Explore the Breakout Session focus areas by clicking on the tiles below.
Training Boosts Efficiency and Equity: Where Do I Start?
This Full Day Training will build the capacity of managers in food businesses to assess their operations to identify where clearer standards for staff/volunteers can improve efficiency and resiliency, and â€¢create effective training and evaluation systems. Competent and engaged staff are key to any successful operation, but too often work processes are unclearly defined and training and evaluation of staff lack focus. The result is frustrated managers and staff, and ultimately a less successful business or community organization. This training will cover the five essential components of an effective staff training system. Each participant will define an area of operations that needs attention. We will work through identifying outcomes and competencies, as the basis for training and evaluation. In the afternoon, we will create some effective training activities to assure transfer of good ideas into practice back home.
Peggy da Silva, Principal, Consulting for Community
Partnering With Purpose
A hands-on workshop in building stronger and more equitable local food systems by facilitating collaboration between the various food systems actors and engagement with the full breadth of local communities. Goals: Provide skills to food system leaders in facilitating collaboration between sectors in their communities, including those directly involved in food systems work and the many partners needed to support them. The workshop will provide experiential tools that leaders can bring home to their communities, as well as problem solving and discussion about the challenges of convening effectively. Foster community engagement to inform and resource food systems work, for deeper and more equitable impact on the ground. The workshop will introduce participants to the Radical Inclusion model of community engagement, including community mapping to ensure that no one is left out of planning, and opening dialogues with previously marginalized groups in ways that feel meaningful and safe for them.
Vicki Pozzebon, Principal, Prospera Partners
Ellen Shepard, CEO, Community Allies
Civic Agriculture & Food Policy Council Organizing As “Tilling Ground” for Food Hub Infrastructure Development & Investment
Many food hub efforts around the country focus on the business planning and operational issues related to these enterprises. However, this training will focus on the benefit and value of clarifying the demand and creating a more favorable environment for food hubs through the organizing of local food policy councils. Participants will be equipped to influence or launch food policy councils at either the municipal, county, or state level for the purposes of making food hubs stronger and more sustainable.
Kwabena Nkromo, Chair, Georgia Food Policy Council and Founder & CEO, North America Food & Farm Inc (NAF2)
Mark Winne, Own of Mark Winne Associates and Senior Advisor to the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
Fearless Fundraising – It’s All in the Preparation
We get involved in a food hub or value chain business because we want to make the world a better place, then we realize that we need money be profitable. It’s at this point that fear sets in, then a grind of conversations that result in no money. The purpose of this training is to shift this dynamic completely. Anyone can raise money when they are thoroughly prepared to present a compelling business model and ask the right people for the right kind of money for the right reason. Participants in this training will leave knowing exactly what they need to do to raise money. This includes business models that work for food hubs and value chain businesses, their breakeven scale and capital requirements, the best sources and uses of capital, and a detailed to-do list for all of the documentation needed for a lender or investor.
Tera Johnson, Director, Food Finance Institute, UW Extension
Funding, Financing and Ownership: Creating Community Well-Being through Regional Food Systems
Explore how regional food systems can be developed to enhance community well-being in the context of New Economy thinking, and to determine the funding, financing and ownership approaches that can be used to achieve the goal. The workshop will give examples of current partnerships that are supporting regional food systems development, the importance of establishing those partnerships and how the correct business structure can enhance their potential.
Warren King, President-Food Commons Fresno Community Corporation
Promoting Local Food Systems through Value-chain Exploration and Mapping: An Interactive Workshop
West Central Missouri Community Action Agency recently launched a Community Development Corporation focused on community wealth building in rural Missouri. A key tool in our work is value-chain exploration and mapping of market opportunities. It helps our underserved, under-resourced rural communities chart the territory between them and market demand for goods and services they might provide, such as local food. The process identifies assets and opportunities as well as interested parties and potential investors. In this interactive workshop, we will introduce and practice value chain exploration as a method for stimulating practical conversations and collaborative action. We will discuss how we are using these tools in our food systems work and other sectors, such as tourism. Participants will have the opportunity to apply these tools to their own projects, and get feedback from peers and presenters.
Patty Cantrell, Director of Community Wealth Building, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency
Melissa Levy, Principal, Community Roots LLC
Katie Nixon, Food Systems Specialist, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency
Crop, Chop, Change: How food hubs innovate, differentiate, and profit with a kitchen
Commercial kitchens provide food hubs with a powerful platform for revenue diversification, advertising, education, advocacy, and lead-generation to support their core competencies of buying and selling local produce. Diverse programming in nonprofit food hub The Good Acre’s onsite kitchen serves to foster and scale relationships with buyers from consumers to institutions. This workshop will dive into the how and why of each core program offering, including culinary trainings for professionals in foodservice, family and consumer sciences (FACS), and medicine/public health; farm share (CSA) sampling/demonstrations; public/private/corporate cooking classes; and kitchen rental for food businesses, including local sourcing support and TGA’s ag-centric food business accelerator (Maker to Market, with Lakewinds Food Co-op). Finally, they will discuss the potential for commercial kitchens/food hubs to process seconds/gluts into value-added food products, providing hunger relief solutions that advance food equity and access without relying on write-offs from farmers.
