Dr. Vandana Shiva

A Time magazine “Environmental Hero”, one of Forbes seven most powerful women on the globe, and internally acclaimed author, Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers on food sovereignty.

Trained as a quantum physicist, and with a lifetime of ecological activism, Dr. Vandana Shiva has spent the last 35 years applying her knowledge of non-separation and interconnectedness to help create healthier food and agriculture systems across the globe.

In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially seeds – and promote organic farming and fair trade. Navdanya has trained over 900,000 farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture over the past two decades, and helped setup the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country.   She will share practical knowledge from these experiences to benefit family farmers here in the United States.

Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism. She works internationally with governments, non-profits, and grass roots movements to protect natural resources, indigenous rights, women’s rights and more. Her work spans from teaching at universities worldwide, to working with peasants in rural India, and from serving on Prince Charles’s expert group on Sustainable Agriculture to working with the Government of Bhutan to make Bhutan 100% organic.

Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books The Violence of the Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind pose essential challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, industrial agriculture. Through her books Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest and Water Wars, Dr. Shiva has made visible the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate-led globalization. In 2004, Dr. Shiva started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.

She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, an honor known as an “Alternative Nobel Prize”.  Read more about Vandana Shiva’s work.








Jim Gerrish

Jim Gerrish teaches livestock producers the importance of caring for forages and soils first.
(Progressive Farmer image by Robert Waggener)

If you want to farm for environmental benefits and make money, Jim Gerrish will help you get the most out of your pastures by focusing on things you can control.  With more than 20 years of experience in beef-forage systems research, and 20-plus years raising cattle and sheep, Jim has dedicated his life the aiding farmers and ranchers more effectively manage their grazing lands for economic and environmental sustainability.

Author of Management Intensive Grazing, the Grassroots of Grass Farming and Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide to Year-around Grazing, Jim has a wealth of knowledge on how to capture more solar energy with every acre, how to get more water into your soil, how to keep minerals cycling efficiently through your pastures, and how to create more biodiversity across and through your pasture landscape.

Jim has 22 years of beef-forage systems research and outreach while on the faculty at the University of Missouri, and co-founded a multi-day grazing management program that has been duplicated in fifteen other states. His research encompassed many aspects of plant-soil-animal interactions and provided foundation for many of the basic principles of Management-intensive Grazing. Jim’s work has been recognized with awards from the American Forage and Grassland Council, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council, National Center for Appropriate Technology, USDA-NRCS, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Progressive Farmer, and American Agricultural Editors Association.

Jim and his wife, Dawn, own and operate American Grazing Lands Services LLC, offering consultation services as well as equipment to support farmers and ranchers. Jim provides services to farmers and ranchers on both private and public lands across five continents.  He is an instructor in the University of Idaho’s Lost River Grazing Academy held twice annually near Salmon ID. He typically speaks at 40 to 50 producer oriented workshops, seminars, and field days around the US and Canada each year.  He currently resides in the Pahsimeroi Valley of Idaho, where he manages a ranch unit consisting of 450 center pivot irrigated pastures, 90 acres of flood ground, and several hundred acres of rangeland.

Paul Muller & Dru Rivers

Full belly farm owners

Full Belly Farm is a 400-acre certified organic farm located in the beautiful Capay Valley of Northern California, north of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. Full Belly has been farmed using organic practices since 1985 and is certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.

The farm owners are Andrew Brait, Judith Redmond, Paul Muller, Dru Rivers, Jenna Muller, and Amon Muller. With help from about 80 employees, the farm produces an amazing diversity of vegetables, herbs, nuts, flowers, and fruits year-round. The farm also has a flock of chickens and sheep, a tribe of goats, and several cows.

Full Belly’s system includes: growing and marketing over 80 different crops; providing year-round employment for farm labor; using cover crops that fix nitrogen and provide organic matter for the soil; selling produce within a 120-mile radius of the farm; and planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife. One of the farm’s goals is to integrate farm production with longer-term environmental stewardship.

Full Belly products are marketed both wholesale and retail to restaurants, at farmers markets and through a Community Supported Agriculture project, or CSA.

Full Belly is home to many outreach activities, including educational tours, school group visits, and the much-acclaimed annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival that celebrates rural life and sustainable food production.

