Event Program

This program is subject to change. Please note that all times below are in Eastern Time.

Monday, February 7

6:00-7:30 PM

Welcome & Convening Opening Remarks

Join us as we kick off the 2022 SAFSF Policy Convening with our first guest speakers who will provide critical opening remarks, insights, and commentary on food and farm policy – particularly where there are opportunities to advance equitable, sustainable agriculture policy.

Deputy Secretary Dr. Bronaugh made history as the first Black woman appointed to serve the U.S. Department of Agriculture in this capacity. Senator Cory Booker is one of two Black senators serving as a new member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

There will be an opportunity for some questions from attendees (submitted in advance).

Welcome: Traci Bruckner, Senior Senior Director, Public Policy, SAFSF


U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Tuesday, February 8

12:00-1:30 PM

Keynote Address

Historic and current farm bill policy has been shaped by a succession of sometimes uneasy coalitions – divergent Southern, Midwestern and Great Plains agriculture interests in the 1930’s; agriculture interests and anti-hunger advocates in the 1960s; and a three-part coalition in the 1980s with addition of the environmental conservation movement. The budget pressures and increasing partisanship that marked the 2014 and 2018 farm bill debates revealed new vulnerabilities in the current coalition which has endured for the past three decades. Our keynote speakers, in their remarks and in discussion with each other, will explore this history, the outsized political influence of certain interests within the coalitions, the impact of farm policy in communities on the ground, and the prognosis for a new expansion or reordering of the coalition to make the farm bill more equitable and more responsive to the needs of more Americans.


Jonathan Coppess, assistant professor, and director, Gardner Agriculture Policy Program, University of Illinois

Reverend Dr. Heber Brown, senior pastor, community organizer, and farmer, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and Black Church Food Security Network


A-dae Romero-Briones, director of programs, Native Agriculture and Food Systems, First Nations Development Institute; member, SAFSF Policy Committee

1:30-2:30 PM

2:30-4:15 PM

Break (We will keep the Zoom room open for “hallway conversations.”)

Plenary Panel Discussion

The political landscape for the 2023 Farm Bill is still uncertain. Will there be more farm bill funding to address climate change through agriculture conservation? Will there be a change in Congressional leadership? Regardless, we know that advocacy around the 2023 Farm Bill will soon move into high gear. In addition, there are opportunities within the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and other administrative agencies to advance policy change. But we know all too well that dislodging the status quo’s grip on federal policy and advancing equitable, sustainable agriculture policy will require a variety of strategies that include shaping the debate through narrative shift; building and mobilizing power in key geographic regions of the country; and savvy policy advocacy and engagement.  

Our speakers will discuss their experience using these strategies to advance change in the four focus areas for our convening: climate, water, and agriculture conservation; nutrition and local and regional food systems; access to capital and land; and rural communities and concentration in agriculture. Their comments will set the table for the afternoon’s conversations on funder strategy, engagement and commitment.


Eric Deeble, policy director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Martin Lemos, co-executive director, National Young Farmers Coalition

Lexie Holden, associate director of policy and government relations, Intertribal Agriculture Council

V. Quevedo, policy director, La Semilla Food Center

Sarah Miller, executive director, American Economic Liberties Project

Dãnia Davy, policy director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives


Ellyn Ferguson, reporter, CQ Roll Call

4:15-4:30 PM

4:30-5:00 PM

Short Break (Next session will be continued in the same Zoom room)

Plenary Remarks by Representative Spanberger

Funders are critical to helping advance just and sustainable food, farming and fiber systems. There is a lot at stake – from addressing climate change, to land access to farm consolidation, all with an eye toward equity. Representative Spanberger will provide insight into where she sees opportunity to move the dial in support of just and sustainable food, farming and fiber systems through policy change that leverages the power of philanthropy.

There will be an opportunity for some questions from attendees (submitted in advance).

Speaker: Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA 7th)

Wednesday, February 9

12:00-3:00 PM

Funder-Only Strategy Sessions

Continuing the discussion with your fellow funders, you will work to identify specific areas of opportunity for funding alignment and to develop an initial funding roadmap for the 2023 Farm Bill. You will leave this discussion with a clear understanding of the bigger picture, where you fit in and how you can collaborate with your peers to support powerful policy change in the 2023 Farm Bill and beyond.

Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Conservation

Facilitator: Mark Muller, executive director, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation

Local, Regional Food and Nutrition Systems

Facilitator: Kalila Booker-Cassano, program officer, Henry P. Kendall Foundation

Access to Capital and Land for Food, Farming, and Fiber Systems

Facilitator: Olivia Watkins, co-founder, president, Black Farmer Fund

Rural Communities and Concentration in Agriculture

Facilitator: Jen Zuckerman, director of strategic initiatives, Duke World Food Policy Center

3:00-4:00 PM

Break (We will keep the Zoom room open for “hallway conversations.”)

4:00-5:00 PM

Funding Farm Bill Advocacy

Join us for our closing session to hear from one of your peers on her past experience in the Executive Branch, on Capitol Hill, and in the non-profit environmental community and how that has influenced the role she plays in philanthropy. In addition, hear from a Bolder Advocacy legal expert on how funders can support policy advocacy effectively and overcome any barriers you may be facing from your board or trustees.


Ann Mills, director, Agua Fund

Abby Levine, director, Bolder Advocacy

Moderator:Jen Zuckerman, director of strategic initiatives, Duke World Food Policy Center

Don’t forget March 7-9 we will be working together to conduct virtual USDA and Hill visits.

More details coming soon!