Intensive: Climate Action Plans

While many companies would like to incorporate climate change action into their companies, it can be challenging to know where to start, how to balance efforts with limited resources, and the extent to which climate efforts might stretch across the globe.

It Starts with You is focused on helping natural product companies understand 3 main objective:

  1. in which areas they can make the most climate impact

  2. how they support business operations

  3. how to incorporate these efforts into a system-based climate action plan.

This intensive will balance delivery of information with real-life case studies. We will hear from companies that represent a spectrum of organic industry sectors with varying degrees of progress (i.e. beginners, advanced) in their formalized climate action. Throughout the day, presenters will introduce tools and exercises to help attendees assess the priorities, goals, and tactics that their companies’ climate plans could include.

Participants will walk away with a strong knowledge of what other peers are doing to address climate action, and the goals and tactics that are most relevant and realistic for their companies to implement.

Please note: In order to provide actionable information, this intensive will focus on Manufacturers, Retailers, Distributors, and Brands. While the manners in which the agricultural supply chain can be engaged will be addressed, a deep discussion on farm practices will not be the focus of this intensive.

Speaker Bios


Gretchen Grani
is the Regeneration & Sustainability Lead at Guayaki.  Gretchen has directed corporate sustainability and philanthropy for two natural product brands over the last six years. Prior experience includes managing an environmental conservation nonprofit and serving on numerous nonprofit boards, environmental consulting, writing about eco-psychology, and volunteering at a St. Helena winery for 15 years. Gretchen is an advocate for personal regeneration and regenerative business as a solution to reversing climate change and solving the world’s biggest social and environmental problems.

Justin Overdevest leads the food practice for Good Company, a 16 year old sustainability consultancy. Justin’s recent work includes international supply chain management, climate risk management, and CSR reporting (CDP, EcoVadis, Oregon benefit company, Walmart). Prior to Good Company Justin served as an agroforestry Peace Corps volunteer working in Peru and on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Justin earned a Sustainable Business Practices MBA program and MS in interdisciplinary studies (landscape architecture/planning) at the University of Oregon.

Athena Petty is the Sustainability Program Manager for New Seasons Market, a privately-owned chain of grocery stores selling organic and locally produced products alongside conventional groceries operating in the Portland Metro area, SW Washington and Seattle. New Seasons was the world's first B Corp certified grocery store and strives to be the ultimate neighborhood grocery store by giving back to its staff, community and the environment. Athena works to integrate sustainability principles into all areas of business, from reporting systems and communication, to engagement and program implementation, she believes that in order to solve the most pressing issues of our time, we must prioritize making positive impacts in our communities and the planet in every decision we make. Athena brings over 10 years of work in sustainability and efficiency from her roles at Pacific Natural Foods, the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Northwest Earth Institute.

Josh Proudfoot is a co-founder and principal of Good Company since 2001.  Josh’s work brings research, environmental management and market development to food systems, clean tech and infrastructure such as water systems, transportation, renewable energy, and materials recovery.  Josh’s career is dedicated to improving everyone’s triple bottom line.

Shauna Sadowski is the Head of Sustainability for the Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills. She is responsible for leading sustainability strategy, which includes integrating sustainability into the product design and supply chain, with an emphasis on food and farming programs, leading external partnership engagements, and ensuring sustainability is implemented across the brands. In prior years, Shauna has been a management consultant and a farm girl; she is a graduate of the Friedman School at Tufts University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, two children, and boisterous Boston Terrier.

Lisa Spicka (Moderator) is the Associate Director of SFTA, and primary Education Director for its project the Climate Collaborative, Lisa uses her diverse background to develop educational and analytic tools that help companies uncover sustainability priorities, and learn about practical solutions to grow their triple-bottom-line practices. Lisa also uses these skills as CEO of Maracuja Solutions, where she helps clients integrate supply chain engagement initiatives and incorporate sustainability strategy and business planning to scale their business services and products with integrity.Lisa has worked extensively in the United States and Latin America since 1997 in the organic agriculture, food and dairy industry. She has held operations, supply chain integrity, education, and sustainability leadership roles for a spectrum of companies, including Cypress Grove Chevre, OCIA, and Amway-Nutrilite.  In her roles, Lisa has led domestic and global initiatives that focus on supply chain integrity, food safety, organic certification, and sustainability management. She holds a Spanish degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and graduated cum laude from Thunderbird School of Global Management, with a Global MBA in sustainable supply chain management. 

