Good Food Connections will return in 2024!
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Thank you for joining us in 2023!
On Monday, February 27, 2023, Seattle Good Business Network presented the inaugural Good Food Connections, a farm-and-sea-to-table trade conference connecting farmers, fishers, artisans, chefs, buyers and community food stakeholders for a day of networking, conversation, education, and great food. Presented in partnership with Tilth Alliance with support from King Conservation District, the Washington State Microenterprise Association, the Food Business Resource Center (FBRC) at Business Impact NW, Eat Local First, and Puget Sound Food Hub.
When: Monday, February 27, 2023 | 8:30am-5:30pm
Where: Block 41 | 115 Bell St, Seattle, WA 98121
Read below to find the agenda and for details about the day’s events.
8:30 | Registration Opens
8:30 | Networking & Light Breakfast
9:15 | Welcome Remarks
10:00 | Panels
11:00 | Lunch
12:30 | Facilitated Networking
1:30 | Rapid Share Presentations
2:45 | Technical Track
4:00 | Tasting Event
5:30 | Event Ends
1. Essential Links: New Processing Projects Bring Locally Grown, Raised, and Harvested Products to your Table
How can local food buyers source more locally, sustainably, and ethically at the scale they need? How can we preserve the harvest to make sure we can source locally year-round and prevent food waste? How can we ensure there are equitable entry points into the wholesale market for emerging or under-resourced businesses? How can we provide more fresh and nutritious food access to our communities, especially those facing food insecurity?
All of these questions can be addressed with solutions in the often-overlooked middle of the supply chain. Hear about exciting new food processing and infrastructure projects being developed right here in the Puget Sound to help our locally grown and harvested food get from the farm, ranch, forest, and sea to your table.
This panel is for value-added food creators; farmers interested in processing and meat production; and those interested in making connections in the food supply chain.
Founder, Modest Family Solutions
Adasha Turner is the founder and CEO of Modest Family Solutions and BlackSeed Agroecology Farms and is a committee member of the South Seattle Community Food Hub, where she is currently managing community outreach. Ms. Turner has expertise in leading BIPOC community food, health and wellness initiatives, including as a last mile food distributor emergency food through the WSDA WeFeedWa program, and as a co-creator of the report, Assessing WA Food Systems Through an Equity Lens, conducted by a BIPOC Leadership Team in collaboration with the WSU Food Systems Program. Modest Family Solutions current projects include establishing an Everett based family resource center, managing a hydroponic farm utilizing afrocentric growing practices, and managing 10 acres of farmland as part of the Agrarian Trust, becoming the first Black-led organization to have a 99-year inheritable, transferable lease committed to providing culturally relevant food on a consistent basis for the Pacific Northwest.
Ms. Turner’s current additional work includes: Social Entrepreneurship & Educational Development (SEED) Incubator Program, a consortium made up of Modest Family Solutions, Black Brilliance Research Project, and Snohomish County Workforce Development Board and the Agro.Up Technical Assistance program by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI) for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI) and businesses entering into agribusiness via Indoor Ag Tech, Post Harvest Processing and Butcher/ Halal Slaughter Certification.
Owner, Falling River Meats
Marzolf Meats/Falling River Meats is owned by Darron and Christeena Marzolf. This husband and wife team do custom meat processing along with USDA retail meats that they sell online and soon from their new store front in Downtown North Bend. Their operation includes on-farm slaughter, WSDA custom cut & wrap. and soon USDA slaughter and cut & wrap. In addition to processing they make value-added products like hotdogs/corndogs and a raw pet food line.
Darron is a fourth-generation butcher who helps local farmers harvest their animals. He is also on the King County Ag Commison and sits on the advisory board. Having spent many years as a board member of SnoValley Tilth and chair of its Livestock Committee, Christeena continues to sit on multiple SnoValley Tilth committees. They are both passionate about local meats and making sure not only that farmers have access to processing but also that consumers are educated on its true cost and the value that local meats and a resilient local food economy can provide.
Director of the Food Business Resource Center & Special Projects
Prior to joining Business Impact NW, Henry Wong spent 7 years working in the Strategy group at CarMax developing and implementing inventory and buying strategies. Following CarMax, he spent 3 years running his own mobile food truck business and consulting other mobile food start-ups in Tennessee.
He then moved to Seattle where he did contract work for some local nonprofit organizations, including Business Impact NW, before joining the organization full-time. Having grown up around a family-owned restaurant and as a former entrepreneur, Henry understands the unique challenges that small business owners face. He also knows their advantages and the incredible value they can bring. Henry is passionate about leveraging his extensive experiences in strategy and operations to support clients in any stage of their business and strategic planning from concept to growth.
