Learn about local food systems. Make farm and market connections.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Join us from anywhere with internet access!
Join Sustainable Connections, Seattle Good Business Network, and Business Impact NW for the Puget Sound’s premier food & farming biz conference.
Like many events this year, the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting will look a little different! Even as we gather virtually from our homes and offices, you can expect a fun and engaging opportunity to connect with your friends and colleagues for learning, sharing, and making market connections.
We have partnered with the Seattle Good Business Network and Business Impact NW to make our local Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting a special regional event during Food Biz Week. Your registration will not only include access to our half-day programming lineup, but also the option to attend any Food Biz Week session and networking event.
Scholarship opportunities are available, please see below.
All presentations will have both English and Spanish closed captioning available. There will be both English and Spanish transcripts of the Trade Meeting once the event is complete.
We have partnered with Business Impact NW, Gourmondo, and Seattle Good Business Network to share with you tasting boxes that highlight samples from 41 food producers from all over our region to enjoy during this year’s virtual annual Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting.
Boxes will be delivered by Monday, February 22, 2021 so that you can connect with the featured producers virtually and learn more about each box as you taste their products from home.
The order deadline has now passed. Thank you to everyone who ordered!
We are offering scholarships to a limited number of people who wish to come to the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting for free. Sustainable Connections believes that communities thrive with the inclusion of all people and want to bring visibility to those who enrich our community. We will prioritize applicants based on these traits:
- People of color
- Indigenous persons and / or First Nations persons
- People with disabilities
- People who identify as LGBTQ+
- People who are 55 years-old or older
- People who are currently unemployed / underemployed
- People experiencing temporary financial hardship
- Full-time students
The scholarship application window has closed. Please email Rhys Hansen, Food & Farming Program Manager, if you are seeking financial assistance for this event.
Keynote Panel: Imagining a Just Food Recovery
A conversation with:
Adasha Turner, Modest Family Solutions
Tarik Abdullah, Feed the People
Brandon Revey, Revey Diesel & Marine
The confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and mass anti-racist movement in 2020 brought historic racial inequities in the food system into sharp relief, from disparities in farmland ownership, wealth, resources, and food acess to labor rights and protections and to control over a community’s food supply. The total disruption of the food system and focus on who within it is essential have exacerbated these inequities and also created an opportunity to re-envision these structures through our recovery into a more just food system. This panel will be a conversation between three local leaders in our regional food system, working in commercial fishing, youth education, agroecology, and food access. Each will offer their reflections and insights on the opportunities they see to re-build our foodsheds with care for equity, people, and planet.
Small Group Networking
Come ready to share about your organization and what connections you are looking to make! Mirroring previous programs “round-table” style networking, we will use Zoom breakout rooms to organize several rounds of small group conversations and connections.
Breakout Sessions #1, choose between:
Food Systems Resiliency: Insights from Regional Food Hubs
Andrew Yokom, Puget Sound Food Hub
Sarah Pope, San Juan Islands Food Hub
Kyle Flack, Whidbey Island Food Hub
Austin Becker, Farmstand Local Foods
The pandemic accelerated a lot of local food systems projects- and Food Hubs are one of the best examples of this! We are bringing together representatives from 4 of our regional food hubs to share their insights and lessons in local food resiliency.
Leveraging Technology in the Food System
Mariah DeLeo, Seattle Good Business Network
Sheryl Wiser, Eat Local First Collaborative & Tilth Alliance
Micha Ide, Eat Local First Collaborative & Pierce Country Fresh
Elliott Smith, Kitchen Sync Strategies
Technological advances over the past years have created the opportunity for improved collaboration within regional food systems and more ways to market to larger audiences, allowing smaller businesses to compete and grow their market share. Over the past year, these tools became more important than ever with the shift toward virtual connections and consumer shifts online. Learn about the new tools helping connect food and farm businesses to each other, to their customers, and to larger institutional markets. Bring your questions and ideas, and provide feedback on what tools you need to help your business thrive and help shape the tools of the future.
