2023 SAFSF Forum Recap

Over 200 attendees gathered for three days in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. for the 2023 SAFSF Forum. During our time together, we dug into deep conversations about promising solutions and strategies for agriculture and food systems that address the roots and consequences of racial inequities, socio-economic and geographic divides, and community disenfranchisement and disinvestment. This Forum was unlike any other! The energy from attendees, the chatter of new and old connections being ignited, and the eagerness to learn filled the rooms.

The agenda was packed with engaging plenaries, incredible site visits, and funder-led sessions featuring amazing speakers including many food systems partners. Beyond that, we hosted a Hill Day where nearly 100 funders walked the halls of Capitol Hill, we held a Social at the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American Indian, and premiered the SAFSF-produced film Digging In.

The 2023 SAFSF Forum was made possible by our sponsors whose support boosted our power to convene funders across the agriculture and food system spectrum at a critical moment for philanthropy.

Land Acknowledgement

Renee Catacalos, SAFSF Vice President of Strategy and Impact, shared this Indigenous Land Acknowledgement as part of the 2023 SAFSF Forum.

As funders and advocates working to create a more equitable U.S. agriculture and food system, it is imperative for us to acknowledge that the roots of today’s inequities lie deep in the history of land theft and dispossession from Indigenous peoples dating from the European colonization of this continent. We in this room are aware that Indigenous people were forced to move, dispossessed of their land, detached from their cultural traditions, and murdered to cover this up and to erase them and their history from the origin myth of the United States.

I was born in Washington, D.C. and have deep family roots in the city and in southern Maryland, owing to the enslavement of captured African people on tobacco plantations established on the fertile lands once stewarded by tribes including the Nacotchtank and Piscataway. These and other tribes including the Pamunkey, Rappahannock and many others flourished throughout Virginia, Maryland and the mid-Atlantic area.

Hill Day

Funders in the SAFSF network log many miles every year walking fields with farmers, or in communities across the country working with those directly on the ground building sustainable agriculture, food, and fiber systems. For the first time, however, nearly 100 funders from 34 states walked the halls of Capitol Hill to visit with 33 different Congressional offices, as well as staff members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Representing philanthropies investing $3.1 billion annually in the U.S. and internationally, funder representatives discussed the SAFSF Federal Policy Principles. In addition, funders highlighted how philanthropy and the federal government can work together to make our agriculture, food, and fiber systems more sustainable and productive for the benefit of farmers, communities, and a healthy population.

More photos from the Hill Day can be found in the shared album below. Feel free to download the images, credit the 2023 SAFSF Forum, and tag us if you post on LinkedIn or Twitter. We would love to share your posts!


Digging In premiered at the 2023 SAFSF Forum for the first time. This recording is of the panel that followed the film screening. If you are interested in learning more visit or contact Maggie Mosley, SAFSF communications director.
Note: Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, NAAF CEO was unable to join the panel.
Due to not being able to record audience participation, this recording is only available in audio form.

Forum Gallery

Experience key moments from the 2023 SAFSF Forum through our online photo gallery. If you have additional photos from the SAFSF Forum please email them to [email protected].


This year we used storyboards as a way to celebrate aspects of our work. Click the boards below to find out more about the topic. To see the boards in a larger format, click the button below.