Associate Professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW; Director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR)
Dr. Kent Wheiler has thirty-five years experience in international forest products trade and operations, including 26 years with Weyerhaeuser Company, and 11 years living overseas in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Dubai. In July 2017 he joined the University of Washington as an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR). His research is focused on forest products production and trade (including non-timber forest products like maple syrup), sustainable raw materials, and global supply chains. He also teaches about International Trade, Marketing, and the Environment.
Ryan and Hayleen Mensonides run a familyowned and -operated organic dairy farm based in Enumclaw, Washington. They are building a glass bottle milk processing plant as well as a drive-thru market to sell a portion of their dairy products, along with other locally farmed products.
Together, Ryan and Haylee have four boys, ages 13, 11, 9 & 6. They are just as passionate about this project as their parents. Ryan grew up on a producer/processor dairy farm operation and has a degree in public relations and marketing. He has 17 years of experience in agriculture sales and nutrition. Haylee
has a degree in Communications and manages the finances and bookkeeping for the business. Ryan oversees the daily operations of both the cattle and farming aspects of the farm.
Together, they have owned and operated Mensonides LLC (DBA Providence Farms) for roughly 11 years. They are passionate about educating and engaging community on where our food comes from.
Local Food Economy Manager, King County
For more than 20 years Michael Lufkin has been bringing diverse stakeholders together to tackle complex social and environmental problems. He has designed and implemented innovative policies and programs across a range of natural resource, sustainable agriculture, climate change and renewable energy issues, both in the U.S. and internationally. Michael enjoys and excels at rallying groups with very different interests to work together toward a common goal. He has worked with policymakers, scientists, farmers, and large corporations to bridge their different interests and create tangible solutions that benefit them and their communities. Michael currently leads King County’s Local Food Initiative, where he works with cross-sectoral teams developing innovative solutions that grow the local food economy and increase access to healthy, nutritious food for low-income communities. Michael is an attorney by training and has practiced law in the public, private and non-profit settings.
2. The Future of Food Labor
While there was a growing awareness of labor conditions in the food industry before the pandemic, since 2020 we have been reckoning with the value of our essential workers, including laborers across the entire food chain. At the same time, we’re also facing a labor shortage, with many workers having left the industry altogether. Food labor is facing a crisis.
This panel will explore what a future looks like where we invite workers into the industry, both new and returning, by addressing the systemic issues in their working conditions. We’ll hear from a restaurant who is operating a newly formed worker-cooperative; a mental health service provider caring for farmers dealing with farm stress; and a representative helping farmworkers understand their legal rights.
This panel is for anyone in the food industry (particularly restaurants, retailers, and farmers) and owners/managers interested in creating better working conditions for a food system more resilient to these shared crises.
Esmael Xiutecpatl Lopez
Community Engagement Specialist, NW Justice Project
Esmael is an Outreach Specialist with the NW Justice Project Farm Worker Unit, providing advocacy and individual legal representation to farmworkers and their families to ensure that they are afforded a full range of legal protections. Esmael was the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Governor’s Interagency council on health disparities starting in 2019 and is the Capitan of the Aztec dance group CeAtl Tonalli.
Program Coordinator, Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program (WRASAP)
Julie Jesmer is the program coordinator for WRASAP (Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program). She works in administrative and outreach capacities focusing on collaborating, connecting, and organizing people and organizations that share a vision for addressing agricultural stress in all of its complexity. Her widely varied educational and work background gives her a unique perspective that can blend mental health concepts and community development with a backdrop of agricultural awareness.
Julie grew up in Denver, Colorado and spent her childhood running around in the city park, raising all kinds of pets, and growing plants in her parent’s garden. She was raised in the city, by parents who grew up on high country cattle ranches. She has been a clinical laboratory technician, a research scientist, a case manager in a juvenile prison, a community college instructor, a single mother, a non-profit organization manager, and a perpetual student. Julie has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and a master’s degree in agriculture, specializing in Urban Agriculture.
Julie is passionate about global food justice, positive cross-cultural relationship building, and facilitating connections between diverse groups of people with shared values. She still loves raising animals. Two disabled cats, two puppies, and many fish share her home along with her daughter and two granddaughters.
Bar Manager, Jude’s Old Town
The bulk of the last twenty years of Mark Paschal‘s life have been behind a bar or pursuing a PhD. He grew up just outside of Seattle, left when he turned 18, and finally returned after two decades spent moving apartments up and down the coasts and northern climates. Mark has spoken at history conferences, edited a journal, and written about the history of higher education for several publications, but has so far failed to learn how to stir three cocktails at the same time.
At base, he’s been propelled by a desire to understand how those who do the work might build their power such that we can create a world where everyone is able to collectively determine the shape of their work and their leisure.
Ruby de Luna
Ruby de Luna is a reporter with a focus on food and how it intersects with health, communities, and culture. She has also reported on health care, and immigrant communities. Ruby is a transplant from Taipei, Taiwan.
