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October 20 - 22, 2014
Hilton Lexington Downtown, Lexington, Kentucky



"Connections with high-level people doing fabulous work, new opportunities for cooperative projects, inspiration."

-Participant, AFT's 2006 National Conference

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Farmland, Food and Livable Communities

Lexington, Kentucky - October 20-22, 2014


American Farmland Trust's National Conference



Conference Program

Monday, October 20

Tuesday, October 21

Wednesday, October 22


CM I 1.5 indicates sessions offering 1. 5 AICP CM credits

KBLA CE l 1.25 indicates sessions offering Kentucky Board of Landscape Architects continuing education credits

Monday, October 20


Opening Keynote

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


Ag Visioning: Finding Solutions from the Land

A.G. Kawamura, third generation farmer and former California Secretary of Agriculture

A.G. Kawamura will introduce a new age of thinking and enthusiasm about agriculture and the role it must play in redefining a 21st century strategy of abundance. Instead of a concession to, and obsession with, scarcity, Mr. Kawamura will share a vision of a dynamic and resilient agricultural future that is already taking place across the country.  


Workshops - Session 1

4:45 PM - 6:00 PM


Farm Transfer and Succession Planning          

Susan Hamilton, Windrow Land Resources, board member Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest (moderator); Jerry Cosgrove, Associate Director, Local Economies Project, New World Foundation; Kurt Mason, Chair, Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust & Small Farm Owner; Steve Rutledge, President and Owner, Professional Land Management, Inc., Kentucky

Often the most challenging step in farm succession planning is starting the conversation. This session will highlight the need for forethought and how to talk about it within a farm family. It also will explore how to plan for land management, and land and business succession strategies to ensure sound stewardship, economic viability and a smooth transition from one farm owner to another--or one generation to the next.

KBLA CE l1.25  Bringing Land Into Production

Kip Kolesinskas, Consulting Conservation Scientist, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Ben Leffew, Nature Preserve Assistant Manager, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky; Wayne Woodward, Preserve Manager, The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut

This session will explore the issues and opportunities that are emerging as farmers bring new kinds of land into production. In some parts of the country large lot residential is providing a source of leased land to beginning farmers.  In other areas, land owned by governments, land trusts and developers are a growing source of high quality farmland. What are the issues associated with bringing land into production that had previously been in another land use or kind of agriculture? Forest to vineyard? An overgrown field in a Municipal Park to vegetable production? Residential backyard to pasture? Surprising sources of new farmland are being discovered across the U.S. Join the conversation as we discuss the environmental, social, and economic issues that surround this trend.

Conservation in the Farm Bill

Jeremy Peters, Director of Federal Policy, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Debbie Beehn, Kentucky Agricultural Program Specialist, USDA-FSA; Marcinda Kester, Farm Programs Chief, USDA-FSA, Kentucky; Deena Wheby, Kentucky Assistant State Conservationist, USDA-NRCS

The 2014 Farm Bill makes many changes to conservation programs beyond easements. Learn how the new law changes voluntary conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP); and their potential to be even more effective in producing results on the land. In addition to conservation program changes, learn about changes made in the farm bill regarding conservation compliance, farmer eligibility for crop insurance premium subsidies and related benefits for soil and water conservation.

Reaching Across The Local Farmer-Environmentalist Divide   

Jennifer Filipiak, Midwest Natural Resource Conservationist, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Ann Sorensen, Assistant Vice President of Programs and Director of Research, American Farmland Trust; Don Stuart, Consultant, Environmental Policy

This session will discuss why collaboration between farmers and environmentalists is so critical to the emergence of sustainable local food systems and what can be done to achieve it.

Sustainable Farm Leases

Tim Biello, New York Field Representative, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Ed Cox, Former Fellow at Drake University’s Law School, Associate Attorney at Orsborn, Milani, Mitchell & Goedken, L.L.P., and author of The Landowner’s Guide to Sustainable Farm Leasing; David Miller, Founder of Working Farms Capital, Founding Advisor: Loyola University of Chicago Institute of Environmental Sustainability, and CEO and Founder of Iroquois Valley Farms

Access to affordable, productive land is one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today. Young and beginning farmers, in particular, have trouble buying farmland due to lack of capital. Leasing land can provide an affordable alternative for new as well as expanding farm operations. Find out what makes a good lease agreement and how to assess landowner intentions. Learn about provisions that benefit the farmer, the landowner and the land.

