7:15 am Vendor Set-Up
8:30 am Attendee Registration Begins
9:00 am Welcome Address:
- Nicola Williams, Chair, Local Food Committee, Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN), President, The Williams Agency
- John Tobin, Vice President for City and Community Affairs at Northeastern University
- Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle, Agricultural Markets, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
- Keynote: Ismail Samad, Director of Operations, CommonWealth Kitchen
Ismail is a pioneer among chef-advocates for the reduction of food waste in kitchens across the country. Trained as an environmental biologist, then as a chef, he incorporates food rescue principles into his meals, creating menus that are directly linked to sustainability.
- Elena Klonoski, Local Food Program Manager, Sustainable Business Network
9:30 am Open Floor Trading Begins
9:30 am – 10:45 am Workshop 1 – Getting In and Staying In
9:30 am – 10:45 am Buyers Panel – Open to Food Buyers Only – Success Stories from The Field
10:00 am – 3:00 pm 1:1 Consultation Sessions Occurring
11:15 am – 12:30 pm Workshop 2 – Strategies for Building a Culture Equity in One’s Business
12:00 pm Lunch
3:00 pm Trade Show Closes
Buyers ONLY Panel – Success Stories from the Field
9:30 am – 10:45 am – Room 333 on 3rd Floor
This workshop is focused on buyers and will examine how to forge successful trade relationships between producers and buyers of local food that work. In sharing their stories, panelists will share discuss challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in building good trade relationships that mutually benefit the producers and buyers. They will provide insights into how they have learned from each other and offer tools and support for encouraging workshop participants to seek new ways of working with each other that advances the local food movement while bringing about healthy bottom lines.
- Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing (Moderator)
- Peter McCarthy, Owner, EVOO/Za
- Scott Choiniere, Executive Vice President, The Abbey Food Service Management Group
- Gwen Robins, Buyer, Pemberton Farms
- Susan Engler, Senior Director of Supply Chain and Operation Services, B.Good
Getting In and Staying In: Marketing Strategies and Tools to Get Your Products Into Food Services/Stores and Sell Successfully Once You’re in!
9:30 am – 10:45 am – McLeod Room 3 on 3rd Floor
This workshop will provide practical suggestions about how to get your product into wholesale, institutional, and retail settings; how to build relationships with the buyers and procurement teams; and what you can do to ensure that your product is successful once you’re in. We’ll hear from retail, distributors, and marketing experts. The panelists will share strategies and tips for what buyers are looking for in their relationships with producers.
Topics covered include:
- How to manage and maintain your brand
- What you can do to ensure that the “eaters” are excited about and continue to buy your products
- What marketing tools you can use for planning
- Nicola Williams, President, The Williams Agency (Moderator)
- Anastasia Nickerson, Category Specialist, Katsiroubas Produce
- Dave Valicenti, Owner, Valicenti Pasta Farm
- Francesca Rovello, Vice President, Marlo Marketing
Step into the Challenge: Building a Culture of Equity in One’s Business
11:15 am – 12:30 pm – McLeod Room 3 on 3rd Floor
This workshop is focused on how core values of our businesses build the culture of the brand not only for its customers yet also for its employees. While an inclusive culture encompasses a commitment to workforce diversity, it is not limited simply to representation. Instead, an inclusive culture “…indicates a climate in which respect, equity, and positive recognition of differences are all cultivated”. Tools and strategies will be shared to support such a culture shift. We will explore the contributions of unexpected outcomes and opportunities that have emerged for those who have made this commitment and priority. You are invited to step into the Challenge!
- Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting and Food Solutions New England
1:1 SESSIONS (10 am – 3 pm)
The Williams Agency – Nicola Williams – 1 – 2 pm
Nicola Williams founded The Williams Agency in 1995. Nicola, with over 20 years of industry experience and international respect, is recognized for superior problem-solving, project management, relationship building, and strategic planning skills. She has a strong marketing background in marketing management, market research, brand development, advertising, public relations, sponsorship development, and event promotions. She is passionate about making a difference and is constantly sought after for public engagements. Williams was the producer and one of the founding organizers of the Boston Local Food Festival, Boston’s premier food event and top 10 food events in the City. She is the brainchild of Boston JerkFest and Vermont JerkFest, Caribbean-style foodie events that launched in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Nicola also developed the concepts for and produces Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest and Local Craft Spirits Festival in the Greater Boston area. Nicola was instrumental in building Cambridge Carnival International into the largest festival in Cambridge and one of the top 10 festivals in Boston.
