Cultivating a diverse regenerative agricultural movement and shaping a more current and equitable farm bill will be the respective focal points of keynote addresses by Mohawk seedkeeper Rowen White and agronomist Ricardo Salvador at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 44th annual conference, Germinate, Regenerate, Agitate.
In her Thursday, February 16 keynote address, “Reseeding Imaginations of a Relational Agricultural System,” Rowen White will speak on Indigenous leadership, ecological knowledge, cultural memory, and the cultural inheritance of land and seeds.
“Seeds are the foundation of agriculture, but they also encode a memory of the land, the climate, the weather, as well as people’s cultural values, aesthetics and stories,” White said to Permaculture Women’s Guild. “And now people of all generations are coming together to recognize the importance of seed heritage, to create new ways to counteract the globalization and industrialization of our food systems, to resist monocultures.”
A seedkeeper and farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, White is a passionate activist for Indigenous seed and food sovereignty. She is the educational director and lead mentor of Sierra Seeds, an innovative Indigenous seed bank and land-based educational organization in Nevada City, California. White is the founder of the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, which is committed to restoring the Indigenous Seed Commons. She facilitates creative hands-on workshops and strategic conversations around seed and food security within tribal and small farming communities around the country.
White’s address is part of Thursday’s Welcoming Exhibit Hall Happy Hour and Keynote Address. Access to this event is included in general and Food and Farm School registration. Tickets are available for $35 for this event only. It will also be livestreamed on OEFFA’s Facebook page.
In his Saturday, February 18 keynote address, “A Transformational Idea for the 2023 Farm Bill,” Ricardo Salvador will speak on how to transform the far-reaching 2023 Farm Bill to be more current and equitable.
Salvador is a senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. There, he leads a team of interdisciplinary scientists and policy analysts to make the case that modern, sustainable practices can be highly productive while also protecting the environment, producing healthy food, and creating economic opportunity for all.
“At the Union of Concerned Scientists, we have been working with a large number of partners, including OEFFA, to shape a new and broader coalition for the farm bill debate. By definition, a status quo approach to the farm bill begins with the existing legislation as a template, and is about making minimal adjustments,” Salvador said.
“A transformational approach calls for us to ask what we need from a 21st century food system, and then craft that legislation without the constraints of programs designed to answer different questions and in a different era,” he continued.
Salvador has more than 40 years of experience in academia, philanthropy, and advocacy. Born and raised in southern Mexico, he holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in crop production and physiology. He is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. He has advised a range of organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, FoodCorps, The Land Institute, HEAL Food Alliance, and more.
OEFFA’s 44th annual conference features more than 50 educational workshops, an exhibit hall, full-day Food and Farm School classes, locally-sourced meals, and much more. The event will take place in-person Thursday, February 16 through Saturday, February 18, 2023, at Cherry Valley Hotel and Ohio Event Center in Newark, Ohio. A limited number of scholarships are available to Persons of Color and beginning farmers.
For more information, or to register, visit conference.oeffa.org.