Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Bellingham Technical College


Find Local Products. Connect to Buyers. Get Inspired! The Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting is NW Washington’s premier FOOD & FARM BIZ CONFERENCE. We bring together 180+ farmers, fishers, chefs, grocery buyers, food artisans, processors, and distributors for one day filled with valuable networking and connection opportunities, cutting-edge educational workshops, a vibrant expo, one-on-one producer/buyer consultations, and the ever-delicious 7-course locally-sourced lunch prepared by the BTC Culinary Arts Program and the NW WA Chefs Collective. Best networking event of the year! El servicio de traducción en Español disponible (Spanish translation services are available).


Big thanks to everyone who was a part of the day!

It was one of our best Trade Meetings yet. Find presenter slides and presentation videos in the agenda below.


9:00-9:15 Welcome

9:15-10:00 Keynote Address – The State of Farmland

Hannah Clark, Pacific Northwest Director of the American Farmland Trust

Farmland is the fabric of our food system. Join American Farmland Trust’s Hannah Clark as she helps us kick off the day with a fascinating overview of the state of farmland in our region. She’ll explore the work that’s being done to keep families farming, and how “Eating Local First” and supporting local farmers helps keep farms and rural communities viable for generations to come.

Hannah’s slides
Video of Hannah’s presentation (coming soon!)

10:00-10:45 Speed Networking

Our speed networking session is consistently rated a favorite at the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting.

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:00 Morning Workshops

A. Emotionally Intelligent Customer Service

Mark Mulcahy, Organic Options
Emotional intelligence is the foundation of great business and stellar customer service. And contrary to popular belief, in the business world of all the skills that one can gain or be taught empathy is one of the most important. Is this reflected in your daily interactions with your customers and your staff? Come learn some tools for building the customer service you can be proud of and your customers will come back for over and over again.

Mark’s Slides
Video of Mark’s presentation (coming soon)

B. Scaling Up Your Business

Asche Rider, Small Business Development Center
So you want to scale up? Where do you start? Join the Small Business Development Center’s Business Advisor Asche Rider as she outlines the strategic considerations and benchmarks businesses should keep in mind when considering scaling up, including capital, capacity, systems, labor and more. Leave this exploratory session with the information you need to best analyze growth opportunities in your business and how to map out the next steps.

Asche’s slides
Audio of Asche’s presentation (coming soon!)

C. Buying & Selling for Wholesale Markets – A New Vision

Jeff Voltz, Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Tom & Cheryl Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
Steven Erbe, Aramark at Western Washington University

Sustainable Connections, Northwest Agriculture Business Center, and Cloud Mountain Farm Center are working on a specialty crop block grant that will support farms in scaling-up to capture and increase wholesale sales.

Workshop slides
Video of workshop (coming soon!)

We know crop planning, packaging, marketing, and getting your product from farm to market can be a challenging enterprise. Hear the outcomes of a producer/buyer cohort, working to develop solutions to help farmers grow, and making it easy for wholesale buyers across the region to purchase more local products. Learn more about best practices for buying or selling local food in the wholesale marketplace, what’s needed, what buyers want, and how to get involved.

12:00-1:15 Lunch!

It’s baaack, the popular 7 course buffet-style lunch created by the skilled hands of Chefs Collective Chefs and BTC Culinary Arts students, all using the freshest local ingredients from our talented farmers, fishermen and food artisans.

1:15-2:30 Afternoon Session – Building Your Team By Living your Values

Mark Mulcahy, Organic Options

Your businesses’ mission is based around solid values: local, sustainable, family-owned, from scratch. Though your leadership team is on board, the rest of your staff may not be engaged or aligned. You go above and beyond to produce quality sustainable products or source from local farmers, but your customers might be left in the dark. Sound familiar? How do you build a brand that your customers trust AND empowers your team?

Learn how institutionalizing your businesses’ values and creating team buy-in will support your efforts in ways that will set your business up for success. Spend the afternoon with Mark Mulcahy of Organic Options in this interactive session, and learn how to build a brand that you and your staff lives, breathes, and owns.

Mark’s Slides
Video of Mark’s presentation (coming soon!)

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-4:00 One-on-One Producer/Buyer Consultations

Get out your products, pull out your business cards – this is the highlight of the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting – and this year with a NEW format! We’ll set up a long table with buyers on one side and producers on the other. We will rotate through the line in 5-minute segments and have a chance to meet many producers and buyers to grow new connections.


2:45-4:00 Eat Local First Campaign Roundtable discussion

Eat Local First: Sharing best practices & growing the campaign in your organization or business.

4:00 – 5:00 Tasting Reception

Join us at BTC’s Café Culinaire for a delicious reception full of sips, snacks, and more great networking opportunities.


$45  Early Bird Members / $55 Early Bird Non-Members (before Jan 18th)
$60 Members General admission/ $70 Non-Members General Admission

Vendor Tables are sold out. We can’t wait for the expo!

Thank You to Our 2019 Sponsors!

Underwriting Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors

This event takes place at an accessible location. Sign language interpreters, assisted listening devices, and communication in alternative formats are available upon request one week prior to the event; please contact abbie@sustainableconnections.org if you desire these accommodations.

By attending a Sustainable Connections event, you are agreeing to our Events Code of Conduct.