Friday, June 3
10:45am – 12:00pm

Hear from inspiring leaders across a variety of farm to cafeteria sectors as we establish a foundation to reflect and build upon throughout the conference.


Debra Eschmeyer

Executive Director, Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for NutritionDebraEschmeyer
Office of the First Lady | The White House
Debra Eschmeyer has dedicated her career to making safe, healthy, delicious food available to all while restoring the connection between food, community, land and place. Eschmeyer is the Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and senior White House Policy Advisor for Nutrition. Prior to serving the Obama Administration, she co-founded FoodCorps, started a fruit and vegetable farm in her hometown in rural Ohio, and was the former Communications Director for the National Farm to School Network. Eschmeyer is a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in recognition of her school food reform efforts. With 15 years of food system experience, Eschmeyer is a tireless advocate for healthy kids and families.


Michelle Obama, video remarks

First Lady of the United States
First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th and current President, Barack Obama. Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education. In 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, bringing together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity. Let’s Move! has an ambitious goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Whether it’s providing healthier food in our schools, helping kids be more physically active, or urging companies to market healthier foods to our children, Let’s Move! is focused on giving parents the support they need to make healthier choices for their kids.



Ricardo Salvador – The Food Movement Will Unite Us

Director and Senior Scientist
Food & Environment Program

Union of Concerned Scientists
Today’s global food system serves no one well, including those in wealthy countries who believe they are its beneficiaries. Ricardo Salvador will talk about how the disparities in public health, access, waste and exploitation of people and nature that are characteristic of the global food system are designed and not oversights. The result is a system that divides us along lines of wealth, power and ethnicity. A food movement driving the creation of integrated food systems, that will nourish thriving land and people, can unite us by drawing upon our vision, diversity and creativity.

Ricardo Salvador works with citizens, scientists, economists and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices. Before coming to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Dr. Salvador served as a program officer for food, healthy and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he was responsible for conceptualizing and managing the Foundation’s food systems programming. Prior to that, he taught the first course in sustainable agriculture at a land-grant university as an associate professor of agronomy for Iowa State University and helped develop the nation’s first sustainable agriculture graduate program. Dr. Salvador was named a 2013 NBC Latino Innovator and received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2014. He was also an author of a 2014 op-ed in The Washington Post calling for a national food policy, which is changing how many think about food and farm policy.


Carla D. Thompson

Carla_Thompson_WKKFVice President for Program Strategy
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Carla Tompson leads the Education & Learning; Family Economic Security; and Food, Health & Well-Being teams for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, providing leadership and management for the creative and strategic direction of programming from design through implementation, evaluation and dissemination. Prior to joining the Foundation, Thompson was deputy director of the Office of Child Care at the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., where she developed national early childhood education policy. Thompson has been honored for her leadership in early childhood education by the Administration for Children and Families, the Children’s Defense Fund and the Temple University Institute on Disabilities. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, and works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.



Saturday, June 4
5:00pm – 6:15pm

As with past National Farm to Cafeteria Conferences, the closing plenary session is not to be missed. This year we provide two leaders who will share inspirational stories and lessons about the basics of food – growing, preparing, and sharing – and provide a clear path for moving forward together.


Matthew Raiford – Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Executive Chef
Farmer/Owner of Gilliard Farms

CheFarmer Matthew Raiford will talk about how we have to meet everyone — farmers, school boards, chefs, children and more — where they are to continue building an amazing system that gets the bounty of the earth to the cafeteria table.

Matthew Raiford is the chef/farmer and owner of The Farmer & The Larder, a culinary mixed use space located in Historic Downtown Brunswick, Georgia, and sixth generation farmer with his siblings on his family’s land that they have owned since 1874. Before returning home to Brunswick in 2011, Raiford was most recently the Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at the College of Coastal Georgia. With more than 19 years of formal experience in the food and hospitality industry, Raiford has taught culinary arts, held several Executive Chef positions, and has overseen catering and dining facilities for the National Defense University, National Archives, Pentagon Conference Center and Library, Canadian Embassy, and the Gaylord National Hotel in Maryland where they averaged 2,000 meals served per day. Raiford also serves on the Slow Food USA Board of Directors and Slow Meat Steering Committee, and his passion lies in creating a memorable dining experience by preparing local, sustainable, organic and flavorful foods.


LaDonna Redmond – Beyond the Lunchroom: Ending Systematic Oppression in the Food System

Food Justice Activist
Campaign for Food Justice Now

LaDonna Redmond will use the lens of intersectionality (race, class and gender) to describe the impact of the food system on the lives of communities of color and to promote just solutions.

When LaDonna Redmond couldn’t find healthful food in her Chicago neighborhood, she decided to rebuild the urban food system. Collaborating with the farmers market, food distribution network and urban farms led to a grassroots movement of citywide – and then national – conversations about food justice. It is her quest to see that every citizen has a right to food, and she defines food justice as the understanding that the current food system is based on oppression. To have a just, fair and healthy food system, we must address structural racism in the food and agricultural system by moving away from narratives that exclude the experiences of people of color and tribal nations.

A long-time community activist, Redmond has successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to re-evaluate junk food policies, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store and worked on federal farm policies to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities. In 2013, she launched the Campaign for Food Justice Now, a membership-based organization that uses a race, class and gender analysis to promote food and agricultural system reform, and advocate for the adoption of right-to-food policies in the U.S. Redmond is a 2003 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow. In 2009, Redmond was one of 25 citizen and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time Magazine.



Saturday, June 4
9:00am – 10:00am

Join your Wisconsin hosts for an exciting, multi-media presentation showcasing farm to cafeteria champions from across the state.

Wisconsin Welcome:

Organic Valley Farmer

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 1,800 farmers in 36 states. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, and produce, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies.


Tony Schultz 

Stoney Acres Farm, Athens, Wis.
Stoney Acres Farm is a third-generation family farm entering its 10th season of production. Located in North Central Wisconsin, the highly diversified Certified Organic farm includes a 20-week CSA program; vegetable, herb and fruit production; maple syrup; grass-fed beef, pastured pork and organic eggs; organic grains including wheat and oats; and farm to table pizzas. Stoney Acres Farm is centered around the goal of increasing environmental sustainability for the farm, community and food system.

Frankie Soto

Abbotsford School District Food Service