AgroEco Conference 2021 Schedule

Monday, Mar 1stTuesday, Mar 2ndWednesday, Mar 3rdThursday Mar 4thFriday, Mar 5th
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Monday, Mar 8thTuesday, Mar 9thWednesday, Mar 10thThursday, Mar 11thFriday, Mar 12th
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Conference Sessions by Track

Opening & Closing Events

Opening Session (Tuesday, Mar 2 11am-12pm)

Our Agroecological City conference is inherently about place and the lands, waters, and air of the various cityscapes in which we are all embedded. Through her story, Elder Ruth Orta (Jalquin/Saclan/Ochejamne) will ground and frame our two weeks together by calling in the baseline value and organizing principles of Indigenous food and cultural sovereignties. Conference organizers will also provide context and also share out the words and thoughts about urban agriculture that participants provided in their registration. All registrants are invited to join for this energizing opener!

Closing Session (Thursday, Mar 11 11am-1pm)

In our final day, organizers will provide highlights and key learnings, connecting the dots between the varied conference sessions. Chairperson Val Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band will provide a closing frame for these two weeks in land justice, sovereignty, and healing. Conference organizers will then lead us into discussions of “where to from here?” for our varying agroecological cities. Our final hour together will involve dedicated space to address that question in community and then more informally network with each other. Come to the final session to get inspired, reconnect, and meet new folks!

Creating Resilience Across Agriculture and Ancestry Track

Ancestral healing through food and land stewardship: A peer-to-peer workshop (Tues, Mar 2 2-4pm)

The challenges posed by our exploitative and racialized food system require that we work in multicultural coalitions and movements. But so often, these efforts are hindered by an inability to create a sense of belonging and work across lines of difference. Healthy foods and land stewardship offer powerful tools to reconnect the body to healthful lifeways, improve nutrition, reduce inflammation, and heal ancestral pain. This workshop, facilitated by a diverse coalition of voices from across Northern California, will place peers in affinity groups to discuss culturally-relevant practices and lessons and then broaden into a group discussion on multicultural approaches to healing on land. This workshop aims to develop practices and agreements for collective liberation in the food system that honor each of our unique gifts.

Just Transition to Agroecology: Transferring power and restoring sovereignty to BIPOC land stewards (Mon, Mar 8 2-4pm)

The US agri-food system was made possible only through the enslavement of African peoples, the destruction of Indigenous lands and foodways, and the labor of people of color and immigrants. Yet in the face of this devastation, BIPOC communities’ resistance, cooperative strategies, and ancestral knowledge of healing land stewardship practices are beacons in today’s agro-industrial landscape. “Just Transition” has emerged as “a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members.” To heal ecological systems across our vast urban and rural areas will require the transfer of power and restoration of sovereignty to BIPOC land stewards. But how can this Just Transition occur in food systems? Join this panel discussion for a conversation with Bay Area leaders in this vital work!

Innovative Land Access for Urban Farming Track

Land access through private partnerships (Wed, Mar 3 10am-12pm)

With some of the highest real estate costs in the country, private Bay Area land in particular presents economic obstacles to many agroecological endeavors. This panel will discuss how organizations have used various paths to land sovereignty and land access and explore the differences between sovereignty and access. Our panelists have variously relied on local tax incentives, Indigenous-led rematriation and collective ownership, partnering with faith-based organizations, and justice-oriented community land trusts. Come discuss these strategies and more. 

Land access through public partnerships (Thu, Mar 4 10am-12pm)

Land access and tenure security continue to be some of the biggest challenges facing Bay Area urban food growers striving to address food security at the neighborhood and community level. This panel discussion will showcase several East Bay Area urban ag groups that have successfully accessed public lands in innovative ways, with opportunities for sharing and discussion. As a participant, you will learn about dynamic public lands access-pathways, from railways to parks and housing authorities to school properties, for growing food in cities.  Come learn and share with panelists and your fellow participants!

Local and state policymakers play an important role in promoting urban farming at the city, county, state and federal levels. You will learn from our California public officials about initiatives they have supported that advance urban agriculture in their jurisdictions. Our panelists will cover multiple governance and legal angles, speaking from their experiences in the State Assembly, regional Management Districts, and in mayoral offices. Come have a conversation about what opportunities may exist for increasing land tenure and security for urban farmers, as well as other policy and planning processes that can strengthen urban farming networks and viability across the state.

Resilience Through Agroecology, Food & Education Track

Challenges and opportunities for education in urban agroecology (Thu, Mar 4 2-3:30pm)

What are the ‘best’ roles of educators and educational institutions in urban farming and agroecology? Through this panel session, we will discuss the importance of student and community-led education in urban agroecology for all ages. Our panelists represent multiple types of educational entities (e.g., public and private universities, K-12 schools, non-profit outdoor learning) and come from a variety of educational backgrounds. 

Strengthening agroecological resilience in the city (Wed, Mar 10 10am-12pm)

In this highly interactive session, we dig into the latest agroecology research and discuss recent (and historical) crises that impact urban farming and vice versa. We will first focus on research and practices that foster soil health and beneficial insects and address soil contamination. Building from there, speakers and participants will discuss how human and ecological networks allow urban food systems to act in response to crises, including wildfires, COVID-19, and systemic racism.