Join us for our keynote sessions!
All keynote presentations will be available in Spanish
Wednesday, January 20 | 4:30-6:15 pm PT
Reimagining Our Future
2020 has been the year of crisis piling on top of crisis: fires, pandemics, police brutality, the threat of a stolen election, and decline of our democratic traditions. These crises have made evident the brutal exploitation of the ecosystems and workers upon which the food system is built. Returning to business as normal will only reinforce the existing inequities and damage that the food system has caused to our planet and societies. Instead we must develop a new people-centered and ecological path forward, in which we retake for the common good our food and farms back from the oligopolies that control them.
In this keynote session, leaders from a variety of fields as featured in the book Bite Back: People Taking on Corporations and Winning will discuss the new directions, systems, and alliances that the food and farm movement must make to re-think, re-imagine, and re-create the way we produce, distribute and consume food in America.
Saru Jayaraman is the President of One Fair Wage, Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her most recent book is Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She attended the Golden Globes in January 2018 with Amy Poehler as part of the Times Up action to address sexual harassment. In 2019, she was named the San Francisco Chronicle Visionary of the Year.
Pesticide Action Network
Marcia Ishii is a senior scientist and director of the Grassroots Science Program at Pesticide Action Network. Her work at PAN includes supporting and strengthening agroecology movements and policies in the U.S. and globally; challenging corporate consolidation, power and influence over agriculture; and international policy advocacy to advance equitable, climate-resilient and ecologically sound food systems within a human rights-based framework. Ishii-Eiteman has written extensively on the ecological, social and political dimensions of food and agriculture and was a lead author of the UN-sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.
New York University
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, in the department she chaired from 1988-2003 and from which she retired in September 2017. She is the author of many award-winning books about food politics, public health, and nutrition. Her most recent book is Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health (2020). She blogs at www.foodpolitics.com and tweets at @marionnestle.
HEAL Food Alliance
Jose Oliva founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network. Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose was the Co-Founderand Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 350,000 workers. Jose is a 2017 James Beard Award recipient and a 2018 American Food Hero Awardee. Jose is the Campaigns Director at HEAL (Health Environment Agriculture and Labor) Food Alliance a multi-sector coalition representing over 50 organizations in food and agriculture. Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala.
Thursday, January 21 | 8:30-10:00am PT
Farmworkers on the Forefront: Connecting Our Struggles for Liberation
How are farmworkers and their families organizing to build community, redefine power, and transform our food system for all, especially amidst the covid pandemic and climate change events, where farmworkers are disproportionately affected? Vital to our collective liberation, farmworker justice is bound to both urban and rural movements for justice. It is all at once food justice, rural justice, gender justice, land justice, and so much more. On this panel, we will be hearing about the successes and challenges farmworkers and their families face as they resist corporate industrial agriculture, racism, and patriarchy in our food system. From inequitable access to housing, healthcare, education, living wages, and safe living and working conditions the presenters will also be discussing how farm owners/operators and farmworkers can come together in our collective struggle to build resilient livelihoods, economies, and ecologies in the rural countryside. Let this be a call to greater sustained action and change.
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Born in Bellingham, Washington to a migrant farmworker family, Mily worked in agricultural fields since age eight. Mily was a union organizer with the UFW in the 70s and 80s, while raising her son as a single mom. She co-founded “Mujeres Mexicanas”, and co-founded Líderes Campesinas in 1992, the first state-based farmworker women's grassroots organization, where she served as Executive Director for 12 years. In 2011 co-founded Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, as the first national grassroots based farmworker women's organization. Mily has won numerous awards for her tireless efforts, has earned multiple degrees, and sits on many advisory boards.
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Elvira is Lead Community Organizer and co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. She is from Michoacán, Mexico where her parents were farmworkers. She has worked picking lemons, okra, harvesting wheat, and in nurseries in Florida. As lead community organizer for Alianza, she works with farmworker groups as well as organizations around the country, advocating to advance the rights of communities and farmworker women.
Rita Mancera Hernandez
Serving as Executive Director of Puente in Pescadero, CA for 13 years now, Rita’s goals are to continue closing the gap in education for community members, increasing services so youth can succeed, expanding local leadership, and supporting local individuals and families to move out and stay out of poverty. Puente is the region’s only community resource center, providing critical resources to farmworkers and their families including healthcare, childcare, education, scholarships, food and nutrition assistance, legal and immigration assistance, rental assistance, and voter registration. Rita was born in Mexico City and grew up in Baja California Sur.