Jeff Lowenfel

Jeff is the award winning author of the  best-selling books, Teaming With Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to The Soil Food Web, Teaming With Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition and Teaming With Fungi, The Organic Grower’s Guide to Mycorrhizae. His first book, Teaming with Microbes, was reviewed as the most important new gardening book in the last 25 years.

Jeff also writes the longest running garden column in North America and is also a highly respected and popular national garden writer and has been inducted into the Garden Writer’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor a garden writer can achieve.

He is the founder of a national program, “Plant a Row for The Hungry.”  The program is active in all 50 states and Canada and has resulted in millions of pounds of garden produce being donated to feed the hungry every year.

Jeff grew up on his father’s hobby farm in Scarsdale, New York where he helped out with the farm until he left to pursue a degree in Geology at Harvard College.

Doniga Markegard

doniga markegard

Author of Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild, regenerative rancher, Doniga brings a perspective rooted in nature. Mentored by leading wildlife trackers, naturalists and Native Spiritual leaders and with a background in permaculture Doniga brings a unique perspective to Regenerative Agricultural practices. She is dedicated to working the with the land and her community through regenerative ranching practices that build soil, sequester carbon, capture and purify water and enhance habitat.

Along with her husband and four children, Doniga owns and operates Markegard Family Grass-Fed LLC raising grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, chicken and dairy supplying the Bay Area with local, nutrient dense foods. The family ranch leases coastal ranches throughout the Bay Area spanning over 10,000 acres.

Joel Salatin

Joel-4-200x300Get inspired one most famous farmers in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson.  Joel Salatin will teach you how to make a living raising animals, how to build relationships to have a successful farm business, and how to use “nature mimicry” to increase your yields and profits. With ten published books and a thriving multi-generational family farm, Joel Salatin draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to inspire farmers, ranchers and home gardeners around the world.

Joel co-owns, with his family, Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.  Featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and award-winning documentary Food Inc., the farm services more than 6,000 customers, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market with salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products.  If you are interested in how to create or expand a thriving farm enterprise, join us to at the 2018 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference to hear Joel share details from his latest book, Your Successful Farm Business: Success, Profit and Pleasure.

As a germination tray for new farmers ready to take over the 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity that will become available over the next two decades, Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley stands as a beacon of hope in a food and farming system floundering in dysfunction: toxicity, pathogenicity, nutrient deficiency, bankruptcy, geezers, and erosion. Speaking into that fear and confusion, Salatin offers a pathway to success, with production, profit, and pleasure thrown in for good measure.

Salatin writes The Pastoralist column for Stockman Grass Farmer, the granddaddy catalyst for the grass farming movement, and the Pitchfork Pulpit column for Mother Earth News, as well as numerous guest articles for ACRES USA and other publications.  His books include Folks this Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World and You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise,  Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front, as well as seven other publications for farmers, ranchers, and consumers who value quality, local food grown in ways that enhance human and environmental health.

A frequent guest on radio programs and podcasts targeting farmers, homesteaders, and foodies, Salatin’s practical, can-do solutions tied to passionate soliloquies for sustainability offer everyone food for thought and plans for action. Mixing mischievous humor with hard-hitting information, Salatin both entertains and moves people.  Read more about Joel in Time Magazine and at Polyface Farm.


Elizabeth & Paul Kaiser

Farmers Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser have operated Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, California since 2007. With a background in tropical agroforestry, natural resources management and public health in the Sahel of West Africa, Central America and Northern California, they had fresh insights into farming and as such developed Singing Frogs Farm’s innovative model. Their farm is multi-award winning for their highly intensive, no-till, ecological management system. They have increased their soil organic matter by over 400%, while drastically reducing their water use. Singing Frogs Farm has demonstrated that ecological sustainability can mean economic sustainability, with up to 10 times the sales per acre compared to similar farms. Recently, Paul and Elizabeth have focused on teaching their model of successful small-scale, regenerative, no-till vegetable production locally and abroad.


Daphne Miller, M.D.

On a quest to discover the hidden connections between how we care for our bodies and how we grow our food, Daphne Miller M.D. ventured out of her medical office and traveled to seven innovative family farms around the country.  What she discovered changed the way she approached treating many of her patients.

Come to the 2018 Sustainable Food and Farm Conference to hear to how Miller weaves together biomedical science, soil health and stories from her own medical practice to illustrate the health benefits of local, organic farms and gardens.  Learn the connection between microbes in the soil and in our bodies; why local, organic farm produce is healthier, and why spending time in organic gardens and farms can promote health in a number of different of ways.