Albert Struas is an organic dairy farmer and the founder/CEO of Straus Family Creamery.  He has been a leader in sustainable organic farming practices for many decades. He is a strong advocate for organic, non-GMO dairy production, environmental stewardship, and family farms. He has led the movement for organic farming practices and small-scale organic dairy farms demonstrating the demand for organic dairy milk, prioritizing collaborative relationships and innovative environmental leadership.

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Sponsored By Nexterra Inc

Intensive

Cannabis: From Crop to Commodity


Speakers

Levi Fredrikson, Oregon Tilth;

Logan Leichtman, Lotus Law Group;

Les Szabo, Dr. Bronners;

Sunny Summers, Oregon Department of Ag Cannabis Policy;

Andrew Black, Certified Kind;

Tyson Haworth, SoFresh Farms;

Brenda Book, Washington State Department of Ag;

Christina Sasser, Vital Leaf, Inc;

Josh Gulliver, J and J Organics LLC;

Katie Goldberg, Oregon Tilth;

Courtney Collins, Oregon Tilth;

There is a new industry taking shape across the country, and a new market opportunity on the rise. With the legalization of many forms of cannabis, farmers and processors are eager to dive in, but how?

This full-day intensive caters to those looking into the cannabis industry along with producers aiming for more guidance and connections. We have worked diligently to gather expertise from across the cannabis gamut, including growers, processors, legal experts, government officials, certification pros, and future thinkers. These experts will help to clue you in on the current industry, where to start, what to consider, and final production. We will explore the plant from the ground up, and from harvest to ...wherever it may take you.

Feel like your questions aren’t being answered? There will be an opportunity to discuss specific considerations with all of our presenters during the Ask the Expert session, which will be held in conjunction with the lunch break. Join us for an information packed day, along with the opportunity to get to know other players in the field. We look forward to seeing you there!

Speaker Bios


Andrew Black worked for Oregon Tilth for 12 years and is an organic certification expert. In 2014, he founded Certified Kind, which is a private 3rd party certification program for state licensed medical and adult-use cannabis producers that are farming organically but can’t get USDA Organic certification. Andrew also works with industrial hemp farms that are transitioning to organic farming practices and helps them achieve USDA Organic Certification.


Brenda Book is the Program Manager for the WSDA Organic Program. She oversees all aspects of the agency’s organic certification services and staff.  Started in 1988, the USDA-accredited WSDA Organic Food Program upholds the integrity of the organic label through certification and inspection of organic crop and livestock producers, processors, handlers and retailers.  WSDA is in the final stages of rule making and plans to have applications available for Washington cannabis producers and processors this spring.  A native of Central Iowa, Brenda grew up on her family’s third generation grain and livestock farm and has been involved in the organic industry since 1996 as farmer, researcher, retail produce manager, farmers market manager and board member.  Brenda holds a B.A. in sustainable agriculture from The Evergreen State College and studied botany at the University of Iowa.

Levi Fredrikson (Moderator) is a Certification Services Officer with Oregon Tilth. He has a background as an agricultural educator, farm family business consultant, and grower. Levi has managed operations raising grass-fed beef, diversified vegetables and row crops, cannabis, and orchards/vineyards.

Logan Leichtman practices at Lotus Law Group where he focuses his practice on real estate, land use and regulatory compliance for the cannabis industry. During law school, Logan interned for state representative Ken Helm. The two published a paper in the Willamette Law Review about the implementation of recreational cannabis legislation in Oregon. Logan served as editor-in-chief of Willamette Law Online and also as an editor of Willamette Law Review. Prior to law school, Logan worked as a video editor and post-production coordinator with credits including content that has aired on HBO, CNN, BBC and MTV. He originally cut his teeth in entertainment as a concert producer, having put on hundreds of shows in venues throughout the state of Virginia.

Christina Sasser is the visionary force behind the Vital Leaf edibles line, which focuses on creating CBD & Cannabis products, including organic, fair-trade, regeneratively sourced Chocolates, Oil drop Elixirs, Pastilles and other specialty edibles. She also co-produces a pop-up cooking school for festivals, called the Nourishment Lab. Previously, she owned an artisanal catering, personal chef, and live-cultured products company, Activation Foods. In 2016, Vital Leaf became her next adventure. As the CEO she wears many hats including head chef, marketing and brand development, and creating strong investor and partnership relationships. She supports and collaborates with local, organic, regenerative, and wild crafted food producers to strengthen regional food security & justice, and to create the most pure and nourishing whole foods in the most ethical and honest way possible.  Her favorite quote is:  "Work is love made visible.”  