Breakout Sessions #2, choose between:
Scaling Up for Wholesale Production: A Case Study in Cooperative Crop Planning
Jeff Voltz, Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Cheryl Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
Brent Chambers, Haggen
Nick Spring, Spring Time Farm
From crop planning to packaging to marketing, getting your product from farm to market can be a challenging enterprise. A pilot market & crop planning project is linking specialty crop producers with the tools, assistance, and relationships that can support their successful entry or expansion of wholesale sales in Northwest Washington. Sustainable Connections in partnership with Northwest Agriculture Business Center and Cloud Mountain Farm Center have created a cohort of wholesale buyers and farmers working together to help farms scale up to capture and increase wholesale sales. Focusing in on 10 key crops, the team is working on sharing best practices on growing, harvesting & packaging these crops for wholesale, and syncing up products with buyers through forward agreements. Hear from project leads and participants about their experiences developing a program to support more local food reaching our plates through cooperative crop planning and marketing in the wholesale market. Learn more about best practices for buying or selling local food in the wholesale marketplace, what’s needed, what buyers want, and how we can grow this model across the state.
Market Trends in Response to COVID-19
Dr. Jennifer Otten, University of Washington
Dr. Sarah Collier, University of Washington
Scott Owen, PCC Community Markets
Kevin Haggerty, Oxbow Farm
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every sector of the local food system, creating widespread instability in producer markets and food access at the consumer level. We’ll hear from two UW researchers about recent survey projects that explore the impacts on farms and ranches in Washington State and the recent changes experienced by households in food access pathways, the types of foods acquired, food insecurity and economic well-being. We’ll then discuss how members of the farming community and grocery sector have adapted to these market shifts and, going forward, what options and opportunities exist for food and farm businesses to find new market channels to provide local food to all Washingtonians.
Breakout Sessions #3, choose between:
This is a highlight of the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting each year! Adapted for digital meeting space, our meetups will use Zoom breakout rooms to maximize the buyer and producer connections. Past attendees reported an average of 6 new sales connections as a result of the event, and the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting in total generates $500,000+ in new sales each year.
Just Food Recovery Interactive Session
Rhys–Thorvald Hansen, Sustainable Connections
Brenda Bentley, Community to Community Development
What could possibly go right? As food system professionals, each of us have a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities that lay in front of us. Drawing on inspiration from the event keynote, this session will take participants through a series of creative solo and small group exercies to distill your vision for the future of our food system, and identifying steps we can each take to enact it. Please have paper and a writing utensil.
KEYNOTE PANEL: IMAGINING A JUST FOOD RECOVERY
Adasha Turner, she / hers / nubian
Modest Family Solutions
Founder of Modest Family Solutions and Ummah Sustained Institute in Everett, Wa . Our Mission to Diversifying Natural Resources Announce a 2021 Youth Agroecology Program that offers a Village Schooling approach to K-8. Guided exploration in action-based studies, an intuit design to nurture spiritual grounding in stewardship as global citizens. Ummah Sustained unique teaching method of the S.H.A.D.A.H.A.D.A. Social emotional Healing Afrocentric Horticulture Action based Differentiated Instruction Around Oneness/ AHAD model leans education towards economic, environmental, social and food justice awareness.
Tarik Abdullah, he / him / his
Chef, Feed the People
Meet Tarik Abdullah, founder of Feed The People, chef, and community activist. This Seattle native has been cooking for 20 plus years between Los Angeles and his hometown the “Evergreen” state. Growing up in a community of various cultures spanning from the Middle East, South east Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean, spices have always been the inspiration of his cooking while the passion and “hard work” ethic came from his parents. Through his love for food, he has brought communities together with his platforms such Midnight Mecca and After Dark ,but also incorporating youth by giving them opportunities through food. He has also garnered media attention throughout the US from his project Guide to Washington with Vice,to 2018 Mayor’s Art Award Winner for his continued community work.As of right now his latest project Feed the People Community Kitchen ,offering free meals for those in need or anyone during the Covid-19 pandemic, along with other local chefs they have formed the Seattle Community Kitchen Collective producing free meals for the last 9 weeks.
