Workers' Rights Leader Jose Oliva to Keynote the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit

Dining hall workers at UMass Amherst sell locally made baked goods during our 2015 Northeast Farm to Institution Summit.

Dining hall workers at UMass Amherst sell locally made baked goods during our 2015 Northeast Farm to Institution Summit.

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The 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is proud to announce that Jose Oliva, co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance will be our keynote speaker on Wednesday, April 3rd. Jose has spent more than 15 years advocating for workers’ rights and social justice.

Jose will discuss current efforts at the national and regional levels to improve wages and working conditions for workers all along the food chain. His talk will illustrate the necessity of these changes in building a more just and sustainable food system through a focus on jobs in our institutional food service operations and supply chain.

Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez, a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the United States, Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello.

He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the coordinator of the Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network. In 2008, he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.

Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is the co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 350,000 workers. Jose is a 2017 James Beard Award recipient and a recipient of Eating Well’s 2018 Food Heroes Award.

We are excited to have Jose's participation at the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit and we look forward to the conversations his keynote will generate throughout the conference!

Learn more about Jose and his organization's work by visiting the Food Chain Workers Alliance website.


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Spotlight on Sustainability at the 2019 #F2ISummit

Spotlight on Sustainability at the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit

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In just 11 short weeks, the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit will bring together 500+ food service operators, institutional leaders, local food advocates, farmers, fishers, processors, distributors, and more, for three days of engaging sessions, inspiring speakers, exciting tours, fun social events, and more!

Over the next few weeks, we will be opening our registration platform and sharing program details with you through the New England Farm to Institution Summit website. As we work to make this our most meaningful Summit yet, we are also doing a lot of reflecting on the environmental impact of hosting an event of this sort. While we believe strongly in the power of the Summit and gatherings like it, we also know that large events can leave a sizable footprint. Since the first Summit in 2015, we have worked hard to make sustainable decisions throughout the program planning process; we strive to serve local and regional foods throughout the event and we are dedicated to minimizing waste by using reusable materials and composting.

In 2019, we are taking these efforts to the next level. We have established a sustainability committee and created a sustainability policy to guide our efforts and help us measure our impact. The policy outlines targets and activities for FINE and our partners during the planning process, but it also includes ways that you, the attendees and presenters, can help us make this event as sustainable as possible. We are grateful to be partnering with UMass Amherst in this process and value their leadership and enthusiasm in helping us meet our goals.


Below you will find highlights from the policy’s three primary metrics:

  • Food & Beverage

  • Marketing & Education

  • Energy & Transportation

We will be sharing tips for engagement over the next few months and we invite anyone attending the summit (and anyone who isn’t attending the Summit!) to spend some time looking at the full policy and to think about your role in these efforts.

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POLICY HIGHLIGHTS

Procurement

Fifty percent of all food and beverage and 100 percent of all meat protein, dairy, grains, oats, greens, and eggs served at the Summit will be sourced from New England farms and businesses. When possible, we will source menu items from local food processors and farms owned and operated by people of color, women, and beginning farmers. We will reduce meat options by using meat as a side dish or flavoring ingredient and not as a main ingredient. Meat portions will be limited to two ounces per serving.

Food Waste

We will ensure that 100 percent of pre and post-consumer food waste is composted. Further, we will donate as much leftover food as possible to The UMass Food Recovery Network. Additionally, 100 percent of the cups, plates, silverware, and napkins will be reusable. Finally, zero plastic water bottles and single-use beverage containers will be offered.

Marketing Materials

We will prioritize using recycled and reusable materials for our marketing efforts. This includes working with our printer and UMass Amherst to use post-consumer recycled paper, environmentally-friendly inks, and reusable signs. We will ensure that 100 percent of name tag lanyards are reusable by not printing our sponsors on them. We will also ensure that 100% of marketing materials are produced by New England-based businesses. Tote bags will be optional and a take-a-bag-leave-a-bag station will allow participants to drop off old or unwanted tote bags to be repurposed.

Transportation

Our goal is that 100 percent of participants use an alternative form of transportation at least once during the Summit. To further cut down on travel miles, 100 percent of workshops and Summit events will be located within walking distance of the Campus Center. We will provide transportation for any off-site field trips.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO

Start planning now!

Wondering how you can start thinking about your contribution to these efforts? We’ll be reaching out over the coming months with plenty of reminders and tips but in the meantime, here are a few things you can start thinking about now!

  • Plan to use alternative transportation: Are you driving to Amherst from out of town? We are expecting over 500 attendees at the Summit which means plenty of opportunities to carpool. We will be revealing a rideshare/carpool platform as we get closer to the date, but in the meantime, grab a friend or two and plan to ride together.

  • Bring your own water bottle and reusable thermos: We will not be providing any single-use water bottles or drink containers which means this is a great opportunity to show off that triple vacuum-sealed water bottle you have.

