2018 Agenda

Agenda and program are being finalized and are subject to modification


Tuesday, May 8

8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. - WELCOME from Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona & Local First Arizona Foundation

8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - KEYNOTE from Deborah Frieze

From Separation to Relationship: The Changing Nature of Food and Finance

9:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - LIGHTNING TALKS

  • Double Up Food Bucks; Adrienne Udarbe, Pinnacle Prevention
  • Farm Express; Elyse Guidas, Discovery Triangle
  • Maricopa County Food System Coalition; Rosanne Albright, City of Phoenix
  • Local First Arizona Membership; Cameron Kulik, Local First Arizona
  • Good Food Finder AZ; Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Foundation

10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - NETWORKING BREAK

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 1

  • Keynote Workshop: Impactful Investing in Food | Final Assembly
  • Collaborating for Long-Term Resilience: Multi-Commodity Agricultural Co-op Development in Arizona | The Carport
  • Small-Scale Food Safety: Who and What to Know in 2018 | The Farm Barn

12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Local Lunch on Your Own

  • Farmers Market Manager Lunch (by invitation only) | Community Garden
  • What’s Your Story? | Joe’s Farm Grill Patio

Grab your lunch and join this informal meet & greet with Kate Cox, Editor in Chief of the New Food Economy, to pitch your story of how you’re bending the arc toward Good Food here in Arizona.

1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 2

  • From Need to Opportunity: The CSA Program at Desert Mission Food Bank | Final Assembly
  • Market-Based Conservation: The Verde River Flows & We Drink Good Beer | The Carport
  • Squeezed in the Middle: Distributors of Local Food Navigate Needs of Producers & Chefs | The Farm Barn

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - NETWORKING BREAK

3:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 3

  • Opportunity in Arizona: Adopt-A-Sonoran-Desert-Crop | The Community Garden
  • Space for Cultivation: Integrating Agriculture into Urban Environments | Final Assembly
  • How to Get Your Story Told | The Farm Barn

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - RESOURCE EXPO

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - PICNIC DINNER (included in ticket price)

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - MOVIE IN THE ORCHARD

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste presented by Edible Phoenix


wednesday, may 9

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - TOUR THE FARM AT AGRITOPIA

The Farm at Agritopia was founded with a strong vision for urban agriculture, and has learned and grown since its inception. Tour leaders Farmer Tim Colby and Property Manager Katie Critchley will share insights, challenges, and lessons learned along the way.

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - WELCOME

9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 4

  • USDA Grant Funds on the Ground in Arizona: Lessons from Arizona Food Entrepreneurs | The Carport
  • The Farm Bill & Me: What to Know About the 2018 Farm Bill | Final Assembly
  • From Hobby to Business: Making the Jump Into Food Careers | The Farm Barn

10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - NETWORKING BREAK

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 5

  • Traditional Funding Pathways: Small Business Loans and Farm Service Agency Programs | Final Assembly
  • Building the Business Case for Environmental Sustainability | The Carport
  • Identifying Local Food Marketing Strategies: How to Reach your Target Consumer Using Market Research | The Farm Barn

12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. - CATERED LUNCH (included in ticket price)

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSION 6

  • Diversifying Your Revenue Stream: Accessing Institutional Markets | Final Assembly
  • Higher Education in Local Food Economies: A Conversation of Resources | The Carport
  • Inside the Minds of Buyers | The Farm Barn

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - BREAK



Your first drink (alcoholic or non) is on us, presented by  Bar / Restaurant Insurance






Keynote Workshop: Impactful Investing in Food

  • Deborah Frieze, Keynote Speaker
  • Moderated by Natalie Morris, Local First Arizona Foundation

In this interactive workshop, attendees will explore the idea that where you get cash matters, and discuss creative collaborations and solutions to aggregate funds for projects that enhance our communities.

Collaborating for Long Term Resilience: Multi-commodity agriculture co-op development in Arizona

  • Mark Rhine, Rhiba Farms and Sun Produce Cooperative 
  • Cindy Gentry, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Sun Produce Cooperative 
  • John Penry, Penry Consulting and Sun Produce Cooperative 
  • Dave Brady, BAR-B Produce and Sun Produce Cooperative 

The business of small-scale farming is tough. When a small group of small-scale farmers in Maricopa County were barely making ends meet, they decided to band together, jointly market their crops, compound resources, and form the Sun Produce Cooperative to improve their bottom line. Hear their story, learn the nuts and bolts, and consider your next steps.