Sunny Summers
of the Oregon Department of Ag Cannabis Policy has a degree from Oregon State University in Bioresource Research.  She worked in pesticide regulation and enforcement for 12 years before making the leap to cannabis. When not scratching her head over cannabis regulations, she can be found napping in the woods, kayaking on the Willamette, or chasing one of the Bruiser Bros. around the Sassy Sunflower Haus.


Les Szabo is currently Director of Constructive Capital at Dr. Bronner's. He oversees business development activities for the company, which includes impact investing, philanthropy, and commercial support of supply chain projects around the world. He currently sits on the boards of Serendi Coco Samoa Ltd., Regenerative Organic Feed Co., and LifeDose. Les has 20 years of experience in the natural products and apparel industries. He was a co-founder of Living Harvest, Dunderdon, and Infinity Sport.





Intensive: Equity in the Organic Movement

Speakers

Sarah Brown, Oregon Tilth

Amani Olugbala, Soul Fire Farm

Is social equity in organic agriculture more than empty rhetoric, good intentions, an impossible dream? Are we as organic farmers, educators, and advocates really paving the path to fairer food? How do we fight racism, sexism, and classism that we know shape our own beliefs and actions? What concrete, courageous actions must we take--in the field, on the ground-- to change ourselves and change the system?  

This intensive workshop will guide us in a provocative, participatory exploration of social equity in organic agriculture. Our sector wants to be the farming movement of diversity and inclusion, fair wages and worker protections, equal access to a healthy environment and healthy food. But we know how short we fall from these ideals. We see who's missing when we look at our customers, co-workers, and conferences. We recognize the vast, historical, structural causes, the powerfully entrenched barriers to equity. We feel guilty and overwhelmed and helpless. We struggle to figure out what it means to “be an ally” and “stand with” the marginalized; which votes, Tweets, data, and donations make a difference; what in the world we can do beyond outreach, outrage, and magical thinking?

 This special intensive will focus on our individual and collective roles in keeping farms profitable and productive, improving farm wages and working conditions, making healthy food accessible to all, and diversifying leadership in our sector. It will create a comfortable space for discomfort, for reflecting on our own responsibility and vulnerability. We'll investigate the interactions between structural and institutional inequalities and our personal experiences and perspectives. We'll examine the problems, causes, connections, and solutions. We'll deepen and broaden our thinking about our own choices and priorities: Which partners do we cultivate? Which policies do we champion? Which practices do we change? Finally, we'll lay a foundation for ongoing dialogue and support, exploring possibilities for a learning/working group or community of practice for social equity in organic agriculture.

Speaker Bios

Amani Olugbala, Assistant Program Director at Soul Fire Farm, is a storyteller who weaves music, film, speech and poem into art that highlights social injustice, honors the ancestors and demands for change. This, in an effort to uplift the spirits of the marginalized and promote love and service as necessary acts of rebellion against isolation and disconnection. An artist, farmer, educator and community organizer Amani uses artistic expression, urban agriculture and social awareness to impact change and foster a sense of empathy and inter-being in local urban communities. Amani started out at Soul Fire Farm as a participant and later facilitator of the Black and Latino Farmers Immersion.

Intensive: Seed Production Essentials

speakers

Sebastian Aguilar, Heron Breen Fedco Seeds

Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance

Edmund Frost, Common Wealth Seed Growers  

Tessa Peters, Organic Seed Alliance

Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds

Don Tipping, Siskiyou Seeds

Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance

Are you interested in learning how to grow seed on your farm? This full day intensive will give you the tools you need to get started!

The Seed Production Essentials Intensive at Organicology will include top-notch training on the basics of growing seed – from production practices, to cleaning techniques, to the economic considerations for a successful crop. Seasoned seed growers who live the ins and outs of producing seed will lead this daylong intensive. Our goal is for you to finish the intensive with the knowledge and confidence you need to grow your own seed for your farm or markets.

Speaker Bios

Heron Breen born, raised, and residing in the small central Maine town of Saint Albans, Heron’s plant “roots” derive from childhood chores in his family’s large back-to-the-lander gardens and high school summers spent working (or pretending to) on a local organic vegetable farm. An ongoing 19 year career at Fedco Seeds has engaged him in diverse elements of the retail seed business including various daily operations, managing trial progams, and catalog writing. His day job has run parallel to establishing a personal farm operation which focuses on seed production and plant breeding. Sharing the experiential skill sets and relevant history of seed work in the Northeast is Heron’s passion.

Micaela Colley is the Program Director of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA). She is the author of several publications on organic seed and leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and farmer-participatory breeding for organic cropping systems. Micaela is also pursuing a PhD with Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren, Wageningen University, focused on participatory plant breeding for organic systems.