Growing Food Connections' Orientation for Communities of Opportunity

Julia Freedgood, Vice President of Programs, American Farmland Trust; Kimberly Hodgson, Founder/Principal, Cultivating Healthy Places; Samina Raja, University of Buffalo at SUNY

This session is for invited local government officials and their partners from the Communities of Opportunity selected as part of the Growing Food Connections project.

Session partially supported by USDA NIFA/AFRI Food Systems Program NIFA Award #2012-68004-19894


Kentucky Proud Reception

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


The Kentucky Proud Reception celebrates Kentucky's farmers. Hosted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program, a model state branding program, conference registrants will enjoy a small-plate tasting of fine foods from Kentucky’s farmers and producers. The menu will feature savories and sweets, including local artisan cheeses, pasture-raised poultry and meats, seasonal vegetables and fruits, pastries and desserts. Local wine, beer and bourbon will be available at the reception’s cash bar.

AFT President Andrew McElwaine and Kentucky officials will welcome guests to the conference.



Workshops - Session 2

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM


Business Planning and Access to Capital for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Gary Matteson, Vice President, Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, The Farm Credit Council (moderator); Jessica Lehman, AVP Business Segments Growing, Farm Credit Mid-America

Effective financial skills training enables beginning farmers to analyze their economic conditions, consider their personal goals and abilities, gauge the risk capacity of their farm businesses, improve their access to credit, and thereby increase the overall growth and economic sustainability of agriculture in America. Beginning farmer training providers will learn best practices that can be applied into their own programs in order to improve access to credit for the beginning farmers they work with.

Transferring Farmland to the Next Generation

Jennifer Dempsey, Director, Farmland Information Center, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Brian Schilling, Assistant Extension Specialist of Agricultural Policy within Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Assistant Professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University; J. Dixon Esseks, Ph.D., Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Tony Dorn, Head of the Economics Section, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service; Allison Borchers, Economist, USDA Economic Research Service

Find out if farmland protection programs keep land in agricultural use and help facilitate farm transfers, and learn about protected farmland owners' succession plans. Also, hear about the upcoming Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) surveya joint effort of the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service to better understand both farm operating landlords and non-farm operator landowners, how the land they own is used, and their future plans for their land.

Women Non-operating Landowners: Overcoming Barriers to Increase Conservation on Leased Land

Karen Woodrich, Kentucky State Conservationist, USDA-NRCS (moderator); Jean Eells, Owner, EResources Group; Jane Hardisty, Indiana State Conservationist, USDA-NRCS; Ann Sorensen, Assistant Vice President of Programs and Director of Research, American Farmland Trust


This session will address how NRCS is reaching out to women landowners and recruiting women leadership within NRCS. We will also discuss a summary of the growing knowledge around non-operator women farmland owners, their perspectives and their needs.

Innovations in Farmland Protection Programs

Bob Wagner, Senior Policy and Program Advisor, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Rick Pruetz, Consultant and national expert on TDR; Ed Thompson, California Director and Senior Associate, American Farmland Trust; Alison Volk, Land Management Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection


Explore cutting edge tools in farmland protection including farmland mitigation policies, new ideas in implementing transfer of development rights programs and agricultural enterprise areas.


CM I 1.5 / KBLA CE l 1.5 Local Food as Economic Development 

Theresa Zawacki, Executive Administrator for Brownfields and Local Food Initiatives, Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, Louisville Metro Government (moderator); Blake Angelo, Conservation Impact, Colorado; Aleta Botts, Executive Director, Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development


Perhaps no subject binds the prosperity of urban and rural economies as closely as local food. Cities and rural communities are working together through the lens of local food to preserve traditions, build economies and promote regionalism. Well beyond agritourism, these partnerships allow communities to leverage complementary assets to become more resilient, grow smarter and develop innovative approaches to economic development. How are states, cities and rural communities working together to bridge the urban-rural divide using local food as the catalyst for greater regional prosperity.



9:45 AM - 11:00 AM


KBLA CE l 1.25 Feeding the Planet: Soil to Sustenance for 9 Billion People

Jim Richardson, Photojournalist, National Geographic

Veteran National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson has made it his business to explore the world of agriculture for the last 20 years. From climbing to high potato fields of the Andes in Peru, flying over the vast wheat fields of North America and slogging through the verdant rice terraces of Asia, Richardson’s has traveled the world to tell the story of how we will feed our hungry planet. His presentation will explore everything from the life of the soil to the very personal stories of farmers around the globe. A farm boy himself (Kansas, row crops and dairy) Richardson is proud to have brought these stories to the pages of National Geographic. 