Gerardo Reyes Chavez
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Gerardo Reyes Chavez is a senior staff member with the award-winning human rights organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Mr. Reyes is a farmworker and has worked in the fields since age 11, first as a peasant farmer in Mexico and then in the fields of Florida picking oranges, tomatoes, blueberries, and watermelon. Mr. Reyes has worked with consumer allies to organize national actions in the Campaign for Fair Food. As part of the implementation of the Fair Food Program, Mr. Reyes conducts workers’ rights education with thousands of farmworkers on participating tomato farms.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Marley Monacello is a staff member with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), with a decade of experience working in the Fair Food movement. In addition to assisting with Know Your Rights trainings within the CIW's Fair Food Program, Ms. Monacello has also served as liaison and interpreter between workers, employers and law enforcement, assisting with the investigation of forced labor and sexual violence cases occurring on farms outside of the Fair Food Program. She also helps to develop and coordinate CIW’s communications work as well as collaborations with workers from a range of industries and regions, which center on the expansion of the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model.
Thursday, January 21 | 3:20-5:00pm PT
Agriculture for a Regenerative Future
The Revolution is Regenerative: Guiding Agriculture Towards the Future
Advancing Eco Agriculture
Can our current agricultural systems produce the “food as medicine” our society needs? Over the years, farmers and agribusiness have championed the positive effects of organic production as the best way to impact public health—but is there a better way? Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA) Founder John Kempf describes the power of regenerative agriculture and its ability to benefit plant health, soil health, and ultimately, human health. Throughout the keynote, John will discuss the capacity of regenerative agricultural systems to produce disease and insect-resistant crops, regenerate soil and ecosystem health, and supply the world with medicinal quality food.
John Kempf is a leading crop health consultant and designer of innovative soil and plant management systems. He is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a plant nutrition and biostimulants consulting company. A top expert in the field of biological and regenerative farming, John founded AEA in 2006 to help fellow farmers by providing the education, tools, and strategies that will have a global effect on the food supply and those who are growing that supply. John is the host of the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, where he interviews top scientists and growers about the science and principles of implementing regenerative agriculture on a large scale. He has a unique ability to simplify and clearly explain complex concepts in the areas of soil and plant health, and skillfully discusses the larger social and environmental impacts of food, agriculture, and ecology. John’s mission is to provide support to the world’s farmers and globally impact our food supply.
Decolonization and Indigenization of Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture Alliance
This is a presentation focused on two central concepts of regenerative thinking a) decolonization of the mind, science, processes, methodology, agricultural production and overall system-level engineering, as well as other systemic issues needed to address in order to achieve the core outcomes intended through real regenerative agriculture, b) indigenization of the way we study, see, interact with, work with and relate to natural ecosystems and with each other as part of the earth’s living systems as a foundation in the transformation of the processes and structural changes that lead to decolonized regenerative agriculture outcomes that reflect the indigenous origins and the integrity of the concept of regenerative thinking.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin began working on economic development projects with indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988. He served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as an advisor to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He was a founding member of the Fair-Trade Federation in 1994. Haslett-Marroquin is an owner-founder of Regeneration Farms LLC, and Founder and President of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance. Regi was awarded a prestigious lifetime Ashoka Fellowship in 2018 for his work in Regenerative Poultry Systems, which is at the center of a multitude of national and international initiatives. This system is designed to be uniquely aligned with the social and economic, conditions of new, immigrant, and small farms and marginalized communities. The system is designed for large-scale and global impact. Regi is the author of In the Shadow of Green Man, My Journey from Poverty and Hunger to Food Security and Hope, available from the publisher acresusa.org, Amazon.com, and numerous other book sellers.
Friday, January 22 | 8:30-9:45am PT
Successful Organic Farmers
B & B Farm, Petal, Mississippi
Ben Burkett is a fourth-generation farmer in Petal, Mississippi.His family has been growing food on the same plot of land since 1889, when his great-grandfather received a homestead from the U.S. government just 24 years after the end of the Civil War. It was one of the first African American-owned farms in the state. Since then, the farm has grown to roughly 320 acres. Depending on the season, his fields grow okra, kale, turnips, rutabaga, watermelon, sweet corn, eggplant, and a wide variety of peppers. He sells his produce to restaurants in New Orleans as well as local grocery stores and farmers markets. Before Hurricane Katrina destroyed his fences, the farm also hosted livestock: Chickens, goats, sheep, cattle, hogs, ducks, and turkeys. In 2014, he won a James Beard Foundation award for his work to support family farming.
