Event Program

This program is subject to change. A final version will be provided to attendees.

Monday, February 7

4:00-6:00 PM

6:00-8:00 PM

Event Registration

Welcome | Traci Bruckner, Senior Public Policy Director, SAFSF

Opening Remarks and Dinner

Join your peers for dinner, conversation, and remarks from our guest speaker(s).


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

Tuesday, February 8

7:30-8:15 AM

8:30-10:00 AM


Welcome and 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 responsive to the needs of more Americans.


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

Dr. Rev. 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

10:00-10:15 AM

10:15-11:45 AM


Plenary 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. And we know that dislodging the status quo of farm bill funding will require a variety of strategies that include shaping the debate through the 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

11:45 AM-12:55 PM

1:00-2:15 PM

Lunch + Networking

Strategy Sessions: Deeper Dive with Plenary Speakers

Dive into deeper discussions with plenary panelists to explore key policy, narrative and base-building strategies that build momentum to drive policy change in our four focus areas.

Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Conservation

Facilitator: Mark Muller

Plenary Panelist: Eric Deeble

Local, Regional Food and Nutrition Systems

Facilitator: Kalila Booker-Cassano

Plenary Panelist: Lexie Holden and V Quevedo

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

Facilitator: Olivia Watkins

Plenary Panelists: Martin Lemos and Dãnia Davy

Rural Communities and Concentration in Agriculture

Facilitator: Jen Zuckerman

Plenary Panelist: Sarah Miller

2:15-2:30 PM

2:30-4:00 PM


Funder-Only Strategy Session

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 actions you can take and how you can collaborate with your peers to support powerful policy change in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Topics are the same as 1:00 pm sessions.

4:00-4:30 PM

4:30-5:00 PM


Closing Plenary

Why it is important for funders to support public policy change, what is to be gained, how can we advance just and sustainable food, farming, and fiber systems through policy change that leverages the power of philanthropy.

6:30 PM

Dinner on Your Own or with Peers

Wednesday, February 9

7:30-8:30 AM

8:30-9:30 AM

9:30-11:00 AM


Strategy Session Report-outs

Hill & USDA Visits Orientation & Training

Learn from seasoned pros about ways to effectively communicate and build relationships with members of Congress, administration appointees, and their staff.  Work to perfect your “elevator speech” and your “ask” as you prepare for your Capitol Hill or USDA visits. In addition, you will also get a refresher on the tools available to funders to support your grantees’ advocacy-related activities.


Sarah Hackney, coalition director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Kate Fitzgerald, principal, Fitzgerald-Canepa, LLC

Abby Levine, director, Bolder Advocacy

11:00 AM-12:00 PM


We encourage you to divide up by those going to USDA and those going to Hill for meetings and continue the conversation.

12:30-1:00 PM

Transportation to Hill and USDA

Meet in the lobby for group transportation to the respective sites.

1:00-5:00 PM

Hill & USDA Meetings

Attendees will choose to either participate in congressional meetings or meetings with the USDA. More information to come about logistics of these group and individual meetings.

6:00-8:30 PM

Reception | Drinks and hearty appetizers

Debrief from the day, network with your peers, make new connections, enjoy good conversation, and have a few laughs. Policy Convening attendees will be joined by SAFSF’s Board of Directors.