Workshops - Session 3

11:15 AM - 12:45 PM


The Role of Financial and Legal Professionals in Helping Farmers

Poppy Davis, Public Service Fellow, Juris Doctor Candidate, Drake University Law School (moderator); Ed Cox, Attorney, Agricultural Law, Orsborn, Milani, Mitchell & Goedken, LLP, Iowa; David Haight, New York State Director, American Farmland Trust; Louie Rivers Jr., Project Manager, Small Farmer Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program at Kentucky State University, College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems; Jonathan Shepherd, Area Farm Management Specialist, University of Kentucky

How does a CPA in Indiana advise a new CSA farmer about the tax implications of planting an orchard? How does an attorney in rural Kentucky assist a land trust in placing a beginning farmer in acquiring a historic farm? How does a Latino strawberry farmer find a Spanish-speaking attorney to advise on a packing contract? This is a working session to solicit your feedback on proposed models to support attorneys and accountants with occasional needs for highly specialized information related to agriculture and agricultural lands, and to assist farmers and ranchers with complex (or simply unusual in their county) legal or accounting needs in forming appropriate long-term relationships with local advisers.

Models for State-level Purchase of Agricultural Easement Programs

Whitney Turner, PACE Program Coordinator, Kentucky Department of Agriculture (moderator); Rick Chandler, Director of Agricultural Business Training Program and Land Protection Regional Planner, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; Nancy Everhart, Agricultural Specialist, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; Doug Wolfgang, Director, Bureau of Farmland Preservation, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

This session will feature four state-level programs to illustrate different approaches to program implementation. Kentucky and Massachusetts run programs that directly acquire and monitor easements; Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation manages an effective state-county partnership that relies on active county agricultural preservation boards; and the Vermont Housing Conservation Board operates a grant style program in close partnership with a few public and private entities. Presenters will highlight the pros and cons of each approach.

CM I 1.5  Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems - Communities That Are Leading the Way: Growing Food Connections 

Kimberley Hodgson, Founder/Principal, Cultivating Healthy Places (moderator); Aaron Newton, Local Food System Program Coordinator, Cabarrus County, North Carolina; Jane Shey, former Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator, Minnesota

Local governments can play an important public policy role to support farmers, food production and food security for all community residents. This session will explore results from recent research on how local governments are developing and implementing a wide range of innovative programs, regulations, laws, financial investments, and other policies to address agricultural viability and community food security. Local government staff from Seattle, WA; Cabarrus County, NC; and Minneapolis, MN will share their achievements and lessons learned.

Session partially supported by USDA NIFA/AFRI Food Systems Program NIFA Award #2012-68004-19894

Economic Importance of Agriculture to Local Economies

Leigh Maynard, Agricultural Economics Department Chair, University of Kentucky (moderator); Sarah Fritschner, Coordinator, Louisville Farm to Table; Jim Mansfield, Sheep Farmer and Lamb Marketer, Four Hills Farm, Kentucky; Ashton Potter Wright, Local Food Coordinator, Lexington Office of the Mayor

When do food and agricultural markets contribute most to local economic development? This session combines the experiences of an innovative farm owner, local food coordinators in two cities with growing reputations for food culture and downtown renaissance, and academics who quantified economic impacts. Food and agriculture can inspire vibrancy and distinctiveness that enables existing businesses and attracts new ones across many industries. High-quality local farmland is the "factory floor" that delivers public amenities and economic opportunity.

From the Field: A Farmer's Perspective on Soil, Nutrition and the Importance of America's Farmland

Tristan Klesick, farmer, Klesick Family Farm, Washington State; Don Stuart, Consultant, Environmental Policy, Washington

An award-winning diversified farmer from Washington State, Klesick teams up with Stuart to share global, national and community perspectives on the benefits of preserving America’s farmland as a resource for generations to come.

A Green Revolution for the 21st Century   

Aidan Connolly, Vice President, Corporate Accounts, Alltech

Farming is on the brink of another Green Revolution completely different from the one in the 1960s. Agricultural productivity will need to improve 1.6 percent each year to meet the projected demands for 2050. This is achievable if the agricultural sector embraces technologies and identifies the obstacles and opportunities for meeting the global challenge of feeding an additional 3 billion people. We will need to cultivate land previously uncultivated and find innovative ways to do more with less. We will need to incorporate big data on farms and offer a more accessible market for purchasing ingredients and finding customized feeds to help plants and animals reach their genetic potential. Agribusinesses have been seen as part of the problem, pursuing short-term gains at the expense of human development and the environment, however the private sector and market-driven solutions are an essential component to meeting this challenge.