Fisherman, Revey Diesel & Marine
Brandon is a commerical fisherman working off the coast of Northwest Washington state.
FOOD SYSTEMS RESILIENCY: INSIGHTS FROM REGIONAL FOOD HUBS
Andrew Yokom, he / him / his
Puget Sound Food Hub
Andrew Yokom is the General Manager of the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative (PSFHC). The mission of the PSFHC is to support and champion local, family scale farms by providing a direct connection with buyers in our region seeking high quality, locally produced food. Andrew grew up outside of Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Andrew is dedicated to building a resilient and regenerative food system that is focused on expanding local capacity through decentralization and community-based investment.
Sarah Pope, she / her / hers
Market Manager, San Juan Islands Food Hub
Sarah has served as Market Manager for the San Juan Islands Food Hub since its launch as a direct-to-customer market in April 2020. She grew up on San Juan Island and returned with her family to take up stewardship of a sheep farm in 2016. She is chair of the San Juan Islands Ag Guild and is increasingly passionate about developing resilient foodways in the islands that support farmers while increasing equitable access to locally grown meats and produce.
Kyle Flack, he / him / his
Whidbey Island Grown Cooperative Board President, Whidbey Island Food Hub
Kyle Flack is the co-owner and operator of Bell’s Farm on Whidbey Island and the Board President for the Whidbey Island Grown Cooperative. Kyle grew up on Whidbey Island but has travelled the world with the United States Army. After serving as an active duty infantryman and an army reservist he is now a full time farmer. Kyle believes in the importance of regenerative agriculture and has turned a multigenerational conventional farm into a diversified farm which uses organic and regenerative practices which embrace the natural ways in which animals, plants, and soils must work together to create a healthy environment. Kyle is also a founding member of the Whidbey Island Grown Cooperative, a multi stakeholder cooperative which launched a retail Food Hub in 2020 and a Buy’s Club in 2021.
Austin Becker, he / him / his
Owner / Operator, Farmstand Local Foods
Austin has been focused on creating rewarding sales relationships between farmers and chefs/wholesale food buyers in the PNW for nearly a decade. Austin discovered his passion for sustainable agriculture and resilient food chains while attending the University of Wisconsin; he subsequently worked to grow a small produce and livestock farm in meat-and-potato (and cheese) friendly Green Bay, WI, where he was first exposed to wholesale restaurant accounts. Prior to Farmstand Local Foods, he gained experience in the progressive Seattle marketplace by helping to build an urban logistics system and heightened demand for NW Washington grown products during the early development of the Puget Sound Food Hub. Austin continues to seek opportunities to bridge rural-urban and producer-consumer communities, and is inspired by opportunities to link local food hubs across an expanded regional basis.
LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY IN THE FOOD SYSTEM
Mariah DeLeo, she / her / hers
Seattle Good Business Network
Mariah DeLeo is the Good Food Economy Program Manager at Seattle Good Business Network. She comes to the role with over 20 years experience in food and sustainability, with leadership roles at Marlene’s Market & Deli, the Puget Sound’s first natural foods grocery store, and as the Washington State Market Director at Chinook Book, building a network of businesses committed to shared values of environmental and social responsibility. There she co-founded the Heart of Seattle Awards to celebrate sustainable achievement for local retail and service businesses.
In 2020, she helped establish the Good Food Economy program, where she seeks to connect and strengthen the community network of regional food system stakeholders to create a sustainable, resilient, and just local food economy. Programs and initiatives she co-created include Good Food Forum, an online platform connecting regional food system stakeholders, and Good Food Kitchens, a program that funds restaurants to provide meals to community members in need while supporting local farms and producers.
Sheryl Wiser, she / her / hers
Eat Local First Collaborative & Tilth Alliance
An established communicator and narrative storyteller, Sheryl is recognized as a builder of strategic partnerships with career experience in the non-profit, corporate, civic and media sectors. She is a passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture and consumer education promoting local food and farms. She returned to Tilth Alliance in 2020 and is currently the Director of Outreach and lead staff for the Eat Local First Collaborative.
