Empowering Farmers – Nelson Hawkins

The next generation of farmers of color are being inspired and  empowered to grow high quality seasonal vegetables for local urban communities.  It’s a mission of We Grow Farms and the Ujamaa Farmer Collective to grow food regeneratively, ensure secure land tenure and promote equitable access to resources for historically underserved farmers of color. Nelson Hawkins is featured at Eco Farm and Farm To Table Talk to share the story of how Sacramento urban farmer natives are making a difference for themselves, their community and other aspiring farmers. #EcoFarm2024



Grain Changer – Jeff Van Pevenage

Many segments of Agriculture are experiencing changes to increased focus on regenerative, sustainable, more earth friendly farming practices. Although farmers usually prioritize doing what is best for their soil, today’s changes are being hastened by major food companies such as Mars and WalMart requiring confirmation of the practices that their consumers are increasingly expecting.  Jeff Van Pevenage is the President at CEO  of Portland based Columbia Grain International where the mission is to nourish the world safely by supporting producers and customers in an evolving Ag landscape. www.columbiagrain.com

Farm To Freezer Fresh – Ruben Cortez & Wesley O’Brien

The peak of freshness is often best achieved by freezing.  The advances in freezing technologies is allowing consumers to enjoy breeds, varieties, climate friendly production practices and geographical differences in food products both at their favorite store and direct to their door from farmers around the world. Ruben Cortez and  Wesley O’Brien, co-founders of Frozen Logistics are empowering farmers, particularly small-scale and local producers, by offering them a direct channel to reach consumers. This includes increased revenue for farmers, cost savings for consumers, and the convenience of purchasing directly with cold chain management, stringent quality control,  eco-friendly packaging and efficient transportation. www.frozenlogistics.com



Raising Pigs Today- Cheryl Walsh

Raising pigs for pork today is different than yesteryears.  Pig farms are much larger and more specialized with “sow farms” artificially inseminating females, farrowing pigs and supplying ‘wean to finish’ pork producers with weaned 15 pound pigs to grow to market weights of about 280 pounds. On Cheryl Walsh’s family’s sow farm fresh boar semen is delivered twice a week to breed over 2,000 sows who produce close to 30 pigs each per year. A pig is is born about every minute of every day and Cheryl still finds time to explain how and why pigs are raised the way they are today. www.ilpork.com

Dream Delicious – Alec Jaffe

Yes a well raised vegetable can taste great, but it’s not ice cream. What if every time you dig into ice cream, you could be supporting the next movement of farming, positively changing our planet for a better future: removing harmful carbon from our air; creating water-retaining soil; building biodiverse and nutrient-rich topsoil. Alec Jaffe taught himself to make ice cream in elementary school for a school project and grew up exploring his relatives’ sustainable farmland. He didn’t realize how defining those childhood moments would be until he was an uninspired and unsatisfied adult perusing pints in the freezer aisle. He knew we could do better so he perfected his signature recipe and set out to source the best earth friendly ingredients. The result is Alec’s Ice Cream a first-ever regenerative organic ice cream—improving the world through the way it’s created and through the smiles that it creates in turn. www.alecsicecream.com

Ag Past to Ag Future – Dino Giacomazzi

Keeping family farms viable will require higher technology and diversification that goes beyond past experience.  Tomorrow’s farmers may need to learn robotics or global trend analysis and how to create non-traditional income streams, outside of agriculture.  Dino Giacomazzi considers these options as he reflects on his experience that started on a Central Valley  California Dairy to global music touring and Bay Area high tech before returning to the farm where it was necessary to shift from dairy to almonds. Now he sees even more changes ahead if his own children decide to continue the family farm.

Farm In NYC – Jordan Settlage

If we can’t bring the city to the farm, bring the farm to the city. That’s what Organic  farmers did during Climate Week. Right in Rockefeller Center a pop up farm was created complete with tractor, barn, cows (sort of) and real farmers, including Ohio dairy farmer Jordan Settlage.  Since the US is losing 100,00 family farms each decade it’s time to not just tell consumers where their food comes from but how we all need to protect where their food is coming from. www.organicvalley.com

QR Farm to Menu –

QR codes can add important farm and ranch stories to menus wherever increasingly curious customers are purchasing food.  Coming out of the pandemic, consumers began seeing QR codes with menu selections that allowed them to order at the new outdoor sidewalk venues without handling traditional menus.  Although restrictions have eased, QR codes have not gone away and in fact are becoming more prevalent — sometimes allowing consumers to see precisely where their food purchase came from and how it was produced. Eric Seymour, VP of Channel Programs with www.meandu.com sees restaurant owners banking on technology and consumers welcoming smart tech personalization that could include taking diners on a virtual trip to the origin of their orders.

Environmental Progress – Sara Place

Nine per cent of all green house gas emissions in the US are from Agriculture and cattle are responsible for 2%.  To identify the magnitude of the challenges, EPA does an annual inventory of the GHG contributions from each industry. In the effort to achieve carbon neutrality, Methane from cattle production has become a major target; however per capita consumption has already been declining for years while the population keeps growing, with corresponding demand for more meat in global diets.  Fortunately solutions are being found in programs like AgNext at Colorado State University where Dr. Sara Place is a Professor of Feedlot Systems. www.agnext.colostate.edu

For Farmers – Dana DiPrima

Getting to know a farmer is how caring consumers should start and if you’re a farmer “get known” by being available to answer questions that explain how and why you do what you do. For this mission Dana DiPrima founded For Farmers, a movement designed to recognize and support small farmers by sharing their stories, dispelling myths, and providing them with grants and other resources. Dana shares farmer stories on the Talk Farm to Me podcast and social media (mainly Instagram @xoxofarmgirl), where she also unpacks various myths about farming. Farmer grant nominations will begin on National Farmer’s Day and a review board will select farmers who will receive the grants.