3. Opportunities for Equitable Land Access
We know how vital land access is to the foundation of our local food system, but it is often out of reach financially or not available to new and emerging farmers. This panel will feature different models that show how non-traditional acquisition and management seek to address some of these challenges and create more equity in farming.
Examples include Horseneck Farm, where multiple organizations host farmers across the acreage; the new Yakama Nation Farm recently transferred from the Inaba family; and an organization that preserves organic farmland and matches it to farmers in search of land.
This panel is for farmers seeking plot and land opportunities as well as anyone interested in the future of land access and stewardship.
Project Manager, Yakama Nation Farms
Jonalee is the Program Manager for Yakama Nation Agricultural Development. She is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and had previously worked for Yakama Nation Fisheries, primarily focused in climate change planning. Since May 2022, Jonalee has been closely working to assist the Yakama Nation in transitioning their newly acquired 1,500-acre grow/pack/ship produce farm in Wapato Washington. Through expanding existing partnerships and creating new opportunities to support local communities, the Yakama Nation hopes to provide consistent, fresh high-quality and healthy produce options to their local and regional tribal communities. The Yakama Nation envisions a future with increased food sovereignty and food security, using agriculture as a tool to strengthen Treaty Rights in their home territories.
Project Director, Living Well Kent
Conservation Manager, WA Farmland Trust
Stephanie Peña, Conservation Manager, joined Washington Farmland Trust in 2022 in support of expanding the Trust’s land conservation work in Puget Sound, with an emphasis on central Puget Sound and Snohomish County. Stephanie facilitates development of conservation projects including collaboration with project partners, conducting acquisition due diligence, relationship building with landowners and farmers, and closing of conservation easement and fee interest purchases.
Stephanie brings over a decade of varied experiences to her role as a Conservation Manager, from running operations teams at high growth tech companies to owning and operating her own diversified farm in the Umpqua National Forest.
Stephanie’s pivot away from the private sector and into farming was borne out of a love for our planet and a deep concern for how inequity expresses itself in agriculture. The intersection of Stephanie’s own lived experiences as a Latina, first generation American, first generation college/high school graduate, and native Spanish speaker – coupled with her exposure to our fractured farming industry – have shaped her relentless pursuit of a more equitable, resilient, and human-centered food system.
Agricultural Land Use Coordinator, King County
Melissa Borsting works with the Agriculture Program in King County’s Water and Land Resources Division. In this role, her focus is farmland access and utilization. She supports collaborative efforts to connect farmers to farmland, work that requires creative problem solving in a region where land prices make traditional land ownership increasingly less common. She manages King County’s Farmland Leasing Program, which facilitates access to farmland and farming infrastructure for historically underserved farmers. Before coming to King County, Melissa was the Executive Director at SnoValley Tilth, a non-profit focused on networking, farmland access, and community building among farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Rapid Share Presentations
New and emerging projects in local food systems.
Café Manager, ʔálʔal Cafe by Chief Seattle Club
Zhaawanobines, Anthony Johnson, is Anishinaabe and a citizen of the Red Lake Nation in Northern MN. Anthony was born and raised in S. Minneapolis. He studied at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, where he graduated with a degree in finance. He moved to Seattle in May of 2021. Shortly thereafter, he started as the ál?al Café Manager at Chief Seattle Club. He cares deeply about hunting, fishing, and foraging for traditional foods and decolonizing his diet.
Food in Motion Operations Director, OSL
After serving with Americorps for 2.5 years around the United States, Abid Choudhury found a long career with OSL to plant his feet and work on a project to see it grow. Within 9 years, Abid has come to learn much about food rescue and the impact it can have to those who are food insecure.
Pheng Thao, General Manager, WA Hmong Farmers Cooperative
Pheng Thao works with local Hmong farmers in Snohomish County and King County to coordinate sales and deliveries of varieties of flowers and fresh produce. In 2019 he worked for Asian Economic Development Association as a Business Development Officer, and before that he worked for the Immigrant Refugees Community Organization based in Portland, Oregon. Pheng Thao enjoys helping people in his work and in his personal life.
Owner & Chef, Theary Cambodian Foods
Theary Ngeth serves Khmer foods at Spice Bridge — a global food hall in Tukwila — and provides free meals mainly to members of the Cambodian community, many of whom are refugees like her.
Born in Cambodia, Theary and her family escaped the Khmer Rouge genocide by way of Thailand before making their way to the United States. While she was growing up, Theary’s mother started a seniors meal program. More than just food, it was a way for seniors to come together, share their life experiences, and find their way in a new country.
Now, Theary has taken up the mantle to make and share traditional Khmer cuisine and connect with her parents’ legacy. While Khmer cuisine might be lesser-known outside of the Cambodian community, Theary hopes to change that, “one customer at a time.”
Her dishes can be found at Theary Cambodian Foods at Spice Bridge.