Miller is a practicing family physician, author and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco. For the past fifteen years, her leadership, advocacy, research and writing have focused on the connections between food production, ecology and health.

Her writings and profiles can be found in many publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vogue, Orion Magazine, Yes! Magazine, Food and Wine, The Guardian UK and Harvard Medical Magazine and JAMA. She is author of Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up (HarperCollins 2013), published in four languages and the basis for the award-winning documentary In Search of Balance. She is also the author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You (HarperCollins 2008).

Miller is an internationally recognized speaker in the emerging field of planetary health and a leader in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, an effort spearheaded by the National Parks Service to build linkages between our medical system and our park system. Her 2009 Washington Post article “Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning” is widely credited with introducing “park prescriptions,” a concept that is rapidly gaining traction across the United States.

In 2000, Miller founded WholefamilyMD, the first integrative primary care practice in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in medical anthropology. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency and NIH-funded research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute and a Bravewell Fellow at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine. She serves as an advisor and/or board member to a number of non-profits, including the Institute of the Golden Gate, Education Outside, Mandela Marketplace and the Edible Schoolyard Foundation and Prevention Institute.

Miller lives and gardens in Berkeley, California. Visit her website

Paul Stamets

Paul StametsMushroom scientist Paul Stamets believes that mushrooms can save our lives, restore our ecosystems and transform our world  – and he has done the science to prove it. Stamets has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas, mushrooms that can treat cancer,  and mushrooms that can break down oil and radiation.

Stamets is a leading researcher into mushrooms as a keystone species for soil and plant health, bio-remediation and habitat restoration.  For many of the crises we are facing in commercial agriculture –  E.coli outbreaks, pollution of our oceans and streams with pesticides and fertilizers, and  peak phosphorus – Paul will tell us how to stave them off with mushrooms.

Stamets is the author of 5 books including the classic Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Once you’ve heard ‘renaissance mycologist’ Paul Stamets talk about mushrooms, you’ll never look at the world – not to mention your farm, neighborhood or backyard – in the same way again.

Paul is presenting at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference on January 9th. Read more about Paul at Fungi Perfecti.

Jean-Martin Fortier

Jean-Martin FortierSix figure farming on 1 ½ acres without a tractor? Learn how to maximize profits on small farming plots from one of North America’s most recognized and influential organic growers, Jean-Martin Fortier. Farmers who follow in his footsteps are making farming profitable and fulfilling on even one acre!

Jean-Martin blends experience and know-how on optimizing intensive cropping systems by focusing on vibrant soil as the engine that runs the farming operation.  His book The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Growing illustrates how to successfully earn a living from selling vegetables through CSA shares (Community Supported Agriculture) and local Farmers Markets.

Jean-Martin is passionate about demonstrating how small farms play a most important role in the rebuilding of our food system by growing better-not bigger, by optimizing small organic cropping systems, making them lucrative and resilient. He and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches live on their organic 10 acre micro-farm Les Jardins de la Grelinette in the very small town of St-Armand, Québec.

Regularly featured in mainstream newspapers, radio shows and television, Fortier believes in replacing mass production with production by the masses. During a recent speaking tour, he was dubbed a “Rockstar Farmer.”

Jean-Martin presented at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference in January 2016.  Listen to a radio interview with Jean-Martin on the KVMR evening news with Elisa Parker, and read more about Jean-Martin here.

Gabe Brown

Gabe BrownOn the verge of going broke after 4 years of commercial crop failure, Gabe Brown and family could no longer afford chemical inputs on their 5,400-acre ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. They began searching for a non-chemical farming model and soon began implementing non-conventional approaches using patterns from nature, which began to rapidly improve their soil, resulting in high yields and strong net profits.

For over 20 years, they have said NO to unsustainable farming and ranching practices. Gabe will teach us how to farm and ranch profitably and sustainably, even in drought years.

A very popular speaker, Brown will show us how his family holistically integrates mob grazing of grass-fed beef, sheep and poultry with a no-till cropping system, including a wide variety of cash crops along with over 25 multi-species cover crops. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Over 2,000 people visit the Brown’s ranch annually to see this award winning sustainable operation for themselves, and adopt the Brown family’s practices on their own farms and ranches.

