2019 Speakers

Mary Berry

Mary BerryFeatured Presenter

Daughter of Wendell Berry, Mary is the Executive Director of the Berry Center. She speaks all over the country as a proponent of agriculture of the middle, in defense of small farmers, and in the hope of restoring a culture and an economy that has been lost in rural America.

 
Ellen Polishuk

Ellen Polishuk

Ellen provides consulting services to farmers around the country. She works with growers to design and improve production systems, to assess individual crop and enterprise profitability, make soil fertility recommendations, and to foster leadership capability so that farms can function smoothly and pleasurably. Clients work with Ellen via email, phone and site visits when needed.

Larry Kopald

Larry Kopald

Executive Director of The Carbon Underground, Larry will discuss how we can reverse climate change through proper agriculture.

Jim Embry

Jim Embry

Jim founded Sustainable Communities Network in 2006. Since that time Jim has guided the development of 30+ community garden projects at homeless shelters, schools, neighborhood empty lots, city parks, faith institutions, domestic violence shelters that is now creating a 40 acre farm, Plant to Plate at Family Care Center , drug court programs, AIDS programs and more! He has organized local food summits, served on planning committees for national food justice conferences, inspired youth community Mural Art projects and provided important leadership in many community initiatives. Locally, the organization sponsors an annual Bluegrass Local Food Summit, establishes community and school gardens around the state, and is a leader in the city’s food justice work.

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC, founder of Restoration Agriculture Development LLC and award-winning author of the book, Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers. Mark has also been a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, since 1995. He is most widely known as the founder of New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

Jason Adkins

Jason Adkins

Jason is the Environmental Projects Coordinator at Trevecca Nazarene University where through Trevecca Urban Farm students are nurturing seedlings to replant in Nashville’s low-income neighborhoods and community, and school gardens. Raising chickens for eggs and growing tilapia fish using aquaponic methods are just a few of the programs that are part of the school’s Center for Social Justice program whose mission is to help all people have access to healthy, affordable food.

Anne Byrn

Anne Byrn

Anne Byrn is a New York Times bestselling food writer and author based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her latest book, Skillet Love, explores the history and modern uses for the cast iron skillet. It follows American Cookie and American Cake, which NPR named one of the best cookbooks of 2016. Byrn’s previous books are the New York Times bestselling The Cake Mix Doctor and sequels. These cookbooks have nearly 4 million copies in print, and USA Today called The Cake Mix Doctor the bestselling cookbook of 2000. Byrn is a contributor to Food52, The Local Palate, and the Bitter Southerner. She produces her own line of Cake Mix Doctor natural cake mixes, sold in nearly 1,500 supermarkets nationwide.

David Cook

David Cook

David Cook of the UT Extension Service in Davidson County, also known as “The Bug Man”, will speak about local insect identification and best practices when it comes to controlling the population.

Irucka Embry

Irucka Embry

Irucka Embry, E.I.T. is a creative & multi-faceted person. He is an advocate of everyone eating, ecological activist, environmental engineer, grower of food, herbalist (“lover and user of plants”), performing and visual artist, public speaker, published author, and small business owner (EcoC2S). Irucka recognizes that the most healthy food will be grown in healthy and lively soil that is wetted by healthy water.

Cliff Davis

Cliff Davis

Cliff & Jen are best known as the owners of Spiral Ridge Permaculture, a consultation/design firm and off-grid learning center, offering services and classes in Tennessee and the southeast U.S. They offer trainings in Permaculture Design, Agroforestry, Market Gardening, Animal Husbandry, Natural Building, Earthworks, Ecological Forestry and Mushroom Farming. They are both well sought after trainers, for their comprehensive knowledge base in regenerative lifestyle practices. Cliff is provides land/farm/community consultation, planning and design work.

Obiora Embry

Obiora Embry

Obiora Embry is not only an author but also a poet, amateur photographer, born again artist, entrepreneur, engineer‐in‐training, and a developer with a love for what is real and natural. He finds beauty in Nature and knows that we must “wake up from our collective slumber” to solve the problems we humans have created. Obiora is a life‐long learner and on his journey he has been educating and healing himself, mentoring and educating others, volunteering, growing food and cooking flavorful, colorful, healthy meals.

