AbraCadabra: Disappearing Food Waste in the Supply Chain

Session III: 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Reducing food waste is seen as a path to greater efficiencies, bottom line savings, and climate mitigation. Business and nonprofits are partnering to take this on, but what impact are these new models having on food waste reduction? Panelists include wholesalers of “imperfect” produce, a large-scale composter, and the Oregon Food Bank, who partners with dozens of organizations as a destination for food that would otherwise expire or be thrown out. Participants will learn about collaborations and the challenges panelists still face in their food waste initiatives.

Speakers: Pierce Louis, Dirt Hugger; Reilly Brock, Imperfect Produce; Katie Pearmine, Oregon Food Bank; Lisa Spicka, Sustainable Food Trade Association; Ashley Zanolli

Speaker Bios

Reilly Brock is the content manager at Imperfect Produce.  He is the communications bridge between the world of agriculture and the grocery buying public. It's his job every day to dive deep into the literature, policy, and business landscape surrounding agriculture and food waste, find and distill the most salient information, and translate it into terms that a wide variety of audiences can understand and act on. He also regularly visits farms to learn more about their stories and share the reality and challenges that they face in digestible, compelling, and actionable terms for the general public. His role leverages his passion for communications, research, and story-telling, and lets him spend his days listening, learning, and writing his way towards a more sustainable food system.


Pierce Louis is a co-founder at Dirt Hugger, a composting company located in Dallesport, WA. At Dirt Hugger, Pierce serves as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ focusing on business development, marketing and finance, but leaving time to run loaders and screen compost. In eight years Dirt Hugger has built two facilities in two states including a 35,000 ton per year turned aerated static pile facility. Pierce received a BA from University of Virginia, an MBA from Oxford and currently serves on the board of the US Compost Council.

Katie Pearmine -- Growing up on a farm in the North Willamette Valley, Katie has worked in agriculture since childhood. As the Strategic Sourcing Manager for Oregon Food Bank, Katie leads a team responsible for procuring food for people experiencing hunger in Oregon and Clark County Washington. Katie’s previous work includes: field work and outdoor education in rural Oregon, ten years in publishing and marketing, and five years with Oregon Department of Agriculture. Katie spends her free time on food access and land use issues, and is chairing Oregon State University, Food Innovation Center’s advisory board, and acting a Commissioner for Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

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. 

Ashley Zanolli is considered a national expert on wasted food prevention and measurement.  Prior to doing this work independently from the government, she worked on assignment from the US EPA to the Oregon DEQ Materials Management Program as a senior policy and program advisor.  Her main focus was on the implementing of a statewide strategy to prevent the wasting of food, a statewide residential and commercial measurement study to understand types, quantities and loss reasons of wasted food. She is currently advising an industry engagement process with retailers, brands, and the Pacific Coast Collaborative. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and serves on various national advisory councils, including the advisory group for ReFED and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.  

 

Are We F*@!ed?: Pursuing the Organic Vision in Today’s Market

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

This panel discussion tackles concerns emerging from the success and growth of the organic trade. What happens when mainstream companies enter the organic sector and apply their standard rules of marketplace engagement? Are there limits to the organic trade as a market-based mechanism to pursue an evolving definition and practice of "good, clean and fair" agriculture? Join panelists to discuss where we’ve been, where we are now and what the future might hold.

Speakers: David Lively, Organically Grown Company; Tom Willey, T & D Farms; Matthew Dillon, CLIF Bar; Mark Lipson, Chris Schreiner

Speaker Bios

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. 

Chris Schreiner has over 20 years work experience in the organic sector. Since 1998, he has worked for Oregon Tilth. As Farm Program Coordinator, Chris coordinated the organic certification process for over 400 farms. As Quality Control Director, his responsibilities included policy analysis and managing accreditation with the USDA National Organic Program. Chris has been Oregon Tilth’s Executive Director since 2009. He has developed formal partnerships with traditional agricultural service providers, including Oregon State University and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, to expand access to expertise and resources for organic farmers. In 2014, Chris served on the Oregon Governor’s Task Force on Genetically Engineered Agriculture. Chris is currently the co-chair of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Research, Education and Extension Committee.

Tom Willey, with his wife Denesse, operated T&D Willey Farms from 1981 until 2016, a seventy-five-acre Certified Organic farm in Madera, California, growing a wide array of Mediterranean vegetables the year round. T&D Willey Farms produce was appreciated in specialty markets and fine restaurants up and down the U.S. West Coast as well as on the tables of over 800 weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription members in their own community. Tom was, for nearly a decade, Slow Food USA's governor for California's Central Valley and he passionately advocates for local food prominence through his writing, speaking, radio, and event organizing activities. His monthly "Down on the Farm" radio interview program features the work of progressive farmers and others prominent in San Joaquin Valley's agriculture and food communities. Tom has served over the years on the boards of directors of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and presently is a member of CCOF Certification Services’ five-person LLC Management Committee. He currently serves as a Policy Advisor to The Cornucopia Institute which monitors integrity of the U.S. organic industry.

