Conference Tracks

Urban Aquaculture (Aquaponics Food From Freshwater): Urban aquaculture may be a perfect catalyst for urban revitalization. This provides several advantages for economic development such as: utilizing existing urban resources (buildings); putting farm products at the center of consumer demand; growing food locally; reducing transportation costs; involving new people and potential investors; creating jobs; conserving energy and freshwater; and improving the quality of life and the environment.

Urban Farming (Non-Stop City Crops): Successful urban agriculture requires specific skill sets to grow intensively within limited spaces. Learn about growing healthy food almost anywhere, through composting and vermicomposting, year-round greenhouse production in any climate, vertical and rooftop farming, and much more.

Urban Planning Strategies: Cities are planned decades in advance. Planners, urban agriculture food pioneers and social activists will discuss innovative strategies cities are using to create food security, promote local economic development, and promote environmental sustainability.

Environmental Design Innovations (Connecting the Built and Natural Environments): A new wave of environmental design integrates food production, green construction methods and sustainable energy use. Learn about vertical farming and landscape design that is both practical and aesthetic, and other design approaches to growing food in urban communities.

Brownfields Development (Neighborhoods of Opportunity): Vacant or surplus properties with a history of industrial or commercial use are points of connection between urban farmers and government agencies charged with facilitating their reuse. Learn about effective partnerships around brownfields that are revitalizing communities and creating green jobs.

Renewable Resources: Urban farms are prime candidates for appropriately scaled alternative and renewable energy projects – solar, wind, geothermal, biofuel and more – that lower operation costs and reduce the environmental impact of some production activities. This track will explore how to create and utilize renewable energy in local agricultural systems.

Youth – hands on (Farmers of Tomorrow): The next generation represents the future of urban farming and food justice. Hear from youth that are advocating for healthy eating, and producing and marketing fresh food for their diverse communities. This track will showcase rising stars in the food justice movement and our future farmers.

Education (Food in Action): A strong local food movement connects local farm economies to school meal programs with the goal of improving children’s nutritional health and education. This track will explore how farm to school programs improve the health of kids and create new market opportunities for farmers.

Corporations (It Takes more than Farmers): Corporations are helping to expand the sustainable agriculture movement. Discover how partnering with corporations and other public and private institutions and agencies can help support local food initiatives and create more corporate accountability.

Governments: Understand how non-profit organizations can work cooperatively with city, state, and federal government agencies to provide services and support to small and family farmers.

Universities (Broadening Community Partnerships): Colleges and Universities across the country are supporting urban agriculture efforts by broadening their community partnerships. Learn how to develop relationships with universities that can help support local food initiatives.

Medical – Food, Nutrition & Healthcare: Community prevention programs are the connection between food access and health disparities. Learn about sustainable procurement, on-site farmers markets, and various innovative outreach and education programs led by health care institutions. This track is geared towards innovative approaches to integrating healthy food access and healthcare.

Food & Technology (From Communications to Tractors): Urban Farmers are embracing technological innovations to learn how to increase efficiency and “do more with less.” Learn about ways to use new technologies and innovations to intensify urban food production. This track will promote sharing of information – data extracted from all points along the food chain – to help to create a transparent, equitable, and environmentally sound food system.

Chefs and Culinary Arts (Working collaboratively): Across the country, collaborative work is connecting the dots between chefs, farmers, and local residents. Learn how Chefs have transformed the kitchen and fueled the public’s interest in local food and production. This track will explore strategies for success from Chefs who buy local, the importance of building relationships, and the partnership expectations of farmers and chefs.

Fundraising (Relationships Matter): Understand how non-profit organizations can work cooperatively with city and state governments, private foundations and corporations to acquire resources for for-profit and non-profit agricultural enterprises. Learn about conventional and alternative sources of funding, non­traditional partnering strategies, and innovative approaches to promote urban agriculture.

Food Policy (From the Ground Up): Share in discussions of what it takes to effectively strategize with local and federal governments, universities, corporations and other institutions to redesign our urban communities. Track Presentations will focus on current and emerging successful food and farm policies, and opportunities for cultivating policy change at the local, state and federal levels.

Growing Food and Justice (Winds of Change the Power of Unity and Action): Dialogue on the complexity of addressing racism and oppression in our food system and communities. Hear from a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities working toward dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. (more info)