Restoration of heritage grains and resurrection of Sonoran Desert foods takes a village. Between conserving seeds, planting, harvesting, processing, marketing, and education… it takes relationships, trust, and willingness to try something a little new. Meet our 2019 Arizona Food & Farm Forum keynote presenters who will share their experiences cultivating prosperity.
Get your tickets to join us on April 30 & May 1 at the Farm at Agritopia in Gilbert to join in the conversations.
Tuesday Keynote: Gary Paul Nabhan
America has never felt more divided. But in the midst of all the acrimony comes one of the most promising movements in our country’s history. People of all races, faiths, and political persuasions are coming together to restore America’s natural wealth: its ability to produce healthy foods.
As a leading thinker and seasoned practitioner in biocultural conservation, Nabhan offers a truly unique perspective on the movement. He draws on fifty years of work with community-based projects around the nation, from the desert Southwest to the low country of the Southeast. Yet Nabhan’s most enduring legacy may be his message of hope: a vision of a new environmentalism that is just and inclusive, allowing former adversaries to commune over delicious foods.
At the Food & Farm Forum, Gary will present success stories from Arizona, derived from his new book, Food From the Radical Center. He’ll focus on how working for a healthier food system is one of the few goals that bridge the many divides in America today, by uniting urban and rural, left and right, immigrant and indigenous, producer and consumer in ways that build lasting collaborations; and explore how work recovering rare foods unique to Arizona as well as restoring food producing landscapes have created jobs, health options good will and hope in some of our poorest communities.
Immediately following his keynote address, “Food from the Radical Center” will be available for purchase and Gary will be available for book signing.
Wednesday Keynote: Steve Sossaman
Steve Sossaman is a farmer at Sossaman Farms Queen Creek, Arizona. He attended the Air Force Academy and went on to Arizona State University and received his B.S. in Agri-Business. Married 40 years to his childhood sweetheart, Chris Sossaman. They have three daughters who are the fifth generation to live on the farm.
Steve farms and manages approximately 800 acres, which includes heritage grains and alfalfa. He has been farming full time for 40 years on the Sossaman family farm, which was homesteaded in 1919. Steve has over 25 years of land planning experience and enjoys doing land development in the East Valley. He is also working with Hayden Flour Mills and Grain R and D, which are both located on Sossaman Farms.
Steve is a past Mayor and Council Member of the Town of Queen Creek, served on the Queen Creek School Board and is currently on the Planning and Zoning Commission. He is a past board member and past Vice-President of Arizona Cotton Growers, past Vice-President of Desert Wheat Growers Co-op, past President of Queen Creek Irrigation District and also served on the Board of Cotton Incorporated. Steve was a Commissioner for Maricopa County Parks Department and has served on the Arizona Grain Council and Arizona Alliance for Food and Fiber. He has participated in Valley Leadership, the Center for Rural Leadership and the Cotton Leadership Program. Steve was proud to be named the Cotton Achievement Award Recipient in 1994 by Cotton Grower Magazine, and has received the High Cotton Award, a national award to recognize the contributions farmers make in protecting the environment and the use of cutting edge technology.
Join Steve as he shares his experiences saying “yes!” to new relationships and opportunities to become one of Arizona’s best-known agriculturalists in modern markets.
See you there!
April 30 and May 1, 2019
The Farm at Agritopia in Gilbert, Arizona.
Tickets are on sale now at localfirstazfoundation.org/azfoodforum-tickets