Small Scale Food Safety: Who and What to Know in 2018

  • Stewart Jacobson, Arizona Department of Agriculture
  • Joseph Oddo, Arizona Department of Agriculture
  • Chaz Shelton, Merchant's Garden

Food safety is a shared responsibility. This session will focus on the tools and procedures necessary for certification of food safety practices from a company-wide standpoint including those involved in the planting, harvesting, and handling of fresh produce. Participants will learn how to implement change and be asked to create a produce safety plan specific to their individual business or company. The session will also identify opportunities for cost-sharing and any changes mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act.


From Need to Opportunity: The CSA program at Desert Mission Food BanK

  • Anne Costa, HonorHealth Desert Mission Food Bank
  • Bernadette Bucco, Crooked Sky Farms

The HonorHealth Network knows that food is medicine. That’s why they tackle food insecurity and increase healthy food access for those who need it most by bringing Arizona-grown produce to clients and staff by partnering with a local farm. Attend this session to learn how need for healthy food doubles as a reliable market.

Market-Based Conservation: The Verde River flows & we drink good beer

  • Kimberly Schonek, The Nature Conservancy of Arizona
  • Chip Norton, Sinagua Malt
  • Chris Chappell, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company 

What happens when you combine consumer demand with a river in need of conservation? Some incredibly creative collaboration and crop planning. In this discussion, learn the story of Sinagua Malt in the Verde Valley, which serves as a local processor to combine efforts with local farms, conservation groups, and a brewer committed to local sourcing and celebration.

Squeezed in the Middle: Distributors of local food navigate needs of producers & chefs

  • Kristen Osgood, Stern Produce Arizona Fresh Together
  • Rj Johnson, Peddler's Son Produce & Provisions
  • Erik Stanford, Pivot Produce

Locally owned produce distribution companies are turning their eyes local, helping connect producers with the food service industry around the state to meet the growing wholesale demand for Arizona-grown goods. But it’s not always easy meeting the needs of small scale producers and the demanding turnaround times of chefs. Learn these three company’s ins and outs of navigating this complex role as a middleman.


Opportunity in Arizona: Adopt-A-Sonoran-Desert-Crop

  • Sterling Johnson, Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Juan Chavez, Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture and AmeriCorps VISTA

Are you ready to be a part of the desert food revolution for sustainability and longevity? Gardeners and organizations are invited to adopt Sonoran desert-adapted crops and sustainable agricultural methods in their food production though grassroots civic action. This session will explore those program outcomes and highlight opportunities for gardener, farmer, and community engagement, and will feature tasting samples and demonstrate planting techniques in-ground.

Space for Cultivation: Integrating Agriculture Into Urban Environments

  • Matthew Moore, The Farm at Los Olivos
  • Katie Critchley, Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture
  • Ingrid Hirtz, Community Cuisine and El Rancho Housing Development
  • John Wann, Spaces of Opportunity
  • Moderated by Connor Descheemaker, Local First Arizona For(u)m

Local First AZ For(u)m facilitates a discussion with the Valley’s top urban agriculture practitioners to discuss how a sustainable local food system feeds a sustainable local built environment. Presenters will share their work in temporary, and permanent, installations of urban farms across the Valley, discussing how proximity to community makes their projects viable and powerful. Discussion will center upon how these projects took shape, the partners involved, zoning conditions, engagement with neighbors, and how their models work in perpetuity to ensure these projects continue.

You’re Already Newsworthy: How to Get Your Story Told

  • Pamela Hamilton, Edible Phoenix
  • Dorie Morales, Green Living Magazine
  • Jennifer McClellan, Arizona Republic
  • Kate Cox, The New Food Economy

You’re already working hard planning, growing, harvesting, packaging, transporting, selling; but you’ve got a story to tell that others (your customers, policymakers, etc). need to know. How do you maximize your time and effort to get your message to resonate with others? This session will convene local and national experts that can help you craft, refine, and deliver your message to media, policymakers, and other key influencers.


USDA Grant Funds on the Ground in Arizona: Lessons from Arizona's food entrepreneurs

  • Karalea Cox, Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation
  • Johnathan Netzy, Local Alternative Inc. and Tepa Vegan Protein
  • Nina Sajovec, Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Moderated by Jeff Hays, USDA Rural Development

Many federal funds are open to farmers, food entrepreneurs, and supply chain advocates, but where do you start your search and craft a successful application? Arizona entrepreneurs from business & nonprofit worlds share how they navigated federal grant opportunities to find prosperity.

The Farm Bill & Me: What to know about the 2018 Farm Bill

  • Adrienne Udarbe, Pinnacle Prevention

When news is flying out of Washington at a hundred miles a minute, it’s a challenge to keep an eye on the things that matter to us here in Arizona food and agriculture. Pinnacle Prevention will lead this presentation and discussion about how the 2018 Farm Bill will impact farming livelihood, determine how food is grown and which foods are grown, as well as who can access them.

