Bold New England Summit Seeks Big Food System Change

April 5, 2017

Peter Allison, FINE Network Director
(802) 291-2019

Bold New England Summit Seeks Big Food System Change

Leominster, MA, April 5, 2017 – Bold Region. Big Change. Bright Future. That’s what 450 food system leaders adopted as their motto for the biennial New England Farm to Institution Summit on April 6th and 7th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Leominster, Mass.

The gathering attracts food service professionals, farmers and fishers, food businesses, clinicians and educators, students, government officials, and nonprofit leaders from around New England and beyond. All are committed to transforming the food system by mobilizing the power of institutions as big buyers, community anchors, and cultural leaders.

Over 60 workshops feature a variety of topics such as a Catch of the Day program for schools and colleges that is a win-win-win for fishermen, consumers, and the sea; strategies for putting local food values into food system contracts; and tips on advocating for farm to institution in your state.

The event focuses on weighty issues in our food system and society. On Friday, April 7th at 9:00 AM, Chellie Pingree, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Maine), a national leader in promoting local food, will share her thoughts on the importance of a strong regional food system that supports farm to institution.

“A few years ago, no one was talking about using locally farmed food for school lunches or thinking about the concept of food as medicine. Today, farmers are in regular contact with school nutrition directors and doctors are reaching out to food banks,” said Pingree. “We’ve certainly come a long way in bringing the local food movement to the institutional level, but there are a number of challenges ahead. I’m thrilled to be able to talk through these issues at the summit and hear new ideas about strengthening the institutional food system."

Abel Luna is one of six storytellers at the conclusion of the summit. An activist with Migrant Justice in Burlington, Vermont, Luna will speak about the challenging conditions of farm workers, many of whom are immigrants. He will highlight the added pressure of recent roundups by federal authorities of immigrant activists, many of whom have been in this country for years.

That theme will also be echoed by keynote speaker Ricardo Salvador, Research Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who is speaking during the opening plenary on Thursday, April 6th at 9:00 AM. His message will focus on how the future of food is the future of our nation.

“The nation’s food system still bears the imprint of its origins as a system for exploiting people and nature. Addressing the root causes of hunger and diet-related chronic disease will require confronting society’s need for greater justice,” said Salvador. “The nation’s history can be understood as a struggle to claim rights denied to all by the nation’s founding documents. Until that struggle is complete, the nation’s fundamental food problems cannot be resolved.”

Jared Auerbach, CEO and founder of Red’s Best, a seafood distribution company, said, “The New England Farm to Institution Summit is not just about talking. It’s about doing… and taking real, concrete steps to change food sourcing within institutional dining.”

The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit is organized by Farm to Institution New England in conjunction with co-host organizations: Health Care Without HarmUSDA Farm to School Program, the Northeast Farm to School Steering Committee, and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network.


About Farm to Institution New England

Farm to Institution New England (FINE) is a six-state network of nonprofit, public and private entities working together to transform our food system by increasing the amount of good, local food served in our region’s schools, hospitals, colleges and other institutions. FINE’s mission is to mobilize the power of New England institutions to transform our food system.The FINE network consists of non-profit organizations, government agencies, institutions, foundations, farms, food distributors, food processors, food service operators and others. For more information, visit




The #F2ISummit Will Feature a Food Policy Plenary with Chellie Pingree

The Farm Bill & Federal Ag Policy...What’s Happening & Why Care?  

We're pleased to announce that the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit will feature a Federal Policy Plenary on Friday, April 7th. This session will be the opening plenary on the second full day of the #F2ISummit in Leominster, Massachusetts.

National agriculture policy is a topic that many do not fully understand, yet it has a significant impact on the work that we do to support farm to institution and regional food systems development. The objective of this Federal Policy Plenary is for all attendees to better understand the relevance federal policy has on our work in New England and head home more informed and ready to take action!  

Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a leader in promoting local foods at the national level, will be joining us on Friday, April 7th, at the summit to share her thoughts on the importance of a strong regional food system that supports farm to institution in our region. Her own experience and commitment to local food carry through to her many efforts in Congress.  

Wes King

Tricia Kovacs

John Waite

Katherine Sims

Wes King, Policy Specialist for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, will be moderating this session.  He will also be co-leading a session on Friday afternoon with more detail about advocating for what you care about in the Farm Bill.  

Tricia Kovacs, Local and Regional Food Systems Policy Advisor for the USDA, will share some insight about the USDA programs that benefit and support farm to institution efforts and the successes that have resulted from those programs.  

Following those national perspectives, we will bring it home to New England and share stories from organizations that have directly benefited from federal funding and policy. John Waite, the Executive Director of Franklin County Community Development Corporation and the Western Mass Processing Center and Katherine Sims, the Founder and Development Director of Green Mountain Farm to School, will explain how their programs and organizations have utilized federal funding programs that are part of the Farm Bill.  

Following the speakers, we will have some Q&A time and a chance to point you to some easy ways that you can take action to support farm to institution in the next Farm Bill!  

The #F2ISummit has a new look!

Introducing the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit's visual identity

The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is pleased to announce custom graphics by Seth Gregory Design of Northampton, Massachusetts, that will symbolize our biennial conference this year. While working with Seth to come up with the concept, we strived to represent some of the key players in the farm to institution supply chain, including farmers, fishermen, distributors, institution administrators, food service professionals, and eaters at institutions. We also wanted to capture a variety of food produced in New England, from fruits and vegetables to dairy and seafood. As you'll see, there is some significance to the type of food assigned to each state (but don't try to overanalyze!). 

