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2020 Policy Outlook - Funder Strategy Series

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Collaboration for Systemic Change: Why the Farm Bill Matters

October 28, 2020 @ 10:00 am 11:30 pm PDT

$25 SAFSF Member / $40 Non-member funder

This is the third pre-conference session of the 2020 Policy Outlook and Strategy Series, view entire program details here.

This final pre-conference session, leading up to our Funder Strategy Conference, will explore why the Farm Bill matters for your priorities, for racial and economic justice, and for overall structural reform, as well as why funder collaboration and investment is critical.

Panelists will provide an overview of the Farm Bill and where sustainable agriculture and food system advocates have achieved substantial victories over time that would not have been possible without philanthropic support. We will drill down into some concrete examples of how these wins have played out on the ground. And you also hear from Alliance for Justice on just what you can do when it comes to engaging in policy advocacy around the Farm Bill.


Eric Kessler, founder, Arabella Advisors

Eric Kessler

ERIC KESSLER is a serial entrepreneur who has started, led, and advised organizations pursuing social change across the country and around the globe. As founder of Arabella Advisors, Eric has focused on helping clients achieve their philanthropic goals by devising strategies, mounting effective advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, increasing operational efficiency, and designing and implementing impact investing portfolios. Now, with a CEO in place to run the business, Eric is focusing his energy on advising clients who are working to improve our food system through policies and business investments that promote nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food. He holds an Executive MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ferd Hoefner, strategic senior advisor, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

FERD HOEFNER is the Senior Strategic Advisor for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and has been the group’s senior Washington, DC representative since its founding in 1988. NSAC is the leading voice for sustainable agriculture in the federal policy arena, joining together the voices of more than 100 grassroots farm, food, conservation and rural organizations from all regions of the country to advocate for federal policies supporting the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources and rural communities.

Prior to his work with NSAC, Hoefner represented Interfaith Action for Economic Justice and its predecessor, the Interreligious Taskforce on U.S. Food Policy, on federal policy on farm, food and international development issues for nearly a decade. He has also served as a policy consultant to Bread for the World, Center for Rural Affairs, Conference on Alternative State and Local Public Policies, Land Stewardship Project, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs and U.S. Catholic Conference, among others.

Ronnie Pawelko, senior counsel, Alliance for Justice

Ronnie Pawelko is Senior Counsel for the Bolder Advocacy program at Alliance for Justice and is based in AFJ’s Washington, DC office. Through trainings and technical assistance, she provides nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations with accessible information, resources, and information so organizations can safely navigate complex laws and rules as they pursue systems change. Ronnie received her J.D. from Albany Law School and her B.A. from Russell Sage College. Before joining AFJ, Ronnie was General Counsel at Family Planning Advocates of New York State. Previously, Ronnie served as Health and Human Services Team Counsel for the New York State Senate and as staff attorney for the MergerWatch Project.

Quinton Robinson, policy advisor, Rural Coalition

Quinton Robinson image

Quinton N. Robinson, Esq. is a practicing attorney with litigation experience in the fields of employment and farm credit discrimination cases. Quinton serves as a policy advisor with Rural Coalition.

Mr. Robinson served as a white house political appointee for the Obama Administration, first as the Director of the Office of Small Disadvantage Business Utilization at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and subsequently as Georgia State Director of Rural Development with the United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Robinson also previously served as the Assistant Counsel on the House Agriculture Committee.

Quinton helms from the historically black college of Albany State University. Mr. Robinson received his M.A. from the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University and his law degree from the Pierce School of Law at the University of New Hampshire.


October 28, 2020
10:00 am – 11:30 pm PDT
Event Category:

Areas of Impact:

Agricultural Products  |   Environmental Sustainability  |   Climate Change  |   Farmland Conservation  |   Water Quality  |   Farms & Farming Systems  |   Agroecology  |   Beginning Farmers & Ranchers  |   Farm Succession  |   Farmer Technical Assistance  |   Indoor Agriculture  |   Organics  |   Regenerative Agriculture  |   Health  |   Hunger  |   Nutrition  |   School Food  |   Justice  |   Equity  |   Food Access  |   Immigration  |   Labor  |   Markets  |   Regional Food Systems  |   Policy Advocacy

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