth (Earth University), an international college for sustainable living in the Doon Valley in Northern India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Forbes magazine in November 2010 identified Dr. Vandana Shiva as one of the top Seven most Powerful Women on the Globe. Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, the UN’s Global 500 Roll of Honour, and The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity in 2016.

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