The tagline we chose for the 2017 #F2Summit is [Bold Region. Big Change. Bright Future.] This represents the idea that New England is a bold region with the potential to catalyze big changes in our regional, national, and global food systems. We envision a bright future wherein New England institutions play leadership roles in cultivating a region that is moving towards self-reliance. Furthermore, we envision an equitable and just food system that provides access to healthy and abundant food for all New Englanders and is defined by sustainable and productive land and ocean ecosystems.

We place great value on the power of graphic design to clearly communicate priorities, values, and relationships and hope you'll see where you fit in this picture of New England, either directly or in between the lines.

Without further ado, we'd like to reveal the visual identity for our 2017 #F2ISummit!

Apply to Share Your Story at the New England Farm to Institution Summit

2015 Summit (73 of 139) copy.jpg

The New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is excited to announce a special session at the close of the #F2ISummit on April 7th: a live storytelling event inspired by The Moth. We are looking for six storytellers from around the region to tell their personal stories of transformation within the farm to institution movement.

Do you have a great story to share? Fill out our storytelling application. Stories should be five minutes long and based on personal experience. The Moth has tips and tricks for telling great stories. Storytellers will receive additional coaching and assistance to prepare their stories.

The deadline for submission is Friday, February 24th. Selections will be made by Friday, March 3rd. Questions? Send them to

Not quite ready to tell a story this year? Feel free to pass this invitation along to a colleague!

Announcing Ricardo Salvador as the F2I Summit Keynote Speaker

The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is pleased to announce that Ricardo Salvador from the Union of Concerned Scientists will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 F2I Summit. Ricardo will speak during the morning plenary on Thursday, April 6th.

We invite you to learn more about the New England Farm to Institution Summit and explore the full program.

Ricardo Salvador's Biography

As the senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ricardo Salvador works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices.

Before coming to UCS, Dr. Salvador served as a program officer for food, health, and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. While at ISU, Dr. Salvador taught the first course in sustainable agriculture at a land-grant university, and his graduate students conducted some of the original academic research on community-supported agriculture. He also worked with students to establish ISU's student-operated organic farm, and with other faculty to develop the nation’s first sustainable agriculture graduate program in 2000.

Dr. Salvador was named a 2013 NBC Latino Innovator and received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2014. Dr. Salvador earned a B.S. in agricultural science from New Mexico State University. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.

Registration for the F2I Summit is Now Live!

Dear Colleagues,

The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit Steering Committee is delighted to announce that registration is now open for this year’s gathering on April 5-7, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Leominster, Massachusetts. Join us!

The program features a dynamic and inspiring array of sessions, speakers, activities, cooking demonstrations, field trips, exhibitors, entertainment, and networking time. Of course, we’ll also be serving delicious, local food.

In addition to focus areas on schools, health care, and college campuses, we’ve added sessions related to correctional facilities. Cross-cutting topics include supply chain management, food waste, racial equity, skill building, and much more.

Visit our online, interactive event platform to view the full schedule, create your personal profile, find out who else is attending, learn more about the speakers, and sign up for specific sessions.

Register soon to take advantage of the early bird rate and reserve your seat for sessions with limited capacity.

We thank our initial sponsors for helping to keep registration costs as low as possible. We are seeking additional sponsors so we can meet the target for our scholarship program.

Please consider sponsoring the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit. Contact us soon so we can promote your business or organization in upcoming summit outreach and event materials, and provide you with the full suite of registration and exhibition benefits.

Check out the summit program and get registered.

See you at the 2017 F2I Summit!

2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit Steering Committee

  • Dana Stevens | Event & Project Coordinator, Farm to Institution New England
  • Danielle Fleury | Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Farm to School, Northeast Region
  • Jen Obadia | Eastern US Regional Director, Healthy Food in Health Care Program, Health Care Without Harm
  • Kaitlin Haskins | Communications Coordinator, Farm to Institution New England
  • Nessa Richman | Metrics & Development Manager, Farm to Institution New England
  • Peter Allison | Network Director, Farm to Institution New England
  • Riley Neugebauer | Farm & Sea to Campus Manager, Farm to Institution New England

Now Accepting Session Proposals & Sponsorships for the #F2ISummit

Submit a proposal or sign up as a sponsor!

Farm to Institution New England along with Health Care Without Harm, the National Farm to School Network Northeast Regional Steering Committee, USDA Farm to School, and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network are pleased to announce the second biennial New England Farm to Institution Summit, taking place on April 6th and 7th at the DoubleTree Hotel in Leominster, Massachusetts. Pre-conference activities such as tours and workshops will take place on April 5th. We expect 500-600 attendees and invite you to be a part of this growing network.     

The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit will gather farmers, food service operators, advocates, administrators, elected officials and others dedicated to cultivating the power of New England institutions to develop an equitable and resilient food system. The F2ISummit is designed to inspire change and energize participants through sharing best practices and innovative strategies; enhance network capacity through skill building; and strengthen our collective impact by engaging leaders and policymakers in shared problem-solving. 

Learn more by browsing this website!


The Summit Steering Committee invites you to submit your proposals for the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit. Do you have a great idea for a workshop, roundtable, panel, field trip, demo, training, tour or meeting? Submit your idea in response to our request for proposals.

The deadline is Monday, Nov. 28th. We look forward to reading your proposals!   


We welcome your interest in sponsoring the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit. Food system stakeholders across our region are recognizing that the food institutions serve matters. It makes an impact on the 3.8 million people who eat in our school, college and hospital cafeterias, the local economy, and our natural resources.

Your sponsorship directly supports the ability of New England farm to institution network leaders to gather at the F2ISummit and build a strong regional food system of viable farm and food businesses, engaged institutions, and well-nourished communities.