2017 Bi-National Domestic Fair Trade Association Conference
Linking Up: Creating Fair and Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains
When there is so much wrong with our food system–corporate control and monopolization, abundance of unhealthy food and unsustainable production practices, unfair pricing for farmers, low wages and dangerous conditions for food and farm workers–it can be hard to believe that any other way of agricultural production is possible.
This year, the Domestic Fair Trade Association is hosting a conference with the theme Linking Up: Creating Fair and Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains in order to remind us that there are alternatives to our current food system and to inspire us to truly believe that these alternatives can become the norm. Experts will gather to share concrete strategies and best practices for how all the sectors in our food system can work together to develop a vision for agricultural production that is based on health, sustainability, and justice.
The first day will center on tours highlighting domestic fair trade businesses and organizations in the Atlanta metro area. These tours will bring awareness to local businesses and organizations that are committed to domestic fair trade principles. Many of our past annual meeting attendees have found these tours to be instrumental in creating new connections and sparking fresh ideas of how to improve local, regional, and national food and agricultural systems.
Georgia Organics/Turnip Truck Developed by its members, Georgia Organics leads the state in strengthening and building sustainable farms. Georgia Organics will talk about its partnership with Global Growers, a nonprofit organization committed to giving access to agriculture opportunities for local refugees. They will also highlight their work with SAAFON (Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network to promote production of organic peanuts in Southeast Georgia. Attendees will have a chance to tour the Turnip Truck, an independent distributor, and meet Michael Schneck, the founder and COO. This is a unique chance to learn about the challenges and successes of delivering fresh produce directly from farms to restaurants, schools, and institutions, and about how Turnip Truck eliminates the farmers’ stress of finding markets for their produce.
Truly Living Well As a nationally recognized leader in natural urban agriculture, Truly Living Well (TLW) strives to connect people with the land through education, training, and demonstration of economic success. Some of their programs include farm training, garden installation, and youth education. Attendees will receive a tour of the garden and hear from TLW’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Rashid Nuri. We’ll eat lunch with produce sourced directly from TLW’s urban farm!
Emory University Compared to other colleges nationwide, Emory University is a leader in implementing sustainability initiatives. In order to support environmental health, worker welfare and wages, and farm viability, Emory has set the ambitious goal of including 75 percent local or sustainably grown food in its hospitals and cafeterias by 2025. On this tour, you’ll see Emory’s dining hall and educational garden. You’ll also learn about Emory’s standard process and sustainable food criteria, the shift from fast food to local restaurants in the food court, Emory’s minimum wage, sustainable food educational efforts, and more.
The second day of the conference will include an inspiring keynote speech, 8 educational panels and workshops, and ample opportunities for networking. In the evening, we will host a party to commemorate the winner of our 2nd Annual Domestic Fair Trade Award.
Paula Daniels is co- founder and Chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a social enterprise non-profit founded in July of 2015 as a national spin off from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which Paula founded in 2011. Paula was also Executive Director of California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative. She is a public policy leader in environmental food and water policy, with recognition through academic appointments and other awards. Some recent examples: September 2016, Resident Fellow of the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation; 2015, Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; 2013, Lee Chair in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley; 2012-2013, Stanton Fellowship (awarded by the Durfee Foundation). She has also had academic appointments at USC and Vermont Law School.
Building on a successful career as an attorney in civil litigation, she served as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner (a full-time position overseeing the Department of Public Works) and then Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. She has also been a commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority. She was an appointee of Governor Brown to the California Water Commission, and served in his Office of Planning and Research as Senior Fellow for Food Systems, Water, and Climate.
Panels and Workshops
To facilitate cross-sector education we have planned 8 exciting sessions filled with farmers, farmworkers, activists, and academics from across the country. Panels and workshops will range in topics from climate change, fair trade certification, racial justice, marketing and communication, and workers rights. Stay tuned for our full program.
Food Chain Innovation: Re-Imagining the Commons of Agricultural Pathways
Following our keynote speech, conference attendees will hear from experts who are delivering proof of concept food innovations to the marketplace, including brick and mortar prototypes in full operation. This panel will be led by Kwabena Nkromo from Atlanta Food & Farm. We will hear from Judith Winfrey from Peach Dish, Ahzjah Simons from Sevananda Natural Foods Market, and Latron Price from American Sales and Distribution Services, Inc.
Afternoon Film Screening and Talk
It is impossible to create fair and sustainable agricultural supply chains without addressing the racist origins of agriculture in this country and without acknowledging that this legacy still persists today. Shirley Sherrod, the executive director of the Southwest Georgia Project, will present a short film, Arc of Justice, which focuses on New Communities, Inc. and the struggle to maintain African-American ownership of farmland. Following the film screening, Mrs. Sherrod will discuss black land loss, the connection between civil rights and food justice, and the importance of racial justice in creating fair and sustainable agricultural supply chains.
More about Shirley Sherrod
Shirley Sherrod is co-founder and Executive Director for the Southwest Georgia Project. She is a graduate of Albany State University with a degree in Sociology and has a Master’s degree in Community Development from Antioch University. Mrs. Sherrod is a former Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture.
She became the subject of a controversy when edited remarks were used to force her to resign. However, upon review of the complete unedited video in full context, the NAACP, White House officials, and Tom Vilsack, and the United States Secretary of Agriculture; apologized for the firing and Sherrod was offered a new position. She currently serves on the boards of Rural Advancement Foundation International, Rural Development Leadership Network and the Albany Chamber of Commerce.
Other featured conference speakers include:
- Christina Spach, Food Chain Workers Alliance
- Magaly Licolli, Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center
- Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Farmers Union
- Ryan Saunders, Labor for Sustainability
- Michelle Miller, University of Wisconsin, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
- Joann Lo, Food Chain Workers Alliance
- Kelly Maynard, University of Wisconsin, Center for Cooperatives
- Eric Simpson, West Georgia Farmers Co-op
- Matthew Epperson, Daily Groceries Co-op & Georgia Cooperative Development Center
- Cullen “Slim” Brown, Feed the People Farms
Click here for the conference agenda.
Click here for the conference program.
Thank You to Our Conference Planning Committee!
- Joann Lo, Food Chain Workers Alliance
- Kelly Maynard, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
- Marty Mesh, Florida Organic Growers
- Meg Kennedy, Central Co-op
- Ben Burkett, Federation of Southern Cooperatives