Robin Fazio

Robin Fazio

Robin is the founder and coordinator of Baylor’s first organic garden, in which students grow fruits and vegetables which are sold to the dining hall and Baylor faculty, staff, and parents. Robin uses the garden—and his classroom—to teach students life lessons. “The best thing I can do for them is teach them responsibility. For example, they need to show up on time, work hard, and put their tools away after working in the garden. I am teaching a work ethic that will carry them through life.”

Susannah Fotopulos

Susannah Fotopulos

Susannah Fotopulos is the founder and director of Plant the Seed. She sees sowing, preparing and sharing food as a powerful tool for starting cross-cultural conversations and growing together in community. Susannah grew up on a 72-acre farm in rural Tennessee, where her family raised a 3-acre vegetable garden and shared bountiful harvests with neighbors, learning early the important role fresh food plays in building community.

Dodd Galbreath

Dodd Galbreath

In the Fall of 2007, Professor Galbreath of Lipscomb Univserity founded the Institute for Sustainable Practice, the Southeast’s first, comprehensive, academic sustainability program. His courses include Earth systems, water management, renewable energy, and creation care. Professor Galbreath has studied sustainability throughout the United States, China, and eight European countries. He provides consulting services and facilitates issue discussion forums. Over his 35 year career, Professor Galbreath has also served in the federal government, at three university research centers, and has received two statewide leadership awards.

Jeremy Lekich

Jeremy Lekich

Jeremy started Nashville Foodscapes in 2010 with a truck and a shovel. Almost a decade later, the company has grown to 12 employees, three trucks, and countless gardens and landscapes that we have built and continue to maintain. The company is currently transitioning to a worker-owned cooperative and working to rewrite the story of what it means to grow food and work the land. My passion is growing food of all kinds and doing it in a way that is attractive and healthy for the individual and the community. Jeremy is a community resilience enthusiast and believes in the power of a localized economy and an inspired, well-fed community.

Ian McSweeney

Ian McSweeney

Ian is deeply passionate and committed to bring about innovation to evolve farmland conservation work to holistically address equitable, secure, and affordable ownership and tenure arrangements, farm viability, conservation, and community resilience to ensure regenerative diversified food production that benefits soil, human, and community health. Ian recently founded Farmland Consulting LLC to Support Communities Through Farmland Preservation and is excited to lead Agrarian Trust as Organizational Director.

Karyn Moskowitz

Karyn Moskowitz

Karyn Moskowitz is the Founder and Executive Director of New Roots, based in Louisville, Kentucky. New Roots ignites community power for fresh food access through their Fresh Stop Market movement. Fresh Stop Markets are all local, organic fresh produce markets that pop up biweekly in communities with limited access to fresh food. Families pool their SNAP Benefits and other means of payment on an income-based sliding scale—paying two weeks ahead of the market day—everybody getting the same share (bag) of seasonal produce every other week for 22 weeks, regardless of what they pay. All markets are volunteer/shareholder powered, and features a lively, supportive, family atmosphere, and a chef doing cooking demos and sharing healthy recipes. In 2019—New Roots 10th season—they connected 650 families (65% of them identifying as limited resourced) with seven Kentucky and southern Indiana farmers, for a total farm impact of $150K.

Erin Byers Murray

Erin Byers Murray

Erin Byers Murray is a Nashville-based food writer, author, and magazine editor. As editor-at-large at Nashville Lifestyles, she covers the food, culture, and people of Nashville. Her four books include Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm, the James Beard-nominated The New England Kitchen, and Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through the South. Erin is the recipient of the Les Dames d’Escoffier International M.F.K. Fisher Award for excellence in culinary writing and the New England Society Book Award, and her writing has been featured in publications like Food & Wine, The Local Palate, the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Wine & Spirits, as well as three editions of Best Food Writing.

