Farm to Community Wellness: Networking Local Food Supply Chains

Organic University, Thursday February 23, 2023 1:30-5:30

Volunteers repack food from Tribal and local producers for the Tribal Elder Foodboxes at Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative 2021

This workshop invites BIPOC and other historically underserved producers, distributors, and food outlets to share their successes and innovations. The event intends to create space to expand networking and strengthen connections among and between communities creating equitable & fair food supply chains.

Sixteen speakers from the Upper Midwest will share their experiences in building capacity to produce, process, distribute, and feed our communities.  The agenda includes opportunities to discuss and explore ideas and approaches with participants at a roundtable session. The panel sessions will be translated for Spanish and Hmong speakers.

121 participants registered in advance. Registration is now closed. Walk-in registration is available.

Marbleseed is sponsoring the event, with funding from the USDA LFPA program, Organic Valley, Cultural Conservancy, and Slow Food USA. Key partners in organizing the event include the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, REAP Food Group, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Coalition.


Noon – 1:30pm   Hosted Lunch, Marbleseed & DATCP

1:15- 1:30  B.E. Farrow & Mariel Romero Mendez, to give a performance that seeks to ground the meeting in the principles of organic agriculture set forth through soil scientist Jairo Restrepo Rivera*** and the opportunity to create systems outside current dispossessing models.

1:30 – 1:50  Welcome

  • Dan Cornelius (Oneida), University of Wisconsin-Madison, convener
  • Lori Stern, Marbleseed
  • Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Gary Besaw, Menominee Nation Department of Agriculture and Food Systems

1:50-2:00 Table introductions

2:00-2:45 Panel, April Yancer, DATCP moderator

Building distribution: partnerships from farmer to community efforts for strengthening food systems

Elder food box program

  • Kara Black, Fresh Category Procurement Coordinator, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
  • Jen Falck, (Oneida) Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, Menominee Nation
  • Isaiah Skenandore, (Oneida) farmer provider

Badger Box program

  • Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force
  • Jon Greendeer, (HoChunk), Health and Wellness Coordinator, Ho Chunk Nation, and farmer provider

2:45 – 3:00 Break

3:00-3:45 Panel, Sarah Lloyd, moderator

Building production and processing capacity for wholesale

  • Regi Haslett-Marroquin, Tree Range, on poultry processing
  • Tara Roberts Turner, Wisconsin Food Hub Coop, on vegetable wholesaling
  • Ann Vang, Sib Pab Lead, Central Rivers Farmshed, on grower support

3:45-4pm Break

4pm-4:45 Panel, Dan Cornelius (Oneida) University of Wisconsin – Madison, moderator

Connecting Across the Supply Chain: Building Farm to School, Retail and Restaurant Capacity

  • Rodrigo Cala, Latino Economic Development Corporation, on organizing farmers to joint market in the Twin Cities
  • Venice Williams, Alice’s Garden & Sherman Phoenix, on retailing local food
  • Sean Sherman, (Oglala), Owamni restaurant/ Indigenous Food Lab, on supplying food to restaurants

4:45-5:30 Roundtable discussion

5:30-5:45  B.E. Farrow & Mariel Romero Mendez, closing performance.

6:00 Reception


***Jairo Restrepo Rivera is a Latin American soil scientist with an extensive contribution to the written literature on organic agriculture and remineralizing the soil. He has worked as a consultant to governments, the United Nations, NGOs, and taught at several universities. Rivera is currently affiliated with the Juquira Vandellia Cirrhosa Foundation in Brazil. He says,

“What we need to discuss is, what gives life to plants? What animates the minerals so that they can be transformed into biodiversity? For this we have to make a great effort as scientists to understand that agriculture and plants aren’t the arbitrary sum of minerals: plants are harmony, a symphony, a miracle of nature. For me, is enough to respect the miracle, feel that life is beautiful and that we have to defend it and live it intensely.”