Micha Ide, she / her / hers
Eat Local First Collaborative & Pierce Country Fresh
Micha Ide is a farmer/owner at Bright Ide Acres in Orting, WA and also manages Pierce County Fresh, a “buy local” regional marketing program designed to increase consumer awareness and consumption of Pierce County agricultural products. In 2020 Pierce County Fresh became a member of the Eat Local Collaborative.
Elliott Smith, he / him / his
Kitchen Sync Strategies
Elliott Smith launched Kitchen Sync Strategies in 2019 to foster connections and align the values of the many siloed “food systems” efforts, working across public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Focused now on developing value chains that build population health, community wealth, and environmental resilience, Kitchen Sync supports institutions seeking to make impacts with their procurement as well as regional food hubs and producers seeking to enter the institutional food market channel. Elliott has worked on implementing the Good Food Purchasing Program in Central Texas, supporting small farms and ranches to scale across Colorado, and weaving a network of food hubs in the PNW to provide sustainable food to regional hospitals, universities, and schools. Elliott is driven by the belief that people should be in relationship with their food, and since his early life in Texas he has grown and cooked food to share with his community.
SCALING UP FOR WHOLESALE PRODUCTION: A CASE STUDY IN COOPERATIVE CROP PLANNING
Nick Spring, he / him / his
Spring Time Farm
Nick Spring owns Spring Time Farm with Sarah Robinson. This year is their 8th season growing Certified Organic vegetables and flowers. Their farm is on the fertile river bottom soil of the Sumas headwaters and our focus is on quality while enriching the ecosystem of our property. They have farmed together in Everson, WA, since 2014, but Nick’s grandparents, Ralph and Margaret Spring, began the very first Spring-Time Farm in 1922 in upstate New York. Ralph farmed for more than seventy-five years. They revived the family farm after it skipped a generation. Our property in Everson is a retired dairy farm that we are working diligently to restore to agricultural and environmental health.
Cheryl Thornton, she / her / hers
Cloud Mountain Farm Center
Cheryl has worked in the agricultural field and food system world for over 37 years. Her work has ranged from business owner to educator to marketer and financial manager. Her favorite part of the work is building relationships between different sectors of the community with an agricultural focus. Community building through education and providing products grown here at the farm is my main passion. She farmed in Norway for 2 years and learned about small agricultural communities and the role that agriculture plays in those communities. Cheryl also worked in the Alaskan Arctic and also learned about how natural resources plays such a vital role in peoples’ lives there. Her favorite thing to grow is flowering perennials and an assortment of vegetables in a home garden.
Brent Chambers, he / him / his
Welcome in! I am Brent Chambers and I am the Produce Sales Manager for Haggen. I am a fourth generation native of Whatcom County, and I love everything the PNW has to offer, especially supporting local growers. I live with my wife (Shelly), my son (Colby 15), and my nephew (Spencer 12) on Lummi Island. I enjoy family time, music, traveling, running, hiking, and biking. You will typically find me working on projects around our house, and within our community. I strive to continue to always learn more, and I love the quote “Be curious, not judgmental!” by Walt Whitman.
Jeff Voltz, he / him / his
Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Jeff Voltz is a Project Manager with Northwest Agriculture Business Center. After a 25-year career in the retail grocery, natural foods, and cooperative sector, Jeff joined NABC in 2009. He provides technical assistance to help the region’s farms develop and expand their businesses.
MARKET TRENDS IN RESPONSE TO COVID–19
Dr. Jennifer Otten, she / her / hers
WAFOOD Survey Lead, University of Washington
Jennifer Otten is an Associate Professor in the Nutritional Sciences Program and Food Systems Director at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Her research focus is at the intersection of food systems, policy, and population health nutrition. She is currently working on research projects to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and access in Washington State residents, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal populations in the PNW region, and in farmworkers in the central part of Washington State. She is also working with WA WIC to understand how the transition to remote services and expanded food options has affected WIC clients. Outside of COVID-19, her projects focus on wasted food, the impacts of food systems policies on population health, and food systems governance. In 2019-2020 she served on the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel on preventing consumer waste of food.