 

Assessing Soil Health

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Organic farmers know healthy soils provide a wide range of benefits from reducing runoff and erosion to storing carbon and improving water storage. However, the ability to evaluate the current state of soils has been limited. Traditional soil tests provide limited answers about soil fertility leaving producers to rely on experience and intuition in determining the health of their soil. Join this workshop to learn about USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service tools to evaluate the health of your soil. Participants will engage and use a practical in-field soil health assessment tool with virtual, “in the field” classroom activities.

Speakers: Ben Bowell, Oregon Tilth; Sarah Brown, Oregon Tilth; Jennifer Moore-Kucera, American Farmland Trust; Cory Owens, USDA-NRCS; Connor Voss, Diggin' Roots Farm

Speaker Bios

Ben Bowell (Moderator) is an Organic Education Specialist for Oregon Tilth.  Through his joint position with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service/NRCS, he provides technical assistance, delivers trainings, and develops technical resources for use by NRCS staff, agricultural professionals, and producers in order to better support conservation work on organic farms. 

 Cory Owens is the NRCS’s State Soil Scientist and Soil Health Co-Coordinator based out of Portland. She leads the technical soil services program across the state including helping farmers, ranchers, and foresters learn how a healthy soil can help them.  Cory completed her undergraduate work in Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University and her graduate work in Soil Science at the University of California, Davis. Her favorite soil is Amity.

Conner Voss lives and farms in Molalla OR. He and his wife Sarah Brown own and operate Diggin' Roots Farm, where they tend 3+ acres of direct market vegetables and steward over 45 acres of mixed pasture, forest, and riparian area on their land. Conner sees life on the farm, in and on the soil, as the arbiter of all decisions, big and small.  Through restoration plantings, conservation practices, and the use of intensive grazing management, Diggin' Roots Farm is attempting to balance production with holistic land stewardship.

 

Closing the gap in plant breeding: bringing retailers, distributors, and processors into seed conversations.

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

A growing movement of plant breeders, farmers, and chefs are building a community approach to breeding in and for organic systems, but the middle of the supply chain is still often absent from the conversation. Organic produce retailers, processors, distributors and others in the trade are directly affected by plant breeding decisions, and they are also the first line of communication with organic eaters. This workshop will share stories and engage participants in discussions about how to bridge the gap between plant breeders and eaters to include those who handle, move and sell organic products.

Speakers: Mike Boyle, Organically Grown Company; Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Jeff Fairchild, New Seasons Market; Barry Haynes, Ashland Food Co-Op; Brendon O’Shea, Organically Grown Company; Lane Selman, Oregon State University; Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds

Speaker Bios

Micaela Colley (Moderator) 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.

Barry Haynes has been with the Ashland Food Cooperative in Ashland, Oregon for over 23 years. During the majority of that time, Barry managed all aspects of their vibrant Produce Department. Over the past seven months, Barry has been serving the Co-op in his new role as Store Manager. In addition to overseeing the organic certification of the entire store since 2007, he also serves on several teams and committees including the Administrative Leadership Team, Operational Leadership Team, Sustainability Committee, and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. In 2015, Barry received the Oregon Organic Coalition’s individual Award for Excellence in the area of Organic Advocacy.


Lane Selman
grew up on a citrus farm her Sicilian great-grandparents planted in 1919 on Florida's space coast.  She has a Bachelors in Agronomy and a Masters in Entomology, both from University of Florida.  In 2000, she moved to Oregon and since 2005 has been an agricultural researcher at Oregon State University working with diversified, organic farmers on collaborative research projects. In 2012, Lane created the Culinary Breeding Network to build communities of plant breeders, seed growers, farmers, produce buyers, chefs and other stakeholders to improve quality in vegetables and grains. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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.

 

Conservation for Profitability

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Cover cropping, buffers, soil building, and other conservation practices can enhance nutrients, increase moisture, slow erosion, improve soil, control pests, and otherwise improve farm ecology. These “regenerative” practices are not only the cornerstone of organic farming but also essential strategies for resilience amid a changing climate and extreme weather events. Learn about their economic impacts on the farm from increased yields, lower nutrient input requirements, reduced time and fuel costs, and more.

Speakers: Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm; Bill Snyder, Washington State University; Mace Vaughan, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Speaker Bios

Anne Schwartz graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Washington State University, (WSU) in 1978 and has been farming in the Skagit Valley in WA since. Blue Heron Farm produces certified organic vegetables and berries marketed regionally.  Anne was active with organic certification issues at the state and national levels for over 25 years.  Anne was an active advocate in the creation of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), at WSU, and has served on their Advisory Council since 1989.  She served on the Board of Tilth Producers of WA for 35 years, and was recently reelected to Tilth Alliance Board.  She continues to serve on other non-profit boards to promote organic and sustainable agriculture research, and regional food systems.  Her latest focus, inspired 40 years ago by the failures of cost/benefit accounting taught in Ag Econ classes to adequately value "externalities", is to create an Initiative to integrate True Cost Accounting into the research and teaching structure of the College of Agriculture at WSU.  In her spare time, she trains her Border Collies to work livestock.