Workshops - Session 4

2:15 PM - 3:45 PM


Land Access and Securing Affordable Farmland

Kathy Ruhf, Executive Director, Land for Good (moderator); Jim Oldham, Executive Director, Equity Trust, Massachusetts; Jon Ramsay, Land Access Director, Vermont Land Trust; Holly Rippon-Butler, Land Access Campaign Manager, National Young Farmers Coalition

Access to land is one of the top challenges for beginning as well as established farmers. How can we make farmland more available, affordable, secure, and findable? What tenure innovations should be promoted? Presenters will cover new models and methods, and explore the role of landowners, retiring farmers, conservation organizations and communities.

Ground Operations: Battlefield to Farmfields, Documentary Film and Discussion

Dulanie Ellis, film producer (moderator); Mike Lewis, Founder, Growing Warriors 

Join us for an animated discussion about who is going to take over the reins of land stewardship as American farmers age out. Who has the tenacity, vision and grit to get the job done? American military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, that's who. Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields is an award-winning film and social action campaign that champions the growing network of combat veterans who are transitioning into careers as organic farmers and sustainable ranchers. The Ground Ops campaign uses the film as a catalyst for dynamic audience conversations about the local foodsheds, restoring soils and lives, networking people with resources and providing access to food security for communities across America.

CM I 1.5 / KBLA CE l 1.5  Build In, Not Out

Daniel O'Connell, San Joaquin Valley Program Manager, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Katherine Daniels, Farm and Forest Lands Specialist, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development; Jim Johnson, Land Use and Water Planning Coordinator, Oregon Department of Agriculture; Brian Standing, Senior Planner, Dane County Planning and Development, Wisconsin; Knox van Nagell, Executive Director, Fayette Alliance, Fayette, Kentucky

Find out more about programs at the state, regional and county levels that use planning and zoning to reduce farmland conversion and promote smart growth. Presenters will highlight approaches used within the context of comprehensive growth management programs as well as those that can be effective outside this policy framework. Learn how planning and zoning can be used to support and enhance the effectiveness of permanent farmland protection programs including purchase of agricultural conservation easement or transfer of development rights programs.

Farmland Protection in the Farm Bill

Jeremy Peters, Director of Federal Policy, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Jeremy Stone, National Program Manager, ACEP-ALE, USDA-NRCS; Jerome Faulkner, National Easement Specialist, USDA-NRCS


Learn about how the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component of the new federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) will be administered by USDA-NRCS. ALE consolidates the former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Grasslands Reserve Program.

Connecting Farmers and Nutrition Program Participants: Innovations from Michigan and Kentucky

Kate Fitzgerald, Fair Food Network (moderator); Sandra Corlett, Kentucky farmer and former president, Kentucky Farmers Market Association; Dru Montri, Director, Michigan Farmers Market Association

In both rural and urban communities around the country, exciting work is happening to connect federal nutrition program participants directly with local farmers. These efforts boost farm sales, keep food dollars circulating in local economies and improve low-income consumers' access to healthful food. This session will explain the nuts and bolts of successful Michigan programs and provide an analysis of their economic development impacts to date.

Workshops - Session 5

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM


Young Farmers - Opportunities and Constraints

Maggie Keith, Foxhollow Farm (moderator); Ben Abell, Farmer, Rootbound Farm, and Board President, Community Farm Alliance; Jack Algiere, Four Season Farm Director, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Pavel Ovechkin, Farmer, Foxhollow Farm; Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Director, Greenhorns

Cultivating and supporting young farmers is key to ensuring we have good, clean, fair food for our communities. During this session we will look into some of the opportunities and constraints of becoming successful farming entrepreneurs. We will discuss sources of funding, the importance of training, access to land issues and solutions, and successful young farmer business models.