Emily Paul, Director of Programs, The Good Acre
Nick Mabe, Logistic and Sales Director, The Good Acre
Rhys Williams, Executive Director, The Good Acre
Navigating strategic food system change: A road map for community food and agriculture plans
Communities across the country are seeking to improve their vibrancy and vitality through meaningful connections that strengthen food systems, sustain local farms, improve access to healthy food, and increase community prosperity. In this training, you will develop a road map to spur, strengthen, and maintain diverse community engagement for meaningful change. First learn about innovative food system plans at various scales from cities to states. Then facilitators will walk you through the different stages of a food plan including defining the scope, creating a timeline, identifying strategic partnerships, and developing an engagement plan for your own community. You will be provided a workbook with templates and examples which will become your own roadmap. Finally, panelist will share how you shift gears from planning to implementation and provide guidance about the process, tools, funding, and resources that led to successful impact in their own communities.
Libby Christensen, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Colorado State University
Pam Roy, Executive Director, Farm to Table
Blake Angelo, Manager of Food Systems Development, City and County of Denver
La Montañita/Cooperative Distribution Center (Mid-Tier, Consumer-Owned Food Hub)
La Montañita Coop (LMC) is a 41-year-old, consumer-owned retailer that specializes in local, sustainably produced food. When the availability of local produce began to flatline more than ten years ago, LMC experimented with routing and aggregation, using only a cell phone and rented truck. The coop now operates a self-sustaining, mid-sized distribution center, with nearly $10 million in annual sales.
Attendees will learn about the stages of growth and evolution of LMC’s Cooperative Distribution Center, as well as the unique challenges of operating a food hub in a sparsely populated state like New Mexico. They will also learn about the various product lines that LMC has helped to both cultivate and grow beyond their own food hub’s distribution capacities.
Agri-Cultura Network/American Friends Service Committee (Small, Producer-Owned Food Hub)
The Agri-Cultura Network (ACN) is a producer cooperative that provides marketing services to its seven member farms and its network of affiliated growers. ACN aggregates, washes, packs, and distributes its produce out of a shared, commercial kitchen in the South Valley of Albuquerque to local retailers and restaurants and as part of a subsidized, low-income CSA.
This site visit will include discussions with an ACN co-director to learn more about the network’s operations and with representatives from the South Valley Economic Development Center (the shared commercial kitchen where ACN is based) and the American Friends Service Committee (the farmer-training organization that originally incubated ACN) to discuss the various partnerships that have helped to make this small, producer-owned food hub a success. The site visit will also include a stop to one of the nearby ACN member farms.
Labatt Food Service/Native Beef Program (Regionally-Based Distributor)
Labatt Food Service is the tenth largest foodservice distributor in the country, serving customers throughout Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Northern Arizona since 1910. The ability to distribute to both large, institutional partners and smaller, regional groups and its commitment to supporting local producers through its Native American Beef program, a source-verified product line based on cattle raised exclusively on regional, Native American ranches.
Attendees will learn about Labatt’s customer-drive model that continues to inform its efficient operations and systems. Labatt will also discuss the work involved in establishing and growing its Native American Beef program, beginning with the outreach and provision of technical assistance to Native American ranchers through to the finishing, processing, and marketing of a branded, whole carcass meat program.
Sweet Grass Cooperative/Peculiar Farms (Producer Coop, Diversified Farm and Food Enterprise)
Sweet Grass is a regional, 100% grass-fed grass-finished beef producer cooperative, comprised of ranchers in New Mexico and Colorado that provides marketing services to its members, many of whom are certified organic and all of whom raise their animals in a manner that is good for the land and consistent with the humane treatment of animals. The site visit will take place at Peculiar Farms, a Sweet Grass Coop member located in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Peculiar Farms’ owner has evolved his business over the years to include everything from produce, flowers, eggs, beef, pork, and even an on-farm café and recently served as President of Sweet Grass.
During the site visit, attendees will learn about grass-based ranching in the intermountain West, as well as the successes and challenges of marketing a branded beef program to local New Mexico consumers, and about Peculiar Farms’ experience leading the Sweet Grass Coop.
Cornelio Candelaria Organics /New Mexico Acequia Association (Water Rights and Community Based Food Systems)
Acequias are a centuries-old, community-operated irrigation system, and are the lifeline for farmers and ranchers in arid climates. Governance over acequias and water rights are a matter of survival for New Mexicans. Thanks to the organizing and outreach efforts of the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) — as well as the 600+ acequias they work with — acequias have become a clear model of equitable community resource management.
Attendees will visit Cornelio Candelaria Organics, a local farm and NMAA member to better understand the acequia’s function within a farm’s operations. An NMAA representative will discuss the complex history of water rights and water law in the American Southwest and the current status of acequia governance on a statewide level.