Gabe presented at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference.  Read more about Brown’s Ranch here.

Elaine Ingham

Inham soilfoodwebElaine Ingham is a recognized leader in soil microbiology, founder Soil FoodWeb Inc., key author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer and author of The Compost Tea Brewing Manual. Her focus is soil microbial science in agriculture applications.

Dr. Elaine Ingham is a world-renowned soil microbiologist who continues to study the microbial life of the soil, which in large part explains why organic “works.” Elaine founded Soil Foodweb, Inc. in 1996, helping farmers all over the world to grow more resilient crops by understanding and improving their soil life. She is also an affiliate professor at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa and has served in academia for three decades.

Elaine started her academic career at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN graduating in 1974 with a double major, cum laude, in Biology and Chemistry. Elaine earned her Master of Science in Microbiology in 1977 at Texas A & M University and her doctorate degree in soil microbiology from Colorado State University in 1981, after which she worked as a Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. In 1985, Elaine accepted a Research Associate Fellowship at the University of Georgia. In 1986, Elaine joined the faculty at Oregon State University, with a split appointment in Forest Science and Botany and Plant Pathology, until 2001, when her work with Soil Foodweb, Inc. required her to focus on the world-wide network developing around her work.  Read more about Elaine here.

Eliot Coleman

Coleman bioEliot Coleman is the author of “The New Organic Grower”, “Four Season Harvest” and “The Winter Harvest Handbook”.  He has written extensively on the subject of organic agriculture since 1975, including chapters in scientific books and the foreword to “Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques and Recipes” by the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivant.
Eliot has more than 40 years’ experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. During his careers as a commercial market gardener, the director of agricultural research projects, and as a teacher and lecturer on organic gardening, he studied, practiced and perfected his craft. He served for two years as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and was an advisor to the US Department of Agriculture during their landmark 1979-80 study, “Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming.”

He has conducted study tours of organic farms, market gardens, orchards and vineyards in Europe and has successfully combined European ideas with his own to develop and popularize a complete system of tools and equipment for organic vegetable growers. He shares that expertise through his lectures and writings, and has served as a tool consultant to a number of companies. He presently consults and designs tools for Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

With Barbara, he was the host of the TV series, Gardening Naturally, on The Learning Channel. He and Barbara presently operate a commercial year-round market garden, in addition to horticultural research projects, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.

Wes Jackson

Wes Jackson in fieldWes Jackson is the founder & president of The Land Institute, and member of World Future Council.  His focus is on perennial polyculture and alternatives in appropriate technology.

Dr. Jackson earned a B.A. in Biology at Kansas Wesleyan, a M.A. in botany at University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics at North Carolina State University. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies department at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor.
Dr. Jackson’s writings include his most recent work, Nature as Measure (2011) and Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture (2010). His book New Roots for Agriculture(1980) which outlines the basis for the research at The Land Institute which Dr. Jackson founded in 1976.
In addition to lecturing nationwide and abroad, Dr. Jackson is involved outside The Land Institute with a variety of projects including being a Post Carbon Institute Fellow, a Councillor with the World Future Council and a member of the Green Lands Blue Waters Steering Committee.

Jim Hightower

hightower bioNational radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, “Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow”, Jim Hightower has spent four decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.

Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International. Each month, he publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown,” which now has more than 135,000 subscribers and is the fastest growing political publication in America. The hard-hitting Lowdown has received both the Alternative Press Award and the Independent Press Association Award for best national newsletter.

A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups. He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate. Hightower frequently appears on television and radio programs, bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media. In addition, he works closely with the alternative media, and in all of his work he keeps his ever-ready Texas humor up front, practicing the credo of an old Yugoslavian proverb: “You can fight the gods and still have fun.”

Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business people, tenant farmers, and working folks. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he worked in Washington as legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas; he then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy; and he was national coordinator of the 1976 “Fred Harris for President” campaign. Hightower then returned to his home state, where he became editor of the feisty biweekly, The Texas Observer. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).

During the 90’s, Hightower became known as “America’s most popular populist,” developing his radio commentaries, hosting two radio talk shows, writing books, launching his newsletter, giving fiery speeches coast to coast, and otherwise speaking out for the American majority that’s being locked out economically and politically by the elites. As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell, with a sense of humor.”