Homegrown by Heroes

Kristen Branscum, Kentucky Department of Agriculture (moderator); Abby Joe Clark, Team Leader, Growing Warriors, Kentucky; Paul Dengel, Assistant Farm Manager, Rootbound Farm, Kentucky; Ben Shaffar, Business Development Director, Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Launched in January 2013 in Kentucky by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Homegrown By Heroes branding initiative affords military veterans and active duty service members a special logo to affix to their grown or raised farm products at the point of sale. Under an exclusive agreement with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (Davis, CA), the logo is now a national brand with over 150 members from more than 40 states. With the national average age of the American farmer now at 58 years old, this initiative will hopefully spur a new generation of American farmers – our American veterans.

Building Land Trust Capacity to Protect Farmland for Agriculture

Jennifer Dempsey, Director, Farmland Information Center, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Brian Bourdages, Farmland Program Manager, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy; Krista Magaw, Executive Director, Tecumseh Land Trust; Jon Ramsay, Land Access Director, Vermont Land Trust; Mackenzie Royce, Executive Director, Bluegrass Conservancy

Find out more about land trusts that focus on protecting farm and ranch land for agriculture. Learn why they protect agricultural land, how they engage with agricultural landowners and how they have created coalitions to secure public funding for farmland protection.

Local and Locale: Diversified Strategies for Improving Farm Profitability through Sustainable Meat Production

Mel Coleman, Vice President of Emerging Markets, Niman Ranch; Preston Correll, Marksbury Farm Market and St. Asaph Farm, Lancaster and Stanford, Kentucky; John-Mark Hack, Executive Director, Local Food Association, Kentucky; Mac Stone, Elmwood Stock Farm, Georgetown, Kentucky

This session will examine the challenges and opportunities found in changing market preferences for meat produced from animals raised in sustainable systems that use humane methods of production and processing. While local food markets are a great opportunity for many producers across the country, these markets are sometimes insufficient for ensuring producer profitability and the farmland protection that goes along with it. Larger commercial markets, including regional and national companies, also offer good opportunities for sustainably produced meats. 

CM I 1.5  Next Generation of Food Policy Councils: How to Make a Difference with Local Government

Theresa Zawacki, Executive Administrator for Brownfields and Local Food Initiatives, Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, Louisville Metro Government (moderator); Carla Baumann. farmer and Board Vice President, Community Farm Alliance, Kentucky; Paula Daniels, Founder, Los Angeles Food Policy Council; Caitlin Marquis, Franklin County Local Food Council, Ohio; Anne Palmer, Director, Food Communities and Public Health, John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

With many local governments taking an interest in food systems development, food policy councils have a unique opportunity to engage in policy development in ways that may have been difficult or impossible in the past. Local governments make policy, have or can obtain financial and other resources, and can easily reach a diverse audience with their messaging, and therefore are important partners for food policy councils interested in making a difference. How can food policy councils stay true to their roots while collaborating with local governments to direct these assets to address inequities in the food system?

Federal Agricultural Land Easement Program Work Session

Bob Wagner, Senior Policy and Program Advisor, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Jeremy Stone, National Program Manager, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Jerome Faulker, National Easement Specialist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

A session for experienced participating entities to ask questions and provide feedback on program implementation.



Workshops - Session 6

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM


New Perspectives on the Next Generation of Farm Households

Jill Clark, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University (moderator); Shoshanah Inwood, Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont; Michelle Howell, Hickory Lane Farm, Kentucky


A lot of household matters enter in to decisions about whether the farm expands or persists across generations. This session will review the latest research on farm household decision-making and provide a perspective from a local farm family. A special focus will be on how the demands of childcare/eldercare and healthcare affect the family farm.

How Permanent Protection Opens the Door to Farm Ownership

Bob Wagner, Senior Policy and Program Advisor, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Anne Bradley, Agricultural Liaison/Land Preservation Administrator, Frederick County, Maryland; Rick Chandler, Director of Agricultural Business Training Program and Land Protection Regional Planner, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources;Jim Oldham, Executive Director, Equity Trust, Massachusetts; Austin Short, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Delaware


Learn how public agricultural conservation easement programs are helping farmers gain access to land. Featured programs will include the Delaware Young Farmers Farmland Purchase and Preservation Loan Program, Maryland’s Critical Farms Program, and Equity Trust's Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program and Massachusetts' Option to Purchase at Ag Value.


CM I 1.5  Comprehensive Approaches to Local Farmland Protection

Billy Van Pelt, CEO, Woodford Forward, Incorporated (moderator); Janice Hill, Executive Planner in Kane County, Illinois; Don Robinson, Lexington-Fayette Rural Land Management Board; Sandra Romero, County Commissioner from Thurston County, Washington; Cynthia Wilson, Long Range Planning Manager, Thurston County, Washington


Learn about effective local farmland protection efforts that use multiple tools to protect agricultural land and support agriculture.  Featured localities include Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky; Kane County, Illinois; and Thurston County, Washington.