Bill Snyder did his Biology BA at University of Delaware, M.S. in Zoology at Clemson, and Ph.D. in Entomology at University of Kentucky. A stint as a USDA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison preceded his move to Washington State University in 2000, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. The Snyder lab is interested in links between farm biodiversity and environmental and human health.

Mace Vaughan (Moderator) serves as The Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director and also as a Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the USDA NRCS West National Technology Support Center in Portland, Oregon. Mace has led Xerces’ Pollinator Conservation Program since 2003. During his tenure at the Xerces Society, the pollinator program has grown from a small pilot project on California farms to a national program, implementing pollinator and beneficial insect conservation projects and trainings across the U.S.  Helping to oversee a team of twenty-four pollinator conservation specialists and several consultants, Mace helps to manage the largest pollinator and beneficial insect conservation team in the country. Mace has written numerous articles on the conservation of beneficial insects, and is co-author of several books, including Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies and Farming with Native Beneficial Insects. He was a lecturer on honey bee biology and beekeeping at Cornell University, from which he holds Degrees in Entomology, Natural Resource Management, and Teaching.

 

Farm Bill & Organic Policy in 2019

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

This workshop will provide an update on the 2018-19 Farm Bill, and dig into policies ranging from working lands conservation and crop insurance to research, certification cost share, and enhanced enforcement against fraudulent organic imports. Learn about key strategies and opportunities for grassroots outreach to engage and mobilize around critical organic wins. Panelists will provide a primer on new and returning members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, the Organic Caucus, and other policy needs.

Speakers: Megan Debates, Organic Trade Association (OTA); Steve Etka, National Organic Coalition; Nichelle Harriott, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Brise Tencer, Organic Farming Research Foundation  

Link to the slides from the workshop here

Speaker Bios

Megan DeBates is the Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions for the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. In this capacity, she develops and implements policy strategies in the interest of OTA’s mission and its members, and engages Congress, federal and state agencies and other stakeholder groups to further those policy goals.  Prior to working at OTA, she served as Senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. Congressman Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04) where she advised and developed legislative strategy for DeFazio on agriculture, foreign affairs, international trade, natural resources and other key issues and served as the lead staffer for the House Organic Caucus. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a dual degree in international studies and environmental studies.

Steve Etka, a native of Virginia, is the owner of Etka Consulting, a government relations consulting firm specializing in agriculture and food policy reform. He serves as the Washington D.C. Representative for several policy-related coalitions, including the National Organic Coalition.  Prior to forming his consulting business, Steve spent 5½ years on the staff of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, serving as Deputy Legislative Director, specializing in agriculture, environment, transportation and appropriations matters. Steve graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1987. He lives with his partner Troy in Alexandria, Virginia and is the father of three. 

Nichelle Harriott earned her B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Science at Morgan State University and her M.S. in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University. She has spent her career providing decision-makers, stakeholder communities, and the general public with information needed to support sustainable, organic, and agroecological farming systems. Prior to joining NSAC, Nichelle worked for more than 10 years to advance scientific integrity and regulatory policy related to environmental and public health. Nichelle has led large coalitions and served three terms on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee. Nichelle staffs the NSAC Research Extension Education Committee, which focuses on research and organic agriculture issues.

 

Organic Research for the Non-Researcher

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

A roundtable discussion, farmers will share challenges, benefits, and results; researchers will contribute their experience; and, the group will discuss ways to strengthen the practice and grow the impact of collaborative organic research. Core topics will include on-farm research trials, production integration of research tasks, research results implementation, and needs for successful farmer-researcher partnerships.

Speakers: Ben Bowell, Oregon Tilth; Doug Collins, Washington State University; Aaron Heinrich, Oregon State University

Speaker Bios

Ben Bowell (Moderator) is an Organic Education Specialist for Oregon Tilth.  Through his joint position with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service/NRCS, he provides technical assistance, delivers trainings, and develops technical resources for use by NRCS staff, agricultural professionals, and producers in order to better support conservation work on organic farms. 


Doug Collins is an Extension Faculty and Soil Scientist with WSU’s Food Systems Program. Doug has a Ph.D. in soil science from Washington State University and an M.S. in Plant Pathology from Montana State University. He focuses on managing and monitoring soil fertility on diverse organic vegetable farms and evaluating soil quality in different vegetable cropping systems - including organic reduced tillage. Doug is also interested in soil variability across landscapes and biological indicators of soil quality.