From Hobby to Business: Making the jump into food careers

  • Jeff Malkoon, PB Americano
  • Tamara Stanger, Helio Basin Brewing Company
  • Moderated by Kimberly Roland, Better Business Bureau

Growing food, pickling veggies, and baking cakes are often pastimes of passion. But when you’re working 80 hours a week or investing money in a hobby, there often comes a point where you must not only make ends meet, but begin to support yourself and a family. So how do you turn a hobby, a passion, into a business? Local entrepreneurs and young food leaders will share their stories of finding their niche and becoming successful leaders in Arizona’s food scene.


Funding Pathways: Small business loans and Farm Service Agency programs

  • Rachel Burgoyne, Accion
  • Fred San Nicolas, Arizona Farm Service Agency
  • Shawneen Stevenson, Maricopa/Pinal/Pima County Farm Service Agency
  • Danny Knee, Community Investment Corporation

In this session, attendees will learn about a variety of ways to think to seek capital for beginning or growing a food business, paying special attention to low-interest and small business loan opportunities. Whether you are in downtown Flagstaff ready to build new hoop houses, or a producer looking to supply long-term products to grocers, this session will help you know what’s out there.

Building the Business Case for Environmental Sustainability

  • Jeremy Krones, Diablo Trust
  • Olga Borquez, Wholesum Harvest
  • Moderated by Rebecca de la Torre, USDA Arizona Natural Resource Conservation Services

Sustaining the Sonoran desert’s resources is critical to the long-term success of any business. In this session, local sustainability leaders Wholesum Harvest (Amado, AZ) and Diablo Trust (Flagstaff, AZ) will discuss their programs and how caring for their employees, product, and planet is integral to their business models.  

Identifying Local Food Marketing Strategies: How to reach your target consumer using market research

  • Dr. Carola Grebitus, ASU Morrison School of Agribusiness
  • Dr. Renée Shaw Hughner, ASU Morrison School of Agribusiness

In a marketplace characterized by intense competition, successful food and agribusiness companies are those that reach their target consumers efficiently and effectively. To do so, market research is key. This session introduces practical ways to conduct market research and showcases consumer-oriented food marketing strategies. Findings from research conducted with Arizona Grown Medjool dates is presented as an example. Then, the audience will get hands-on experience developing their own consumer survey.


Diversifying Your Revenue Stream: Accessing institutional markets

  • Ashley Schimke, Arizona Department of Education

Leverage the opportunities in institutional purchasing to broaden your revenue portfolio. Attendees will be able to determine the benefits of institutional purchasing (i.e. opportunities to scale-up), identify the scope and landscape that exists in Arizona, and compare available tools and resources that help to navigate the institutional markets like food safety, procurement and pack-size requirements.  

Higher Education in Local Food Economies

  • Dr. Megan Carney, University of Arizona
  • Dr. Andrew Berardy, ASU Food Systems Transformation Initiative
  • Dr. Lauren Chenarides, ASU Morrison School of Agribusiness
  • Samantha Zah, Local First Arizona Foundation

Higher education is moving beyond the classroom walls to provide communities and Arizona with the resources they need to build thriving local food communities. This panel will explore active ways in which Arizona’s institutions of higher education are filling those needs in their immediate communities, both urban and rural.

Inside the Minds of Buyers | The Farm Barn

  • Patti Marrs, The Orme School
  • Gina LaBenz, Even Stevens Sandwiches
  • Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit and Rum Bar
  • Moderated by Natalie Morris, Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition

Chefs and local restaurants are feeling the pressure for local produce on their menus, but what does it take to get your produce or product into a kitchen? Hear from three chefs: at a school, a fine dining establishment, and a popular sandwich shop about what they’re looking for in their purveyors.





Organic eatery serving plant-centric, local-focused, and seasonal cuisine.

fire and brimstone

Bold and hearty wood-fired cuisine specializing in pizza, sandwiches, and salads.

the coffee shop

Airy cafe with full espresso bar and hearty breakfast and lunch dishes.


Liberty Market

Award-winning local restaurant offering hand-crafted American cuisine, espresso bar, and craft beverages.

higley hot dog hut

Long-standing local hot dog hut with all the delicious hot dog toppings you could ask for.

joe's real bbq

Real BBQ slow-cooked over pecan wood and served with a side of genuine hospitality.

arizona bbq company

Traditional BBQ with an Arizona kick that is locally grown and locally sourced.

backyard taco

Serving up mesquite-grilled scrumptious tacos to friends and neighbors since 2005.

talew thai bistro

Family-owned bistro serving creative and authentic Thai dishes with vegetarian and gluten-free options available.


ARIZONA Food & Farm Forum

May 8 & 9, 2018
The Farm at Agritopia  |  gilbert, arizona