  • Gather your old tote bags to donate: Do you have a closet full of tote bags from past events? We will be featuring a take-a-tote-leave-a-tote station at the Summit where attendees can donate old tote bags to be repurposed and used by The Bag Share Project.

  • Plan to study the program ahead of time: We are cutting down on our printed materials at the Summit which means that an abbreviated program will be available as part of attendees’ name tags and everything else you need to know will be available online and in a handy app. Once we release the program, we encourage you to get to know the offerings ahead of time -- this will help make the transition to digital even faster!

We look forward to sharing more information with you over the coming months. If you have any questions or comments about our Summit Sustainability Policy, please email hannah@farmtoinstitution.org.


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Sponsor Opportunities Now Available

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Consider partnering with us by sponsoring the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit (#f2isummit)! As a sponsor, you will provide valuable support and leadership to New England’s premier cross-sector conference dedicated to transforming our food system by leveraging the power of our region’s anchor institutions. You can promote your brand and connect with industry leaders, influencers, and decision-makers.

Seeking Session Proposals thru Nov. 23rd

Now Seeking Session Proposals for the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit!

Deadline: Nov. 23rd (now closed)

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Since the first gathering in 2015, the biennial New England Farm to Institution Summit has become a seminal event for stakeholders working to transform our regional food system. More than 500 participants attend the summit, including food service operators, producers, supply chain businesses, advocates, public officials, and others dedicated to this work. We strive to bring together an inclusive and diverse regional network of individuals and entities across all parts of the food system – that’s where you come in!

Do you have an innovative idea, a set of best practices, or a policy proposal to share? Has your institution been leading the charge to improve our food system? Are you a student mobilizing your school to support regional producers, protect the environment, and pay food chain workers a fair wage? Are you running an institutional dining program while tracking your sustainability impact? Are you a regional producer selling to institutions? Do you want to brainstorm some big solutions with other great food systems practitioners in the region? 

The #F2iSummit is by-the-network, for-the-network. In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever that we come together to make positive change. You can help make that happen! Join us by submitting a proposal idea that will bring the New England food systems community together to CELEBRATE what we’ve accomplished, MOBILIZE more stakeholders, and TRANSFORM the farm-to-institution supply chain. The request for proposals is open until Friday, Nov. 23rd. To find more information about what we are looking for and how proposals will be reviewed, visit the summit website.

The 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit will be held at UMass Amherst on April 2-4. The summit is hosted by FINE in partnership with UMass Amherst, the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative, the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network, and Health Care Without Harm. We have generous support from the John Merck Fund, Henry P. Kendall Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, Red’s Best, Food Solutions New England, and UMass Amherst, and we're accepting new sponsors.

The request for proposals is now live on the New England Farm to Institution Summit website:

2019 #F2iSummit Website is Now Live!

Announcing the launch of our 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit website

Farm to Institution New England along with our partners Health Care Without Harm, the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative, the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network, and UMass Amherst are pleased to announce the launch of the website for our third biennial New England Farm to Institution Summit, which will take place on April 2-4, 2019 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The summit website, which FINE staff developed in-house, reflects a custom visual identity developed in partnership with graphic designer and illustrator Seth Gregory of Northampton, Massachusetts. We worked closely with Seth to develop a fresh, bright look for the 2019 summit that will inspire people and bring everyone together around a common cause. 

Currently, the website features baseline information about the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit as well as robust details about sponsorship opportunities. From now until April, we'll be adding details about the program, registration, scholarships, field trips, exhibitor opportunities, and more. Check back regularly!

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Sponsorship Opportunities are Now Available!

Consider partnering with us by sponsoring the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit!

We're pleased to announce a whole suite of sponsorship opportunities for the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit. Sponsoring this event is a great investment for your company or organization, and there’s sure to be a package or experience that’s the right fit for you!

As a sponsor, you will provide valuable support and leadership to New England’s premier cross-sector conference dedicated to transforming our food system by leveraging the power of our region’s anchor institutions. You can promote your brand and connect with industry leaders, influencers, and decision-makers. 

Your sponsorship helps build a strong regional food system of viable farm and food businesses, engaged institutions, and well-nourished communities. Please visit the summit website to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and download the sponsor guide. 

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Save the Date for the 2019 New England #f2isummit!

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The Farm to Institution New England team is pleased to announce that our 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit will be held on April 2-4, 2019 at UMass Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Thanks to FINE's strong network of local and regional food system partners, our 2015 and 2017 summits were both a tremendous success. FINE is eager to once again serve as the principal summit host, working with many partners to bring our region the third biennial New England Farm to Institution Summit. Collectively, we are committed to curating an event that meets the needs of our growing and dynamic network of stakeholders to mobilize institutions to transform our food system. 

The 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit steering committee is already laying the groundwork for our summit theme, structure, outreach, and funding elements. We invite you to save the date and stay tuned for more information! 

If you're interested in having an active role in shaping the summit, contact us at summit@farmtoinst.org to learn more.