Edmund Frost has been growing certified organic vegetable seeds in Louisa, Virginia since 2008. He also does research and plant breeding work, especially focused on disease resistant cucumber, winter squash and melon varieties. Edmund manages Common Wealth Seed Growers, a small seed company dedicated to raising awareness about regional and organic seed issues, and to serving the needs of produce farmers in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions. 

Tom Stearns began gardening at an early age at his family home in Connecticut. Prior to completing a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Prescott College in Arizona, he began saving seeds. A hobby was born in 1996 in Vermont when Tom began sharing these seeds with others through a small flyer. High Mowing Organic Seeds has since expanded into one of the leading organic seed companies in the U.S., supplying home gardeners, commercial growers and retailers. Tom’s vision has always been to create a company that would help support the re-building of healthy food systems, first in Vermont, followed by the rest of the U.S. He has also taught numerous workshops since 1996 on many topics such as agricultural education, economics, community supported agriculture, genetic engineering, plant breeding, local food systems, sustainable business investing and more. His informal, personal style, ability to explain complex issues and infectious enthusiasm makes him a popular and inspiring speaker. In addition, he has served on the board of several agricultural organizations including NOFA-VT, The Center for an Agricultural Economy, and Sterling College. He lives on 50 acres in Vermont with his wife Heather and their two girls, Ruby and Cora.

 Don Tipping has been farming and offering hands on, practical workshops at Seven Seeds Farm since 1997.  He is active in the Seed Stewardship movement and educates regionally on seed saving through the Biannual Seed Academy, the Student Organic Seed Symposium, Seed Schools and numerous conferences.  He sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and contributes to the Open Source Seed Initiative.  While raising a family and managing a diverse seed farm and distribution business occupy much of his time, Don is keenly aware of the eroding Agrarian landscape and believes in rekindling a thriving culture of cottage industries that inspire Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share and is wholeheartedly devoted to seeing this emergent regenerative economy and culture increase and thrive.

Jared Zystro is Organic Seed Alliance’s research and education assistant director. He has a master’s degree in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Jared has worked in the organic seed industry for over 15 years, managing seed production at two farms and conducting research and education projects with OSA. He currently manages OSA’s regional development in California, conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials, and teaches farmers about seed production and plant breeding at workshops, conferences, and field days. Jared is also a PhD candidate in the University of Wisconsin - Madison's Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program, where he is studying efficient methods of developing new organic sweet corn varieties. He lives in the coastal town of Arcata, CA, with his wife and son.  

Intensive: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? Integrity, Continuous Improvement and Evolution in the Organic Trade

Speakers

Dag Falck, Nature's Path Foods

Brian Baker, Belcairn Concerns, LLC

Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association

Zoe Bradbury, Valley Flora 

Lynn Coody, Organic Agsystems Consulting

Katherine DiMatteo, Sustainable Food Trade Association

David Lively, Organically Grown Company

Tracy Miedema

“THE ONE INNOVATION that is our legacy to pass on is the idea that local and regionally based and privately owned for-profit businesses can be effective vehicles for large scale social change.  We are not philanthropically funded NGOs.  We are not in the street marchers.  We do not do electoral politics.  We buy things and sell things and provide services to our customers and by doing so we have enabled and facilitated a profound and enduring change in farming.  By doing so, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of an overlooked model of social change.  We must work to ensure that this lesson is not lost on those who come after us.” 

– David Weinstein, organic produce trade pioneer.

 Now, more than 4 decades later, we find that our vision of what could be has not only created a flourishing market for our goods but done so on a scale resulting in the “mainstreaming” of the organic trade. This unfamiliar position has spawned increasingly contentious debates about what is “truly” organic, what responsibility organic has to “evolve” (or not) in order to help address numerous global crises that may be aggravated or abated by agricultural practice, and who should be carrying the organic flag into the future. Many of the visionaries and early entrepreneurs are no longer active participants, many iconic businesses and brands have been acquired and their voices diminished, and there is a sense of uncertainty and even despair in some circles related to how to proceed. 

 In this intensive, we will look at IFOAM’s “Organic 3.0” and the OTA’s “Bold Steps” as potential guides for navigating the challenges now before us, and the “Middle Path”, developed by Organic Agsystems Consulting and Organically Grown Company staff as a process for deliberating options with the requirement that they provide open paths to continuous improvement through “relentless but patient” progress. 

Want to participate in shaping the future of the organic sector?  Want to learn how to break-down complex situations and find pragmatic, workable solutions?  Want to develop your management and problem-solving skills?  Then this is the intensive workshop for you!  Be prepared to be engaged!