Althea & Matthew Raiford
Gilliard Farm, Brunswick, Georgia
Matthew grew up breaking the dirt and trading crookneck squash for sweet potatoes, raising hogs and chickens, and only going to the grocery store for sundries. After a military career then graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Matthew returned to the farm in 2011 to continue the traditions of his Gullah-Geechee heritage and to create an authentic farm-to-fork experience for locals. He received certification as an ecological horticulturalist from the University of California’s Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. In 2015, Matthew and partners opened The Farmer and the Larder on Newcastle Street, helping jumpstart the revival of Brunswick’s historic downtown. Althea lives and works in Atlanta, but her passion for Gilliard Farms keeps her traveling back and forth 4 hours each way on the weekends to make sure work gets done. Ten years ago, she dove head first into farm life out of a deep interest in serving her community. To Althea, the community interest is her personal interest.
Blake & Stephanie Alexandre
Where the redwoods meet the sea in Northern California’s Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, Blake and Stephanie Alexandre, along with their five children, work together as a family. Their primary focus is on health and starts with the soil. Their dairy cows and hens enjoy true outdoor living as they graze open pastures alongside each other. Blake and Stephanie started dairying in 1988 in southern California and in 1992 bought an existing operation in Del Norte County, converting their dairy to organics in the late 1990’s. Today, they operate four grass-based organic dairies with crossbred A2/A2 milk cows on irrigated pastures. They also grow a majority of their own hay on organic cropland in Modoc County, as well as raising organic pastured pork, and grass-fed beef. With five kids (and their spouses) who now run the farm alongside them – they have a 6th generation of Alexandre Family farmers!
Saturday, January 23 | 9:45-11:00am PT
Farming is Medicine: Transforming our World through Agroecology
With rising temperatures, in the midst of a pandemic, surrounded by wildfires and social breakdown, the ways of interacting that have brought us to this moment are proving unhealthy, unsustainable and gravely dangerous. Drawing on data from the health sciences, history, ecology and soil science, physician, writer and farmer’s wife Dr. Rupa Marya will describe how agroecology can serve as the leading edge of transformational practices that can directly heal what ails us. Human health starts in the soil, mediated through the dialogue between the soil and gut with their respective microbiome. How we tend the soil must also reflect how we tend the people who tend the soil, how we tend the water, and how we tend to each other. Boldly articulating the need for a culture of care, she will show how colonialism fundamentally altered key ways of relating that held our health and the health of the planet in balance. Through the impact of decolonizing food and medicine, farmers and farmworkers play a crucial role as the ultimate stewards of our health.
Rupa Marya is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in the Division of Hospital Medicine with a focus on Social Medicine. She is a co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, a group of healthcare workers committed to changing social structures that make health impossible for different groups of people.
Rupa’s work in social advocacy in health has earned her trust from the indigenous communities where she lives, in Ohlone territory and in places where she has served, such as Lakota territory.
In 2016, she was invited to Standing Rock to assist with medical response to increasing state violence towards indigenous people protecting their sovereign land in the face of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Through her investigations, she has been developing an understanding of the greatest health challenges we face, including climate change, as a consequence of colonialism and the interruption of traditional ways of caring. At the invitation of Lakota elders, she is helping to develop a clinic to decolonize food and medicine in Lakota territory to serve the indigenous communities, the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm.
Rupa advocates deeply for creating a culture of care as the most effective way to manifest impactful change in population health. She believes the interruption of ways of caring through colonial structures disproportionately causes the suffering of Black, Brown and Indigenous people around the world. Through changing those colonial structures and through reasserting the primacy of our relationships to the earth, to our foods and to one another, holistic health for all becomes achievable. As a physician in partnership with regenerative farmer Benjamin Fahrer, Rupa is studying how regenerative farming practices directly impact human health through the connections between the respective microbiota of the gut and soil.
Currently Rupa is writing a book making a case for a global culture of care with writer, economist and activist Raj Patel, entitled Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice. The book is a boldly original analysis of health and sickness, due to be released by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Penguin Press in August 2021. In addition to her work in medicine and writing, Rupa is the composer and front-woman for Rupa and the April Fishes, a polyglot band who has traveled to over 29 countries sharing musical soundscapes of building an alternative world that is beautiful, inspiring, deep and empowering. She attributes her holistic view of health and wellness as the direct outcome of playing music professionally for over 20 years.