Community Nutrition Program Manager, PCC Community Markets
With the creation of the new Marketing + Purpose Team, Rachel’s title will be changing to Senior Manager, Community Food Systems, to better reflect the work she has been and will be doing at PCC. Rachel leads strategy, planning, and execution of PCC’s commitment to our local community food system – building and maintaining strategic partnerships, working with stakeholders on annual fundraising campaigns, and collaborating with the membership team on accessible membership programs.
Rachel completed the Registered Dietitian at Bastyr University and attended Tulane University in New Orleans for a dietetic internship focused on community nutrition followed by a fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Before joining PCC in 2019 as Community Nutrition Program Manager, Rachel spent over 10 years working in community-driven solutions to food access, collaborating with organizations to support the work they were doing in this area. During her time at PCC Rachel has worked to integrate these concepts into the work PCC has done in the region for years, building on and developing new ways we can use our role in the community to make local, organic foods more accessible.
In her free time Rachel loves to read, get out into nature with her 2-year-old and get together with friends.
Farm to Community Program Manager, Harvest Against Hunger
A life-long outdoor enthusiast from the Garden State, Maddie Price (she/they) became committed to the interdisciplinary linkage of environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, and food justice during her university studies across the US, Panama, and the UK, where their research explored paradigms from the consumer to the national policy level toward understanding, embracing, and scaling up sustainable food production. She holds a M.S. in Conservation & Rural Development and experience at various small nonprofits as an environmental educator and volunteer coordinator to engage the public in ecological stewardship, citizen science, and organic gardening.
Food Access Coordinator, Neighborhood Farmers Markets
As the Food Access Coordinator at the Neighborhood Farmers Markets (NFM), Yuki Zheng supports the coordination and implementation of food access programs to bring local food to all. At NFM, Yuki works with hunger relief organizations to get farm-fresh produce to their clients’ hands, government agencies to make shopping more affordable at markets, and farmers to ensure their produce gets to more people.
After studying sustainability and food systems, Yuki became passionate about strong local food systems and wanted to ensure everyone had access to purchase and eat sustainable, local, and fresh foods.
Outreach Coordinator, WA Food & Farm Finder; Co-Owner, Bright Ide Acres
Micha Ide is a farmer and ag service provider located in Pierce County. For the past several years she has managed Pierce County Fresh, which became a member of the Eat Local First Collaborative in 2019. She is now the statewide Outreach Coordinator for Eat Local First. In her “spare time” Micha operates a 30-acre diversified livestock farm, Bright Ide Acres, with her husband.
1. Commercial Leasing
Senior Associate Broker, West Coast Commercial Property
Susanna came to commercial real estate from a dynamic background as a small business owner and operator in the beauty, restaurant and fashion industry, including owning a high-end optical retail boutique, holding strategic positions in the family restaurant business and owning several spas. She primarily focuses on tenant representation, leveraging her experience as a former retailer and business owner to help her clients achieve their location and expansion goals.
2. No HR? No Problem!
Project Manager, Launch Industries
Jake Galasso has a professional background in human resources, business administration, sales, and customer service. He was the HR Generalist for a retail company with 100 employees as well as the operations manager for a non-profit. Now, he is a Project Manager for Launch Industries as well as a small business owner.
Jake enjoys helping people solve problems creatively. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, but sometimes you do. Collaboration, equal opportunity, and respect are what Jake values. He looks forward to learning to be successful alongside small businesses.
Jake is a Seattle native with two dogs that keep his partner and him busy. Jake loves the outdoors, spending time with family, and staying productive. His business, Ollie Van LLC, specializes in transportation and delivery services. They also also offer social events and activities for disabled adults around King County to help get them out into the community to socialize and learn.
Jennifer Clemens, Sr. HR Business Partner, Amazon
Jennifer Clemens is a tenured HR leader currently supporting the Project Kuiper organization within Amazon. In this role, she partners closely with the business on strategic HR initiatives, organization design and development, talent management, leadership growth and development, employee experience and performance management to name a few.
Jennifer has a passion for food and health and has certifications in both holistic health coaching and culinary fields, along with volunteer work experience with the Cooking Matters program of Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry. After moving to Seattle in 2013, she paired these passions with her education and training in HR, and was hired as HR Manager for HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Cafe (formerly Thrive). After having worked many years in large organizations, this role gave her insight into and an appreciation for the HR opportunities and challenges faced by small business owners.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH
Enjoy a gourmet lunch created by critically acclaimed local chef Kristi Brown and her talented team at That Brown Girl Cooks! Featuring wild caught salmon from Duna Fisheries and locally sourced ingredients from Puget Sound Food Hub.
Taste samples products from 40 local producers, ready to delight your customers from food service and retail! We’re delighted to have the following vendors participate in this delicious way to end the day: