2012 Farm & Food Leadership Conference

Join us at the 6th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference!  This unique conference focuses on the policies and regulations affecting our farms and our food.  Come hear top speakers on issues such as the Farm Bill, genetically modified foods, corporate control of our food system, and much more.


WHEN: Monday, September 10 – Tuesday, September 11, 2012 
WHERE: Bastrop Convention Center, Bastrop, TX   



Monday, September 10:


Keynote:  The 2×2 Pledge (Yes, we can!): We can eat our way to economic security and personal freedom, and we can do so without spending an extra dime on food or an extra dollar on taxes.  Keynote by Michael Olson, agriculturalist, journalist, and host of Food Chain Radio.


10:00 am:

Track 1:  Health Freedom.  Peter McCarthy of the Texas Health Freedom Coalition will discuss the major legal and regulatory barriers facing alternative and complementary health care practitioners, and the bills that are antiticpated in the upcoming Texas legislative session.

Track 2:  GMO basics.  Howard Vlieger of Verity Farms will explain what genetically engineered crops are and the problems they create for farmers and consumers.


11:25 am:

Track 1:  Farm Bill and Corporate Control.  Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch will explain what’s happening with the Farm Bill,how the structure of our federal food policy supports corporate consolidation at the expense of both farmers and consumers, and what each person can do to influence Congress and the Farm Bill.

Track 2:  Seafood and Our Coastal Waters.  Diane Wilson, a noted author and activist, will speak about tthe different ways in which seafood is harvested, the issues facing fishermen, and how people can support changes for sustainable management of our coastal waters.


12:30 pm: Lunch of local and organic foods, catered by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due


1:30 pm:

Track 1:  GMOs: The Latest News and Action Items.  A panel will dicuss the latest scientific studies on the problems with genetically engineered drops and the ways that people are fighitng back at every level, from purchasing and food production to ballot initiatives.  Speakers: Howard Vlieger of Verity Farms, Doug Foreman of Beanitos, and Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch.

Track 2:  Local Initiatives and Local Challenges.  A panel will explore issues at the local level, from regulatory to market barriersa, and how different local communities are addressing them.  Speakers: Amy Miller of the City of Elgin, Carla Jenkins of Cedar Park Farmers Market, and Katie Kraemer Pitre of Tecolote Farm


3:15 pm:

Track 1:  What Does Local Mean?  Scaling and distribution issues.  A panel will discuss the role of farmers, chefs, and retailers in the local food movement, and how we can expand access to local food without losing the heart and soul of the movement.  Speakers: Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm, Don Davis of the Grassfed Livestock Alliance, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, and Brain Cummings of EatGreenDFW.  Moderated by Marla Camp of Edible Austin.

Track 2:  Animal Welfare in Agriculture.  A panel will discuss the role of goverment, market solutions, and the realities of family farming with respect to animal welfare, from birth to death.  Speakers: Michael Olson of Food Chain Radio, Andrew Gunther of Animal Welfare Approved, and Travis Krause of Parker Creek Ranch


4:45:  Where Do We Go Next?  The outlook for the Texas legislative session and in DC.  Judith McGeary of FARFA and Patty Lovera of FWW will pull together the issues raised throughout the day in an interactive discussion of what is likely to happen in the coming year in Austin and DC.

The conference will end at approximately 5:45 pm on Monday. The silent auction ends at 5:45 pm on Monday.


Tuesday, September 11:



Tuesday’s Activism Boot Camp is Sold Out.  We often have a few last-minute cancellations, though, so please email Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org if you would like to attend.  We will place you on the waiting list and let you know if there is space as soon as possible.

8:30 am – 11:30 am: Activism training: Interactive workshops on developing strategy, how to lobby, and how to network.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Lunch, catered by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due

12:30 pm – 3 pm:  Discuss FARFA’s priorities in the coming year.  There will be break-out groups to discuss strategies for the coming year on:
(1) Raw milk
(2) Local foods bills
(3) GMOs

3 pm – 4 pm:  Come back together to discuss the plans from each group, provide input, and plan how to coordinate to make effective changes in the policies governing our farms and our food.