Aaron Heinrich has a masters degree in soil science from UC Davis and has spent a decade conducting agricultural research for UC Cooperative Extension and OSU, primarily with vegetables and orchard crops. He has recently taken a job in the private sector conducting ag research.

 

Ferreting out Fraud and Securing Future Supplies

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

This workshop focuses on the tools and technologies to verify organic integrity throughout an increasingly complex supply chain. Panelists will discuss a variety of available and emerging mechanisms for preventing organic fraud, including Blockchain, organic-approved fumigation, and upgrades to electronic organic certificate management.


Speakers: John Saunders; Logan Peterman, Organic Valley; Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association

Speaker Bios

Logan Peterman From his roots growing up on an apple orchard in central Wisconsin, to his years working in the organic sector, Logan Peterman has sought to merge a background in Ecology, Statistics, and Research design to enhance and validate farmer intuition and organic on-farm management. At Organic Valley, Peterman applies his expertise by leveraging fresh insights to inform strategy and operational tactics for leaders at the farmer-owned cooperative.  His primary goal, is to validate member intuition regarding organic benefits, nutrition, and resilience, using the research expertise of peer-reviewed academics and private research institutions.   Improving nutrition, reducing externalities, and ensuring integrity of organic foods into the future.

Gwendolyn Wyard (Moderator) 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.

 

How to Walk the Path of Independence

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

You can’t fix a broken food system with a broken finance system. Conventional financing approaches can create misaligned short-term incentives, losing sight and focus on long-term social-environmental value generation. Panelists and attendees will engage and explore the emerging models of regenerative steward ownership and constructive capital financing that can protect the continuity of values-based operations and enable growth into the future.

Speakers: Kate Danaher; Ron McFall; Dan Fireside, Equal Exchange; Elizabeth Nardi, CEO Organically Grown Company; Natalie Reitman-White, Organically Grown Company

Speaker Bios

Natalie Reitman-White (Moderator) Vice President, Organically Grown Company, is a leading executive and change-maker sustainability, trade and policy advocacy, organizational development-- making the food supply greener, healthier and equitable. She founded several trade associations, and serves on numerous Boards throughout the organic food sector.  Most recently she has shifted her focus to transforming economies by advancing “steward-ownership” models of business ownership, finance, and governance. She now leads Organically Grown Consulting and is a co-founder of a new Foundation for Steward Ownership U.S. to support entrepreneurs and founders with resources for alternative ownership succession and business financing strategies that protect independence and mission for the long term.

Daniel Fireside is the Capital Coordinator at Equal Exchange, the worker co-operative that introduced Fair Trade food and beverages into the US in 1986. Daniel has raised nearly $10 million in mission-aligned investments and loans for the company and advises others on how to follow in Equal Exchange's footsteps. 

 

How should the organic community respond to modern breeding techniques?

Session III: 3:30pm - 5:00 pm

New technologies are changing our ability to develop new plant varieties, challenging the organic community to determine which methods are in line with organic principles and which should be excluded. The workshop explains techniques being discussed here in the US and internationally in the context of organic regulations, while panelists will lead attendees through diverse viewpoints on modern technologies to present pro and con arguments.

Speakers: Brian Baker, Belcairn Concerns, LLC; Michael Mazourek, Cornell University; Tom Willey, T & D Willey Farms; Kristina Hubbard from Organic Seed Alliance as moderator

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.


Kiki Hubbard (Moderator) is the director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. Kiki's work on seed policy spans fifteen years in the areas of antitrust, biotechnology, consolidation, intellectual property, and organic regulation. At OSA, Kiki leads efforts to promote policies and actions that advance organic seed systems that are democratic and just. She manages OSA's State of Organic Seed project and leads federal policy initiatives targeting Congress, federal agencies, and the National Organic Standards Board. Kiki lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and son.

Michael Mazourek is an Associate Professor of Vegetable Breeding at Cornell University and co-founder Row 7 Seeds.  Michael’s vegetable breeding program is focused on developing new cultivars of pea, squash, melon, cucumber, bean and pepper crop for organic farming systems.  This process of breeding new varieties through traditional methods of cross-pollination is informed by surveys of natural diversity and studies into the underlying genetic mechanisms.  His grower-driven traits focus on fungal and insect resistances in regionally adapted backgrounds to provide a reliable, productive harvest and reduce the need for pesticide applications.  His consumer-driven traits focus on color, quality, flavor and novelty to drive the consumption of naturally nutritious food. 

