Thank you to all who joined us at the 2019 Food & Farm Forum!

Next, be sure to:


April 30 & May 1, 2019
The Farm at Agritopia  |  gilbert, arizona

The AZ Food & Farm Forum is a 2-day conference for producers, food entrepreneurs, and local food advocates, programmed to change the way our desert state feeds itself. The event features networking sessions, nationally-acclaimed keynote speakers, instructional workshops, & the opportunity to grow your local food community.

What To Expect

“I found a seminar for every business question our farm was facing with expert guidance and easy application methods to put into practice. I found the comfortable environment was perfect for collaboration and networking between events. It was easy, comfortable, informative, inviting and certainly had my interest as a farmer as top priority. 2019 is going to be another step in the right direction for Arizona, and the Food and Farm Forum is one of those central pieces.”

Gibson Rade, Farmer at Whipstone Farm

2018 Food & Farm Forum Attendee

“Honestly, I changed my whole career after 2017’s Food & Farm Forum. I didn’t know there were people in the Regenerative Business space, until I met keynote Ethan Soloviev. 2018 delivered yet again, with keynote Deborah Frieze's work in the Regenerative Economy. I was also able to connect with our competitors. I’d never met RJ [from Peddler’s Son Produce & Provisions] and I wasn’t certain how Erik’s [of Pivot Produce] program works. We all have different avenues with the same goals of supporting Arizona’s local farmers, together.”

Kristen Osgood, Strategy Manager at Stern

2017 & 2018 Food & Farm Forum Attendee

Who Should Attend

  • Food Producers & Entrepreneurs: farmers, ranchers, food artisans, & home gardeners

  • Market Managers & Distributors

  • Industry professionals with the desire to connect with the needs of local food production

  • SNAP-Ed and Food Access Advocates

  • Youth: 4-H members, FFA students

  • Chefs & Restaurateurs 

  • Any community member dedicated to community food system development


Speakers & Programming


Tuesday Keynote: Gary Paul Nabhan

A first-generation Lebanese American, Nabhan has been working with, and learning from farmers and foragers in several indigenous communities on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border for over thirty years.

Co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH and numerous other key organizers in the southwest, Nabhan currently serves as the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwestern Borderlands Food and Water Security at the University of Arizona Southwest Center.

Join Nabhan as he presents success stories from Arizona, highlighting how working for a healthier food system is one of the few goals that bridge the many divides in America today, by uniting urban and rural, left and right, immigrant and indigenous, producer and consumer in ways that build lasting collaborations.


Wednesday Keynote: Steve Sossaman

Steve is a fourth-generation farmer at Sossaman Farms in Queen Creek. Steve farms and manages approximately 800 acres, which includes heritage grains and alfalfa. He has been farming full time for 40 years, which was homesteaded in 1919. Steve has over 25 years of land planning experience and enjoying doing land development in the East Valley. He is also working with Hayden Flour Mills and Grain R and D, which are both located on Sossaman Farms.

Married 40 years to his childhood sweetheart, Chris Sossaman, he is most proud of their three daughters who are the fifth generation to live on the farm.

Join Steve as he shares his experiences saying “yes!” to new relationships and opportunities to become one of Arizona’s best-known agriculturalists in modern markets.


The 2019 programming is arranged into three tracks, designed for growers, marketers, and community food supporters


Presented by arizona's leaders & innovators


Rosanne Albright

City of Phoenix


Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture

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Kelley Villa

Pinnacle Prevention


Mark Rhine

Rhiba Farms


Stewart Jacobson

Arizona Department of Agriculture


David DeLorenzo

Bar & Restaurant Insurance


Matthew Schmidbauer

Arizona Farm Bureau


Sharma Torrens

Arizona Department of Agriculture

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Cynthia Melde

Pinnacle PRevention


David Schwake

Litchfield Elementary School District


Kathleen Carlson

Pinnacle Prevention


Maya Dailey

Maya’s Farm & Sun Produce Cooperative


May Abraham

Best Farmers Market


Helene Tack

Local First Arizona


Emily Bell

Good Food Finder AZ


Joyce & John BIttner

Fossil Creek Creamery


Courtney Boyer

Duncan Family Farms


Rachel Burgoyne



Dennis Moroney

47 Ranch / Cross U Cattle Co.


Kevin Fort

Regenerative Business Institute


Elyse Guidas

Farm Express


Melanie Albert

Experience Nutrition

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Zach Brooks

Arizona Worm Farm


Paul Cordero

Duncan Family Farms


Jilliann Feltham

Arizona Farm to School Network & Osborn School District


Marina Acosta-Ortiz

Maricopa County Cooperative Extension


Tim Colby

Farm at Agritopia


Katie Critchley

Farm at Agritopia


Patty Emmert

Duncan Family Farms and Slow Food Phoenix/Blue Watermelon

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Rena Shifren

ProSense Consumer Research


Sterling Johnson

Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture


Tamara Stanger

Cotton & Copper


Nina Sajovec

Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture


Terrol Johnson

Desert Rain Café


Sun Produce Cooperative


Melanie Albert

Experience Nutrition


Ilse Rojas

Apex Applied Technologies


Christopher Wharton

Arizona State Univeristy

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Ed Martin

Maricopa County Cooperative Extension


Shawneen Stevenson

Arizona Farm Service Agency


Jonathan Netzky

Local Alternative Inc.


Noland Johnson

Alexander Pancho Memorial Farm


Patrick Kehler

Phoenix Convention Center


Gabe Gardner

Local First Arizona Foundation


Lauren saria

AZ Central


Norman Barnett

Arizona Department of Agriculture


Benten Anders

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona


JD Hill

Recycled City LLC

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Chef Krystal Harris

Healthy Roots Cafe & Spaces of Opportunity

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Emma Yates



Colton Hernandez

Arizona Farm Service Agency

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Velvet Button

Ramona Farms

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Our Venue

the farm at agritopia

3000 E Ray Road

Gilbert, Arizona 85296

Venue Map







Sustainability at the Food & Farm Forum

Local First Arizona works hard to lessen the environmental impact of this, and all our events. We first work to reduce the amount of waste created, and then recycle & compost all acceptable materials. Learn more about our sustainability efforts here.

Please bring your reusable water bottle and utilize the composting and recycling receptacles around Agritopia to help us achieve these goals.

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors for investing in our strong community food Network!

Click here to learn about sponsoring the Arizona Food & Farm Forum

 Click here for lessons learned at the 2018 Forum.