Speaker Bios

Brian Baker is President of the North American Regional Group of IFOAM—Organics International (IFOAM NA). Dr. Baker is a researcher, consultant and educator who has worked in organic agriculture since 1983. His clients include universities, government agencies, private institutes, and various businesses. He was a founder of the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and a pioneer of organic certification for California Certified Organic Farmers. He is a past member of the IFOAM Standards Committee, Principles of Organic Agriculture Task Force, and the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network that was involved in the development of Organic 3.0. He is currently vice-chair of the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM. Brian grew up on a small family farm in Western New York. His Ph.D. is from Cornell University, and he has also taught college classes on organic agriculture.

Zoë Bradbury operates Valley Flora a diversified fresh market farm nestled along the banks of Floras Creek on the southcoast of Oregon. With her mom and sister, a fantastic crew, and a team of draft horses, she has been cultivating vegetables, berries, flowers, herbs and orchard fruits for local coastal markets since 2008.

Lynn Coody has been an active participant in the organic industry since 1974, serving in many leadership positions in her home state of Oregon, nationally with the Organic Trade Association and the National Organic Coalition, and internationally with IFOAM. She is proud to have been a founder of, and active contributor to, Oregon Tilth, Organic Materials Institute, and Oregon Organic Coalition.  In 1982, Lynn established Organic Agsystems Consulting, a firm that provides technical assistance to producers and regulatory agencies in the organic food trade. In recent years, many of her consulting projects have focused on assisting domestic and international certifiers with compliance with the accreditation requirements of the USDA's National Organic Program. A notable highlight has been her work as a visiting professor at the Institute of Mediterranean Agriculture for 15 years, where she taught a short course on organic regulation and oversight to students working toward their a Masters degree in Organic Agriculture. Her current activity focuses on the Organic Produce Wholesalers Coalition where she serves as Senior Policy Analyst, providing analysis and recommendations about issues before the National Organic Standards Board.

Katherine DiMatteo (Moderator) is the executive director of the Sustainable Food Trade Association since November 2013. In addition, DiMatteo continues as a managing partner at Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates, a consulting firm whose specialists deliver effective strategies to help organic products and businesses grow. Formerly the executive director of the Organic Trade Association from 1990 to 2006, she was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program standards and the U.N. Codex Guidelines for organically produced foods. DiMatteo has served as the president of IFOAM-Organics International Board of Directors, is a founding member of The Organic Center’s Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Fairtrade America Board of Directors. 

Dag Falk is president of COTA (Canada Organic Trade Association) and a board member of IFOAM NA.Working with Nature’s Path Foods Inc. since 2003 has afforded him the opportunity to work intimately with many aspects of the organic movement such as regulations, enforcement, supply and customer interactions.  Prior to coming to Nature’s Path he was an independent organic inspector for 14 years, auditing all types of farms and processing facilities.

David Lively (Moderator) has been engaged in the organic foods movement since 1973, and professionally since 1983, in roles ranging from eater to farmer to Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Organically Grown Company.  He was a co-founder of Organically Grown Company, the Sustainable Food Trade Association and Organicology.  He has served on the boards of OGC, Oregon Tilth, SFTA, the Oregon Organic Coalition, Organic Seed Alliance, and currently the Organic Trade Association. 

Tracy Miedema is the VP of Innovation & Brand Development at Presence, the nation’s leading natural products broker, where she oversees the company’s two investment portfolios.  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and with family roots in the Deep South, gardening, gathering, hunting and preserving real food shaped her basic food philosophy: know where your food comes from, prepare it with care and enjoy time around the table.  Since 2012, Tracy has led graduate student teams in product innovation at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.  Tracy holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MBA from Western Washington University.  She is lives with her family in rural Oregon.

Gwendolyn Wyard has been actively working in the organic industry for over 20 years. She serves as the Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) where she works on the development of policy strategy through regulatory engagement in the interest of OTA’s mission and its members. Prior to OTA Gwendolyn worked for Oregon Tilth where she served as the Technical Specialist specializing in policy analysis and technical review of materials for use in organic products. She holds a degree in Food Science with a Fermentation Science Option and a minor in Chemistry. Gwendolyn completed her certificate as an independent farm and processing inspector through the International Organic Inspector’s Association (IOIA) in 1997 and has subcontracted for multiple certifiers inspecting a diverse range of operations. She also serves on board for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and is an Advisory Council member for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). In her free time, Gwendolyn loves to make and eat fermented foods, take long bike rides, paddle her kayak and grub around in the soil.