Featuring food chain workers rights, racial equity, climate-friendly food, farm to corrections, and more!
The plenaries and receptions at the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit provide opportunities for all participants to join together to celebrate, mobilize and transform. They highlight some key topics and trends that help weave the stories and lessons from field trips, short courses, breakout sessions, and network time into whole cloth. Here’s a rundown of what’s up!
Tuesday, April 2: 5:00 to 7:00 pm
Reception in the Amherst Room
Gather after your field trip, short course or special meeting for a complimentary reception in the beautiful Amherst room with views of campus and environs. Enjoy complimentary antipasto and local cheeses while you connect with network stakeholders and get ready for the full summit to start on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday, April 3: 9:00 am to 10:15 am
Welcome & Opening Plenary
Peter Allison, FINE’s executive director, will welcome summit attendees, share brief reflections on our journey to the summit, and recognize all who have contributed. Ken Toong, the executive director of UMass Amherst Auxiliary Services, will extend the welcome as our summit host and discuss how providing local, healthy, sustainable, and delicious food has won UMass Dining The Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food in America award for three years in a row. Deputy chancellor Steve Goodwin will follow Ken and share how sustainable food fits into UMass’s broader educational and community mission.
We are thrilled to bring Jose Oliva, the co-founder and director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, to tell his story and talk about the issues confronting food chain workers throughout the food system. Jose will ask each of us how we connect with food chain workers, upon whom we all rely, and inspire us to keep those connections alive throughout the conference and beyond.
We will wrap up the morning with a call to action by Karen Spiller from Food Solutions New England to join the Racial Equity Challenge.
Wednesday, April 3: 12:15 to 1:30 pm
Lunch & Sustainable Seafood Success Story
Inspired by a connection made at the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit, seafood distributor Red’s Best secured funding from the USDA to support a value-added supply chain for the underutilized dog fish and found ready markets at UMass Amherst and other institutions. Come hear how the story unfolded as we enjoy the product that is reaching our tables. Tania Taranovski, FINE’s director of programs and long-time sustainable seafood advocate, will moderate a brief discussion with Doug Feeney, a fisherman involved in harvesting the product; Jared Auerbach, the founder of Red’s Best; and Robert Bankert (“chef Bob”), who will share how they menu dog fish at UMass.
Wednesday, April 3: 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Join the more than 40 exhibitors and the UMass Jazz Trio, enjoy hor d’oeuvres and cash bar, and make new connections.
Wednesday, April 3: 6:00 to 7:30 pm
The jazz trio will lead us into the dining area where we will enjoy a mostly un-programmed delicious dinner – but stay tuned for a few surprises!
Thursday, April 4: 7:30 to 9:00 am
Cool Climate Breakfast & Commissioner’s Corner
Consistent with our summit sustainability policy, we will be treated to a Cool Climate Breakfast on Thursday. Kathy Wicks, director of sustainability for UMass Auxiliary Services, will share steps taken to reduce the footprint of our meal, including menu choices, local sourcing, and waste reduction efforts.
Following Kathy, we will hear from John Lebeaux, the Massachusetts commissioner of agriculture, who will place the summit in context by providing an update on the commonwealth’s efforts to support agriculture and farm to institution programs. Commissioner Lebeaux will also discuss some regional updates based on his role as president of NEASDA, the Northeast Association of State Directors of Agriculture.
Lastly, we will hear from Randall Liberty, the newly appointed commissioner of the department of corrections in Maine, who will keynote our farm to corrections track, by sharing his vision for building stronger and healthier connections with local food throughout the state prison system in Maine, including on-site gardens and farms, education programs, and local food sourcing.
Thursday, April 4: 12:00 to 1:00 pm
Thursday’s lunch will be a delicious demonstration of creative repurposing of leftovers, as the UMass chefs bring new life to leftover foods from the amazing meals we will have enjoyed over the past two days. We will also hear from four sector representatives about the networking sessions they will be leading:
Health care: John Stoddard
K-12 schools: Betsy Rosenbluth
Campus: Andy Cox
Corrections: Abrah Dresdale
Thursday, April 4: 1:15 to 3:00 pm
Open Space & Sector Networking
The last session of the day will be an open space and networking time. The four sectors will each have a dedicated networking session, and there will be opportunities for others to suggest topics they want to focus on with colleagues from around the region.