Tom Willey, with his wife Denesse, operated T&D Willey Farms from 1981 until 2016, a seventy-five-acre Certified Organic farm in Madera, California, growing a wide array of Mediterranean vegetables the year round. T&D Willey Farms produce was appreciated in specialty markets and fine restaurants up and down the U.S. West Coast as well as on the tables of over 800 weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription members in their own community. Tom was, for nearly a decade, Slow Food USA's governor for California's Central Valley and he passionately advocates for local food prominence through his writing, speaking, radio, and event organizing activities. His monthly "Down on the Farm" radio interview program features the work of progressive farmers and others prominent in San Joaquin Valley's agriculture and food communities. Tom has served over the years on the boards of directors of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and presently is a member of CCOF Certification Services’ five-person LLC Management Committee. He currently serves as a Policy Advisor to The Cornucopia Institute which monitors integrity of the U.S. organic industry.

 

A Better Future for the Organic Trade: Differentiation in the Age of Consolidation

Session III: 3:30pm - 5:00pm


Despite providing the volume and integrity required for market growth to date, loads of highly experienced organic growers work small and mid-sized ecologically balanced farms that will not fit into one-stop transactional models used by larger retailers and national chains. Natural foods distributors and retailers are challenged to focus on the growers who got us here and, must be included to move the “organic and beyond” agenda forward. This workshop will explore how a handful or successful retailers and wholesalers are differentiating themselves from their competitors through their best practices and strategies

Speakers: Daniel Arnett; Mike Boyle, Organically Grown Company; Karen Salinger, Veritable Vegetable; Susanna Schultz, Central Co-Op

Speaker Bios

Karen Salinger, a second-generation native to San Francisco, began her career in the produce industry in 1978.  Karen is currently  Co-Owner and Sales Director of Veritable Vegetable.  As an organic produce distributor with over 40 years of experience, Veritable Vegetable purchases, transports and supplies the highest quality organic fruits, vegetables and fresh perishables. Veritable Vegetable's Sales Department consists of a team of ten Account Managers who maintain over 400 accounts in six states.  The company keeps its green fleet of trucks on the road seven days a week, 365 days a year and distributes organic fruits and vegetables in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.  Veritable Vegetable builds an equitable food system by supporting organic farmers, increasing access to fresh produce, strengthening communities, and cultivating a fair and dynamic workplace. They are unique in their commitment to make every business decision based on core values. Veritable Vegetable is a certified B Corporation, using the power of business to solve social and environmental challenges.  In 2016, Veritable Vegetable was certified as a San Francisco Green Business.    

 Susanna Schultz heads the Marketing team at Central Co-op in Seattle, WA, a natural grocery co-op which celebrated its 40th year in 2018. In her years at Central Co-op the Co-op has updated owner benefits, launched two new websites, adopted an online ordering platform for home delivery, converted to a Solidarity Model of worker and consumer ownership, merged with the Tacoma Food Co-op, and implemented a better than $15/hr entry level wage - all of which has provided rich fodder for marketing, public relations and public affairs strategy. Susanna has just completed a Masters of Management in Cooperatives and Credit Unions at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. 

 

People Management on the Farm

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Running a successful farm business also depends on being an effective people manager. This workshop provides guidance and training for management and leadership skills that keep employees engaged and motivated. Geared towards farm business owners and managers, but applicable to businesses across the organic supply chain, attendees will learn to create a workplace built on clear expectations and open communication for optimal productivity and satisfaction.

Speakers: Tanya Murray, Oregon Tilth; Marguerite Svendsen  

Speaker Bios

Tanya Murray (Moderator) is an Organic Education Specialist at Oregon Tilth.  She has over 10 years of experience working on and managing organic vegetable farms. From 2003 thru 2012 she was part of the management team at Sauvie Island Organics, a Portland area CSA and direct market farm. Her current work is focused on developing and delivering programming that supports farm viability. Tanya has an MBA from Portland State University and bachelor’s degree in Education for Sustainable Agriculture from Prescott College.

Marguerite Svendsen is a management consultant with more than 15 years of experience scaling business operations, systems and teams worldwide. She has worked with businesses and non-profits of all sizes and shapes - from a two-person start-up in the Canary Islands to an multinational oil company in Norway. She moved to Portland three years ago and currently works with Propeller Consulting, focusing in particular on projects related to employee engagement and change management initiatives. 

 

Private Sector Solutions to Increasing Organic Seed Usage

Session III: 3:30pm - 5:00pm

The availability of organic seed and planting stock has dramatically increased, yet further improvement is needed. From improving regulatory frameworks to strengthen and clarify organic seed requirements to increased investments in research, education, and resources, this interactive workshop explores private sector solutions to expanding organic seed usage. Panelists will focus on how to develop the relationship and commitment between organic food processors, growers, and seed providers.

Speakers: Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds; Logan Peterman, Organic Valley; Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association; Kelly Abbott

Speaker Bios

Kelly Abbott is the Technical Supervisor for the Farm and Livestock program at Oregon Tilth. She has worked in the organic certification industry for 19 years and currently serves on the Board for the Accredited Certifiers Association. She is committed to the transparency of certification and the integrity of the organic seal. She believes in a lifelong commitment to healthier people and a healthier planet through sustainable farming practices. 

