2014 Farm & Food Leadership Conference Program

 
Please note that schedule is subject to change.
 

Lunch of local foods by Coté Catering is included with registration on both days.

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

NOTE: There are two tracks. Click on names to see speaker bios.
 

7:30 – 9:00: Registration

 

9:00 – 9:15: Welcome

 

9:15 – 10:15: Sessions

Track 1

Breaking Through Concrete: A Survey of Successful Urban Farms Edwin Marty, author of Breaking Through Concrete, will present a survey of successful urban farms throughout the United States and policy tools to achieve their maximum potential, followed by a discussion about what Texas can do to promote urban farming in our communities.
Intro by Judith McGeary

Track 2

GMOs 101 — What are GMOs? Why do they pose concerns for farmers and consumers? If you’ve heard about genetically engineered foods, but feel like you need more information to understand them, this is the session for you! Presented by Howard Vlieger, a third-generation farmer who works with scientists and researchers around the world.
Intro by Eric Herm
 

10:15 – 10:30: 15-minute break

 

10:30 – 11:30: Sessions

Track 1

Health Freedom — Presentation by Scott Tips, president of the National Health Federation, an international nonprofit, consumer-education, health-freedom organization working to protect individuals’ rights to choose to consume healthy food, take supplements, and use alternative therapies without government restrictions. The Federation is approved to attend and speak on behalf of its members at The Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Intro by Danny Nuckols

Track 2

Food Safety Regulations Q&A: Confused about what’s happening with FDA’s food safety regulations? Not sure what you can do under the state cottage food law or current raw milk regulations? Come get the latest news on the federal and state food safety regulations, and bring your questions to be answered.
 

11:30 – 1:15: Lunch and Keynote

Lunch of local foods by Coté Catering

 
KEYNOTE SPEAKER on the first day of the conference features JIM HIGHTOWER, National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent four decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
 

1:15 – 3:00: Sessions

Track 1

Race, Economics, and Food — The role of race and economic status in both the production of, and access to, quality food is a difficult issue with no single solution. Join a discussion with people working in minority and disadvantaged communities, about what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them. Panelists include Marisol Cortez, Ph.D., education program coordinator at Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Max Elliott, executive director of Urban Roots, Naya Jones, co-founder of Food for Black Thought, and Diana Lopez, organizer with the Southwest Workers Union.
Moderator: Danny Nuckols

Track 2

Activism: Lobbying 101 — Who do I contact? What do I say? How can I really make a difference? Get answers to these and other questions about being a good food food citizen. Presentation led by Patty Lovera, Assistant Director at Food & Water Watch, and Alan Lewis of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage.
Intro by Judith McGeary
 

3:00 – 3:15: 15-minute break

 

3:15 – 4:45: Sessions

Track 1

GMOs: Latest Science and Campaigns Around the Country — The scientific debates over GMOs are heating up, and so are the grassroots campaigns against them! Hear about the latest studies and gain some perspective on the labeling campaigns in different states. Howard Vlieger, a third-generation farmer, works with scientists and researchers around the world to develop effective solutions for the real-life problems farmers are experiencing because of GMO crops and glyphosate, and is a nationally known speaker on GMOs. Patty Lovera, Assistant Director at Food & Water Watch, will discuss the policies and regulations side of the GMO issues.
Moderator: Andrew Smiley

Track 2

Activism: How to Impact Elections — Everyone knows that voting is important, but citizens can have an even greater effect by getting involved before election day. Join Linda Curtis, Executive Director for the League of Independent Voters of Texas, for an interactive workshop on how you can be effective in campaigning for (or against) candidates and ballot issues. Presented by Linda Curtis, Executive Director for the League of Independent Voters of Texas.
Intro by Debbie Davis
 

4:45 – 7:00: Break for dinner – click here for a list of local restaurant suggestions

 

7:00 – 9:00: Film Screening

Join us for a special evening fundraising screening of the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees on Monday evening! Click here for more information.

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

NOTE: There are two tracks. Click on names to see speaker bios.
 

7:30 – 8:30: Registration

 

8:30 – 10:00: Sessions

Track 1

Food Labels & Transparency in our Food SystemDon Davis of the Grassfed Livestock Marketing Association, Alan Lewis of Natural Grocers, and Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm discuss food labels from a farming, marketing, and retail perspective. Learn what local, free range, grass-fed, non-GMO, and organic really mean, and the trade-offs involved. Are consumers really getting what they think they’re getting, and how can we make that happen?
Moderator: Marla Camp

Track 2

Water Policy and What That Means for Our Food — Water is rapidly becoming one of the most hotly contested resources in our state. Urban residents and industry claim to be the highest priorities, and water is being permanently removed from rural areas to supply their needs. What does this mean for the future of our farms and our food supply? And is there anything we can do about it? Panelists include Steve Box, Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship, and Michele Gangnes, on the board of directors of the League of Independent Voters of Texas.
Moderator: Paula McDermott
 

10:00 – 10:15: 15-minute break

 

10:15 – 11:15: Sessions

Track 1

Who Controls Our Farms and Food?Patty Lovera, Assistant Director at Food & Water Watch, talks about how a handful of companies dominate the market at every level of our agricultural and food system, from the seed to the grocery store. Learn more about the impacts on both farmers and consumers, many of whom are unaware that the wide range of products all stem to the same companies.

Track 2

2015 Texas Legislative Session — Led by Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance executive director Judith McGeary, learn what’s in store for the next legislative session.
 

11:15 – 11:45: Meet and greet with Representative Lois Kolkhorst

 

11:45 – 1:00: Lunch of local foods by Coté Catering

 

1:00 – 2:15: Sessions

Track 1

Raw Milk Fights in the Legislature and the Court of Public Opinion — Raw milk is one of the cutting edge issues for local foods and food freedom. Representative Dan Flynn will share his experience in fighting for greater access in the Legislature, and Brian Cummings will discuss effective messaging to gain support from the media and the public.
Moderator: Judith McGeary

Track 2

Activism: Social Media 101 — Learn the basics of Facebook, Twitter, and blogging and how to manage these marketing tools without letting them take over your life. How do you know which platforms are best for your business or nonprofit? How do you create engaging posts that will be shared widely? How can you use social media to promote change? Join Ricardo Guerrero, CEO and “Chief Buzz Generator” of Social Media Dynamo™, Kristen Michaelis of FoodRenegade.com, and Kate Payne author of Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, for a panel discussion.
Moderator: Andrew Smiley
 

2:15 – 2:30: 15-minute break and silent auction wrap-up

 

2:30 – 4:00: Sessions

Track 1

Impact of Ag Policy on the Future of Young Farmers — From access to affordable farm land to dealing with city, state, and federal regulations, learn how young farmers are dealing with the challenges and make farming their career path. The panel features Amanda Austin (Cardo’s Farm Project – Denton), Jay Blazek Crossley (Sky Farm – Houston), Evan Driscoll (Green Gate Farms – Austin), and Lorig Hawkins (Farmshare Austin).
Moderator: Paula McDermott

Track 2

“What’s Happening to Our Bees? — Bees are a vital part of our food system, and their diminishing populations pose a serious risk to the stability of our food supply. Learn more about the issues at the federal and state level that are affecting our important pollinators. The session will be presented by Larissa Walker, Pollinator Campaign Director and a policy analyst at Center for Food Safety.

 

4:00 – Closing