Alan Powell

Alan Powell

Alan Powell is a founder and driving force behind Nashville Grown, a veritable local food sourcing guru. He manages the often headache-inducing logistics of getting the local farm produce delivered to Nashville’s greatest chefs and most popular restaurants. For 6 years before NG was fully operational, Alan managed the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for Long Hungry Creek Farm, home of the “Barefoot Farmer,” Jeff Poppen. Alan saw an opportunity to build-out a system that supplies local farm products to local restaurant and catering businesses. By creating NG as a non-profit, that system had a chance to grow. Over 65 farms within 100 miles of Nashville have a stronger economic foothold in the restaurant business where they otherwise would be squeezed out by large distributors and imported produce. Alan is also a trained wild food forager.

Tallu Quinn

Tallu Quinn

Tallu is the Executive Director of The Nashville Food Project. The Nashville Food Project embraces a vision of vibrant community food security in which everyone in Nashville has access to the food they want and need through a just and sustainable food system.

Louisa Shafia

Louisa Shafia

Louisa Shafia is the author of The New Persian Kitchen, winner of Food52’s Piglet Award. She has cooked at notable restaurants in San Francisco and New York, and cooking has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Bon Appétit, and on National Public Radio. New York Magazine called her long-running Iranian street food pop-up “a Persian-tapas gateway into the ancient cuisine.” Louisa serves as Culinary Liaison for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, both cooking for and organizing internationally themed food events to support their work. To see her schedule of upcoming events visit her website.

Kylee Thatcher

Kylee Thatcher

Kylee is in charge of all things wooden at BootHill Blades. When knifemaking began to consume Jared’s time, she stepped in and picked up all the small wood projects he had started, but never finished. She expanded the lineup of hand carved offerings and continues to innovate new designs to make functional and beautiful kitchenware. When she is not carving or hand-sanding, she can be found tending to the chickens or imparting her wisdom and passion for cooking to their three daughters.

Robin Verson

Robin Verson

Robin Verson, along with her husband Paul Bela, have managed Hill and Hollow Farm for 21 years. Robin has worked to bring CSA to Nashville, has marketed certified organic vegetables at the downtown Nashville Farmers Market for 20 years and has done everything in those two decades to increases awareness of the region’s sustainable farms and farmers through affiliations with CRAFT groups, the Southern Appalachia Fibershed, Women Farmers of Middle Tennessee, the BDA and their NABDAP program. For the past 18 years Hill and Hollow Farm has gradually built a reputation for offering an array of on farm experiences from one day educational workshops, to multi day overnight trips for elementary and middle school aged children. Robin looks forward to sharing her insights and delights of on farm hosting as part of a panel discussion on agritourisn at the 2019 Local Food Summit.

Nancy Vienneau

Nancy Vienneau

Nancy Vienneau expresses her passion for food wearing many hats: chef, recovered caterer, food educator and activist, writer and cookbook author.

A New York transplant to Nashville as a child, she began cooking professionally in 1980. Twenty-five years and ten thousand cream cheese brownies later, she sold her catering company to turn her attention to food writing and education. Her work appears in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Relish, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Edible Nashville, her restaurant column for The Tennessean and her blog Good Food Matters.

In 2014, Harper Collins published her first cookbook, the Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, based on a local, seasonally driven potluck gathering she co-hosted in Nashville for seven years.

David Wells

David Wells

From CSA’s to natural dye production, David Wells has been building businesses and communities around sustainable agriculture in Nashville, Tennessee for over ten years. As Garden Coordinator for The CHAMP’s Gardens program at Monroe Carrell Jr’s Children Hospital at Vanderbilt, David helped to create a new agricultural track for both Glencliff and Overton High School. He went on to win Farmer of the Year Award from Margot, a local restaurant, in 2011 and to co-chair the Nashville School Garden Coalition.

Advancements in mycology have been creating several new industries in food production, regenerative farming, and ecological restoration. Henosis is proud to be bringing these industries to Nashville, TN.” – David Wells.

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson

Owner of Citizens Kitchen, Chef Laura Wilson has helped to bridge the gap between local food and consumers, offering more options of healthy, local eating to the people of Nashville.

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