Dr. Otten received her BS in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University, her MS in Nutrition Communications from Tufts University, and her PhD in Animal, Nutrition and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in the Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Between 1998 and 2006, Dr. Otten served in various capacities for the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, including as a study director and as the organization’s first communications director.
Kevin Haggerty, he / him / his
Farm & Garden Manager, Oxbow Farm
Kevin Haggerty has managed the farm program for Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center for the past four years. He brings a decade of experience in organic agriculture to this position and a focus on managing soils to promote biological life, operating farm systems sustainable as part of a larger ecosystem, and community building in the fields. Prior to Oxbow, Kevin owned and operated Lettuce Love Farm in Carnation WA and farmed on Whidbey Island, Galway Co. Ireland, and Central Arkansas. Kevin has also worked in the nonprofit sector with Heifer International and Bainbridge Island’s Friends of the Farms to promote thriving local food economies on both the West Coast and South.
Scott Owen, he / him / his
Senior Grocery Merchandiser, PCC Community Markets
Scott Owen, B.A., A.A.S.; Senior Grocery Merchandiser, PCC Community Markets; Co-chair, Kitchen Cabinet, King County. Scott Owen has worked in local grocery since 1988, first with Thriftway, then moving to online, with the brief but exciting venture known as HomeGrocer.com. Since 2001 he has worked for PCC Community Markets in store management and moved to merchandising in 2007. He has held the role of Senior Grocery Merchandiser for 10 years. His primary focus is developing local brands, building private labels, and creating synergy within the local food web. He is also on the Northwest Agricultural Business Center Regional Food Systems Partnership Steering Committee, as well as the Pacific Coast Collaborative Dairy Working Group.
Dr. Sarah Collier, she / her / hers
WAFOOD Survey Lead, University of Washington
Dr. Sarah Collier is an Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington. She is trained in plant genetics and soil science, and much of her research has focused on agricultural sustainability. Dr. Collier completed her PhD in Plant Breeding at Cornell University, where she was a recipient of both the Munger/Murphy Award and the Barbara McClintock Award. She also received a competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and an interdisciplinary NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability Postdoctoral Fellowship to support her research and outreach related to agricultural climate change mitigation and adaptation at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to joining the University of Washington Dr. Collier also served as Director of Programs at Tilth Alliance, where she led community education and outreach on food system topics. Dr. Collier’s current research examines the resilience of agricultural systems in the face of climate change and other stresses, with an emphasis on environmental outcomes and implications for farmers.
JUST FOOD RECOVERY INTERACTIVE SESSION
Rhys–Thorvald Hansen, they / them / theirs
Food & Farming Program Manager, Sustainable Connections
Rhys-Thorvald Hansen is the new Food and Farming Program Manager at Sustainable Connections, having joined the team in Fall 2020. They have worked in our regional food system since 2010 with experience in value-added production, restaurants, retail produce sales, food events, farmer education, marketing, vegetable and livestock production and more.
Brenda Bentley, she / her / hers
Leadership Team, Community to Community Development
Brenda Bentley was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised by the matriarchy: mother, grandmother, and aunties. She was inducted into the ethos of civil disobedience and the DIY attitude through her involvement in the 70’s punk movement. Brenda spends her life using her creativity in various ways. For 23 years living abroad, she worked in set design and wardrobe in film and music, creating altars and transforming spaces while living in community with the Aboriginal community of Australia, the Maori community of New Zealand, and the Romany culture of the Czech Republic. Through these experiences, she learned about the violent impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures. Overseeing the Artivism at C2C, as well as coordinating the Dignity Vigils and our direct actions, Brenda dedicates herself to making sure art and culture are visible and celebrated in immigrant- and farmworker-led movements. Contact Brenda here.