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.

Logan Peterman From his roots growing up on an apple orchard in central Wisconsin, to his years working in the organic sector, Logan Peterman has sought to merge a background in Ecology, Statistics, and Research design to enhance and validate farmer intuition and organic on-farm management. At Organic Valley, Peterman applies his expertise by leveraging fresh insights to inform strategy and operational tactics for leaders at the farmer-owned cooperative.  His primary goal, is to validate member intuition regarding organic benefits, nutrition, and resilience, using the research expertise of peer-reviewed academics and private research institutions.   Improving nutrition, reducing externalities, and ensuring integrity of organic foods into the future.

Gwendolyn Wyard (Moderator) 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.


 

A for Effort: Are Our Sustainable Packaging Efforts Creating a Positive Impact?

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Sustainable Packaging

A panel of experts and organic food companies discuss sustainable packaging trends in the organic food trade. The workshop provides context to what sustainable packaging means and how to judge its sustainability. With demonstrations of emerging sustainable packaging products, panelists will speak to the challenges and successes they have had working with key supply chain partners to implement new packaging choices, social and environmental impacts, and the costs embedded when doing so.

Speakers: David Allaway, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; Reyna Bryan; Athena Petty, New Seasons Market; Gary Robinson, Synaptic Packaging; Myla Holmes; Tia Ross; Lisa Spicka, Sustainable Food Trade Association

Speaker Bios

David Allaway is a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management Program. Since 1989, he has helped hundreds of businesses and communities reduce the environmental impacts of materials and wastes. David led efforts to develop and update the nation’s first sub-national consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions inventory, served as an invited science advisor to Wal-Mart’s Packaging Sustainable Value Network, and served as an advisor to Paul Hawken’s Project DrawdownA member of the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum’s leadership team, David has a B.A. in physics from Carleton College.

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.

Gary Robinson is an advisor to start-up firms helping them commercialize novel technologies that will advance packaging sustainability.  From building solutions for global systemic issues, to finding micro keys to unlock new markets - Gary focuses on advancing disruptive innovations.  Gary has 25 years in leadership with major brands such as The Home Depot, Kraft Foods, Newell Rubbermaid, and Amway R&D.  In a consulting capacity Gary has also advanced major programs for some of the largest quick service restaurant chains and consumer brands that you know and love.  In one sentence, Gary believes the key to success for disruptive innovation lies in Synaptic Connections.  That is the ability to project forward trajectories and accelerate the connection of converging adjacencies.

 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. 

 

Labor Challenges: An on Farm PErspective

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00 pm

Changing immigration dynamics and policies have intensified the farm labor shortage, with special challenges for labor-intensive organic farms. This workshop will feature a timely discussion of the issue and its implications for the organic sector. Hear from farmers about the realities of labor shortages, impacts on their farms and innovative strategies for managing this challenging time.

Speakers: Ray DeVries, Ralph's Greenhouse; Levi Fredrikson, Oregon Tilth; Laura Masterson, 47th Avenue Farm; Ramon Ramirez

Speaker Bios

Ray de Vries was born in 1952 in Friesland, the Netherlands. His family immigrated to the United States in 1958. In 1960, the family moved to west Mount Vernon where they dairy farmed for 20 years. Ray never had much interest in farming, so he went to school and studied shop. After finishing school, he wanted to see the world so he moved to Iowa and taught shop for three years. In 1979, Ray returned to the Skagit Valley to help his dad retire, and the next eight years were spent doing construction work. In 1988, Ray started helping his dad Ralph with his out-of-control retirement vegetable garden. Since then, he’s been farming organically-grown vegetables such as leeks, carrots, beets, and other cold-weather crops that grow so well in the Skagit Valley. With the help of a number of good people, the farming continues to this day.

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.

Laura Masterson is a fresh market vegetable farmer with over 20 years of experience. She started the 47th Avenue Farm in 1996 on a double lot in Portland to grow tasty local veggies for her friends & neighbors. Fast forward two decades and her passion for growing the best possible produce has expanded to include 50 acres of production in 3 counties. Described in the local press as an "Urban Über-Farmer," Laura's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is one of the oldest in Oregon. The 47th Ave Farm currently feeds over 200 families year-round and provides produce to award winning local restaurants in the Portland Metro region.  She was appointed by the Governor to the Oregon State Board of Agriculture where she served from 2010 - 2018. This board advises the Oregon Department of Agriculture on policy & develops recommendations on key agricultural issues across the state. Laura was the first CSA farmer to ever serve on this board and her perspective – that of a small, first generation, direct to market producer – gave voice to a rising tide of similar new farmers across the state.