CM REQUESTED  From Planning to Policy, Partnerships and Public Investment

Alison Hastings, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (moderator); Guy Land, Appalachian Regional Commission (invited); Tim McNeilly, USDA Rural Development Coordinator, Kentucky; Ed Thompson, California Director and Senior Associate, American Farmland Trust

With growing national attention on issues like food security, healthy local foods and local economies, food system planning is receiving more attention from planners, policymakers and the general public. Many units of government, from city to multi-state regions, and nonprofit organizations, including foundations, are undertaking foodshed assessments, feasibility studies and plans to envision a more sustainable food system. But how are these recommendations and projects implemented? This session will explore how several areas throughout the country are using different financial resources and exploring policy and legislative initiatives to knit together sustainable food systems and thriving agricultural communities. 

Promoting Good Food From Farm to Fork

Caitlin Marquis, Franklin County Local Food Council, Ohio (moderator);Pam Hess, Executive Director, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture; Young Kim, Executive Director, Fondy Food Center

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Fondy Food Center connects neighborhoods with fresh local food through its historic farmers market and an 80-acre farm in nearby Port Washington. The agency works to build a self sustaining marketplace informed by farmers and eaters, cultivating prosperous communities in Milwaukee and beyond that celebrate fresh local food. Thanks to a landmark partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture works to create a more equitable and sustainable local food system in and around Washington, DC, through two farms, two mobile markets, culinary education, and a farm education program for local schools. The directors of these exceptional centers will share what they’ve learned so far and what questions they are asking now to strengthen farm to fork connections in their communities.


Workshops - Session 7

9:45 AM - 11:15 AM


Profiting From the Farm

Brian Luftman, Founder and President, American Farm Investors (moderator); Harvey Mitchell, President and CEO, Ag Services Inc; Bill Peterson, Principal, Peterson Farms


Learn from three industry professionals how to rent land from farmland investors, how to secure government subsidized loans for equipment/operations, and how to revitalize the productivity and profitability of under-performing farmland.  If farms can make money, then there is higher likelihood that they will remain in agricultural use.


CM I 1.5  Building Local Government Capacity to Support Food Systems: Growing Food Connections

Julia Freedgood, Vice President of Programs, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Jill Clark, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University; Kimberley Hodgson, Founder/Principal, Cultivating Healthy Places; Samina Raja, University of Buffalo at SUNY


This is a hands-on workshop to introduce participants to the basic skill sets needed to create a food system plan and to facilitate the adoption of promising planning processes and public policies to support agricultural viability and community food security at the local level.

Session partially supported by USDA NIFA/AFRI Food Systems Program NIFA Award #2012-68004-19894


What To Expect When You’re Protecting (or Buying): A Guide to (Agricultural) Conservation Easements

Cris Coffin, New England Director, American Farmland Trust (moderator); Jerry Cosgrove, Associate Director, Local Economies Project, New World Foundation

More than 5 million acres of farm and ranch land have been permanently protected through state and local Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) programs, the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), land trusts and other entities. PACE programs have been vital tools in helping new and established farmers alike gain access to affordable farmland. Yet not all conservation easements are designed for agriculture, and deciphering complex easement language can be a challenge. This session will focus on what makes easements farm-friendly. We’ll look at common terms and definitions, and discuss a variety of issues that farmers confront in working protected land. This session is intended for farmers, beginning or established, looking to protect their land or to buy or lease already protected land, for agriculture service providers who work closely with farmers.


Closing Plenary

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM


CM REQUESTED / KBLA CE l1  Finding Common Ground: Building Bridges between Agriculture and Public Health

David Rouse, Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services, American Planning Association (moderator); Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University; Roni Neff, Director, Food System Sustainability and Public Health, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Andrea Wright, Nutrition Initiatives Coordinator, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Kentucky

According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” In this plenary session, thought leaders from diverse disciplines will explore how agriculture, planning and public health are finding common ground to improve the health of people, land and communities.



Program is subject to change




Questions? Contact Doris Mittasch at AFTNationalConference@farmland.org.

Media please contact Laura Trivers at ltrivers@farmland.org



American Farmland Trust


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