Platinum Sponsors

Edible Austin

Gold Sponsors

Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Edible DFW

Silver Sponsors

Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas

Stryk Jersey Farm

Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets

Whole Foods

Bronze Sponsors

Acres USA


Brazos Valley Cattle Company

Cedar Park Farmers Market

Dewberry Hills Farms

Garden Inspirations


Johnson’s Backyard Garden


American National – Coleman Insuance Agency

East Side Show Room

Farmhouse Delivery

Green Grass Meats

Keep Bastrop County Beautiful

Manuel’s Restaurants

Organic Certification Consulting

People’s Pharmacy

Rancho Ojo de Agua

River Valley Farmers Market

Soothin’ Infusion

Wheatsville Food Co-op

World’s Best Eggs

Yegua Creek Farms

Zhi Tea

Supporting Sponsors

Anderlee Lumber Company

Austin EcoNetwork

Casa Brasil – Direct Trade Brazilian Coffee

Tommy and Michelle Harris

Ideal Poultry

Milam Auto Supply Co. (Cameron)

San Antonio Herb Society

Texas Olive Ranch



Thank you to the generous individuals and businesses who donated items for our silent auction. This year, in addition to the on-site auction, we also have an online auction that launched on August 29. Even if you don’t attend the conference, you can still bid on the online items on www.32auctions.com/farfaconference2012.

Bidding on the on-site auction ends 20 minutes after the last speaker on Monday, approximately 5:45 p.m.

Bidding on the online auction ends at 6:00 PM on Monday, September 10.

(Items designated with a ** below are online; the rest of the items are available for bidding at the conference.)

Books from Acres USA

Gift card to Barley Swine

Weeder & cultivator (short and long handle) from CobraHead

Gift box of preserves from Confituras

Organic chicken feed from Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Farm tour + dinner for 4 in your home by Sonya Coté and The HomeGrown Revival **

John Deere caps and straw hat from Coufal-Prater Equipment

Organic chicken feed from Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Homeopathy webinar of choice (companion animal / equine / livestock) by Dr. Glenn Dupree **

Gift card to East Side Pies

Dinner for two at Eastside Cafe

Basket of souvenirs from the Elgin Hogeye Festival

Custom cooking class and farm-to-table dinner for 10 from Escoffier School of Culinary Arts **

Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers

4 weeks of local produce boxes from Greenling

Autographed copies of book Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas

Artisan crafts from Goodwin Homestead

Garden starter seed kit from High Mowing Seeds

Gift certificate to Home Sweet Home Bakery **

4-week CSA subscription to Johnson’s Backyard Garden

Gift card package from Lick Ice Creams

Gift cerificate to Manuel’s Restaurants

Organic farm certification consulting by Leslie McKinnon **

Chick starter kit from Milam Grain Co.

Large garden sprinkler from M&M Farm Supply

Gift certificates to The Natural Gardener **

Gift certificate to Olivia Restaurant

Texas cocktail kit from Paula’s Texas Spirits

Gift basket from Republic Tequila

Gift certificate and tote bag from the River Valley Farmers Market

Women’s cowhide gloves, 12-in-1 tools, and more from Taylor Equipment

2013 conference registration from Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association **

Wrench set from True Value (Cameron)

Farm tour and breakfast by Vital Farms

Organic pastured eggs from World’s Best Eggs

Pecan cutting board from Yegua Creek Farms




We have arranged for a block of rooms at the Comfort Suites in Bastrop at a rate of $79/night (not including taxes).  Call 512-321-3377 to make your reservation and be sure to mention the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance conference to get the special rate.

The block of rooms is available only until August 21.  After that, Comfort Suites will honor the rate only if they have available space, so book early!

We have also arranged with the Pecan Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Bastrop, just one and half blocks from historic downtown, for a special rate of $79/night (not including taxes). The rate is available for the nights of September 9, 10, and 11, 2012. Call 512-321-3315 to make your reservation and be sure to mention the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance conference to get the special rate! Only a limited number of rooms are available, so be sure to book your room as soon as possible. (Many thanks to innkeepers Bill and Shawn Pletsch!)



Interested in helping out with this year’s conference?  We are seeking volunteers to join us this spring for the following committees: hospitality, silent auction, special fundraiser event planning, and sponsorships.  Email info@farmandranchfreedom.org  to learn more about how you can participate!



Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Council for Healthy Food Systems

Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association