Ramon Ramirez is a founding member of PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union, and a movement elder in Alianza Poder, formerly known as the CAPACES Network, Ramon  served as President in April 1997- November 2018. Ramon serves on the Board of Director's of the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, Center for Social Inclusion, Farmworker Justice, Alliance for a Just Society and the United Farmworkers of America Foundation. Ramon is an advisor on free trade to US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. Ramon is currently involved nationally and internationally in the efforts to obtain a legalization program. Ramon works with Fair Immigration Reform Movement, FIRM through the Immigration Organizing Committee of the Center for Community Change. The coalition leading the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.Ramon was awarded the 2003 Leadership for a Changing World by the Ford Foundation, The Jeannette Rankin Award and is a Alston/Bannerman Fellow. Ramon was awarded the 2009 UTNE Reader 50 Visionarionaries of the World Award and recently was chosen Latino Hero of the Year by Regency of Oregon.  

 

The Power of People and Plant BReeding

Session I: 10:00am - 11:30 am

What if you could have crop varieties that were made just for your farm, your processing line or your restaurant menu? Participatory plant breeding is a powerful tool to leverage the unique strengths of farmers, plant breeders, chefs, processors, and others to develop new plant varieties. In this workshop, panelists will share inspiring stories of crowd-sourced varieties and participants will gain resources and learn the basics — from expectation setting to intellectual property management — of the best practices of participatory plant breeding.

Speakers: Michael Mazourek, Cornell University; Edmund Frost; Aaron Varadi, Organic Farm School; Don Tipping, Siskiyou Seeds; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance

Speaker Bios

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. 

Michael Mazourek is an Associate Professor of Vegetable Breeding at Cornell University and co-founder Row 7 Seeds.  Michael’s vegetable breeding program is focused on developing new cultivars of pea, squash, melon, cucumber, bean and pepper crop for organic farming systems.  This process of breeding new varieties through traditional methods of cross-pollination is informed by surveys of natural diversity and studies into the underlying genetic mechanisms.  His grower-driven traits focus on fungal and insect resistances in regionally adapted backgrounds to provide a reliable, productive harvest and reduce the need for pesticide applications.  His consumer-driven traits focus on color, quality, flavor and novelty to drive the consumption of naturally nutritious food. 

Aaron Varadi is the Program Manager and Lead Instructor at the Organic Farm School (OFS) on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington, where he and a yearly class of farm managers-in-training produce vegetables for farmers market, CSA, and direct-to-retail sales.  In addition, he and the OFS crew grow a wide variety of vegetable seed crops on contract for seed companies, and participate in and conduct their own vegetable breeding projects.  He's been growing commercial vegetable seed for the past ten years.

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.  

 

Financing Your Farm: Combining finance tools for starting and growing an operation

Session I: 10:00am - 12:00pm

With the high costs of farmland and unpredictable, slim margins in agriculture, it’s increasingly challenging for farmers to get financing and make payments on loans for land and expansion. Learn from NW Farm Credit Service, Farm Service Agency, and impact investment groups that invest in farmland for farmer ownership and organic production, and hear from the Small Business Development Center about their services and how to combine them to meet your needs. The workshop will also cover how working land conservation easements can complement financing to reduce purchase price and generate liquidity.

Speakers: Noah Brockman; Andrea Krahmer; Alex Mackay, Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT; Nellie McAdams, Rogue Farm Corps; Scott Neiman

Speaker Bios

Noah Brockman leads OSBDCN’s Capital Access Team (CAT), the group that provides strategic business advising to SBDC clients on funding, business planning and financial analysis. Since 2008 Noah has worked with hundreds of business owners helping to secure over $30 million dollars in funding.

Andrea Krahmer grew up on a small, part time farm in Banks, Oregon, and received her Bachelor’s degree in agriculture business management from Oregon State University on the Eastern Oregon University campus.  She joined Northwest FCS after graduating college in 2003 and is a Relationship Manager working with the AgVision loan program financing specifically young, beginning and small producers with a focus on providing guidance and educational information to customers.  Andrea and her husband Scott have two children, Hanna age 12 and Mason age 9 that are active in 4-H and several sports.

Alex Mackay is the Director of Business Development and Investor Relations for Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, an organic farmland Real Estate Investment Trust that raises money from individual private investors to offer land access to independent farmers who want to establish or expand organic farms. Although Iroquois Valley Farms is based in Chicago, the company has relationships with more than 50 farmers in 14 states around the Country (including as far West as Montana). Iroquois Valley Farms is motivated to partner with farmers in the Pacific Northwest that might not otherwise find land financing through traditional methods. Alex's primary focus at Iroquois Valley is raising new capital and keeping existing investors informed and happy. A longtime enthusiast for delicious, sustainable food, Alex was drawn to the Company for its ability to make significant impact through a scalable, for-profit model. Prior to working in finance, Alex had a wide variety of hands-on experiences in food at the farm, wholesale and retail levels.  Alex received his BA in History from Columbia University and his MBA from Babson College. 

Nellie McAdams (Moderator) The 3rd generation on her family hazelnut farm, Nellie McAdams, is also an attorney and the Farm Preservation Program Director at the Oregon 501(c)(3) nonprofit Rogue Farm Corps, where she collaborates with partner organizations to assist Oregon farmers and ranchers with the intergenerational transfer of their business and land, and preserve the state’s agricultural land base.

Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: A Generative Dialogue (part 1)

Session I and continuing during Session II

Friday 1:30pm-5pm

Note: This workshop has two parts and attendees should come prepared to partake in both:

  • Part 1: Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: A Generative Dialogue -Friday 1:30pm-5pm)

  • Part 2: Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: Pro-action Cafe - Saturday 9am-12pm)

Mainstreaming. Consolidation. Uncertainty. As an industry stakeholder, do you relate to these themes and sentiments? What is your perspective and experience? And most importantly, how do you think we as a industry can tackle the challenges we face? The Conscious Brands approach is to bring together a diverse group of industry leaders to have a dialogue around what it means to co-create a solution. This multi-session, two-day workshop (two sessions on Friday, one on Saturday) is for the leaders, the visionaries, the ones that are committed to using business to make the future better. A collaborative session, attendees will engage in big-picture conversations with big-picture thinkers to learn and share on what is next for our industry.


Facilitators: Rob Sinclair - Founder and Conscious Business Catalyst (Conscious Brands); Drew Katz, Transition Services Coordinator (Oregon Tilth)


Questions about this session?: Email Drew Katz at drew@tilth.org

Speaker Bios

Drew Katz is Oregon Tilth’s Transition Services Coordinator and provides organic outreach and education to farmers, processors, and agriculture service providers throughout the US.  Drew coordinates Oregon Tilth’s Farmer to Farmer Organic Mentorship Program, Organic Webinar Series, and annual Buyer/Grower Networking Events.

Rob Sinclair is the founder of Conscious Brands, and strongly believes in the maxim that “clarity comes through engagement not thought.” This is a guiding principle in his life. Rob’s passion for business has found him at the pioneering phase of many new and exciting industries, including the Internet and IT industry in Calgary, self-producing a traveling, internet-based vegan cooking show, and becoming president and owner of an organic food manufacturing company called Friendly Foods. He now uses that experience to help businesses grow and thrive by showing them the inherent value of taking their economic, human and natural capital into account, and working with all of those resources. He believes that there can’t be sustainability without collaboration, and there can’t be culture without community.

Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: Pro-action Cafe (Part 2)

Saturday 9am-12pm

What if we could leverage the collective talent and ideas of attendees at Organicology 2019 to create, improve, and work on actual projects in actual organizations and communities across the industry? What if you could bring the idea you’ve been working on and get focused coaching from the brilliant minds who will be at the conference?  What if you came to a learning conference and left with concrete action steps informed by that learning?

 This year we will spending our final plenary session in a Pro Action Cafe - a rapid design and peer coaching process that helps accelerate ideas using the talent that’s in the room.  Up to a quarter of the participants at Organicology will have an opportunity to work on their projects in a collaborative and dynamic process. Think about the work you are doing, questions you have, places you are stuck,  and imagine what would be possible if fellow attendees spent some time to help you move. You’ll have a chance to do that in Portland.

 This is a follow up session for attendees that participated in to Co-Discovering What is Next For Our Industry: A Generative Dialogue, although all are welcome!

Facilitators: Rob Sinclair - Founder and Conscious Business Catalyst (Conscious Brands); Drew Katz, Transition Services Coordinator (Oregon Tilth)


Questions about this session?: Email Drew Katz at drew@tilth.org

Note: This workshop has two parts and attendees should come prepared to partake in both:

  • Part 1: Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: A Generative Dialogue -Friday 1:30pm-5pm)

  • Part 2: Co-Discovering What is Next For our Industry: Pro-action Cafe - Saturday 9am-12pm)

Speaker Bios

Drew Katz is Oregon Tilth’s Transition Services Coordinator and provides organic outreach and education to farmers, processors, and agriculture service providers throughout the US.  Drew coordinates Oregon Tilth’s Farmer to Farmer Organic Mentorship Program, Organic Webinar Series, and annual Buyer/Grower Networking Events.

Rob Sinclair is the founder of Conscious Brands, and strongly believes in the maxim that “clarity comes through engagement not thought.” This is a guiding principle in his life. Rob’s passion for business has found him at the pioneering phase of many new and exciting industries, including the Internet and IT industry in Calgary, self-producing a traveling, internet-based vegan cooking show, and becoming president and owner of an organic food manufacturing company called Friendly Foods. He now uses that experience to help businesses grow and thrive by showing them the inherent value of taking their economic, human and natural capital into account, and working with all of those resources. He believes that there can’t be sustainability without collaboration, and there can’t be culture without community.