Teak Media + Communications – Allison Epstein – 12 – 3 pm
Bringing a nonprofit, donor relations and event perspective to her clients, Epstein actively and passionately leads accounts and events that focus on children’s welfare, the environment, education, and health care. Epstein is an excellent writer, organizer, and advocate for her clients. She brings to Teak a deep understanding of nonprofits, as she earned a BA in media communication at the College of Charleston and a Master of Science in nonprofit management, with a concentration in organizational communication, from Northeastern University. Epstein has also worked with many clients in the food and hunger space, such as Project Bread, and Food for Free and Hungry Harvest. Teak Media has worked with clients such as Little Leaf Farm and Dean’s Beans.
LAZ PR, Inc. – Lisa Lazarczyk & Reni Gertner – 10am – 3 pm
For more than 20 years, LAZ PR has helped food and beverage companies build brand recognition through the power of PR, strategic marketing strategies and creative initiatives. Lisa Lazarczyk, the founder of LAZ PR, works closely with consumer-product companies in the food and beverage space to raise awareness of their brands. LAZ PR’s media achievements include Good Morning America, CNN, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, INC. Magazine, Vogue, Rachael Ray, Food & Wine, local publications including Boston Magazine and Boston Globe, and many other print, broadcast and online sources.
LAZ PR has worked with companies of all sizes, including such brands as: Roche Bros. Supermarkets; Nelsons Homeopathy/Rescue Remedy; Seventh Generation cleaning products; Ian’s allergy-friendly foods; Peak Organic Brewing; Harada Tea of Japan; Farmers To You; FlavaNaturals; Slade Gorton Seafood; Moosewood; and Vitasoy/Nasoya.
Reni Gertner, MPH, Marketing & Branding Strategist for the LAZ PR team, specializes in marketing, branding and strategic communications. She creates effective, targeted messages and plans to connect your business with the right customers. Reni brings more than 20 years of experience in creating and launching new products and developing and implementing strategies for growth.
Marlo Marketing – Francesca Rovello – 11am – 12:40pm
Francesca joined Marlo marketing in 2017, bringing with her more than 14 years of experience executing strategic communications programs across a wide variety of industries including luxury lifestyle, apparel, food, beverage, consumer packaged goods, beauty and nonprofit.
Prior to Marlo, Francesca was at Cone Communications, where she oversaw some of the agency’s largest consumer accounts, including Keurig, Lindt Chocolate, Barbour, Breville and Purina. She began her career in New York City executing national media relations programs for a roster of global beauty & grooming brands. And, for over six years, she supported the iconic DeBeers A Diamond Is Forever integrated marketing campaign at JWT New York, where she managed the development and execution of the brand’s strategic global product launches, celebrity and influencer relations, industry thought leadership, experiential events and crisis communications.
Originally from Hingham, Massachusetts, Francesca is a graduate of Boston College.
OctoCog Marketing & Design – Dan Donato – 10am – 12pm/1pm – 2pm
Dan Donato founded OctoCog Marketing & Design after nearly two decades of freelance work for clients across industries with a focus on Food & Beverage. He designed and launched his first website for a paying client in 1999. He helps new and established businesses understand their identities and translate them into consistent narrative frameworks that help brands resonate with customers and focus employees on what’s important. Scalability depends on getting the foundational aspects of a business right. Dan has worked with clients large and small, including several James Beard Award winners and large brands like Chipotle. Dan holds a masters degree from Harvard University where he studied the effects of a growing digital landscape on human behavior. He recently traveled to Naples, Italy, to learn more about the Neapolitan pizza style. He dined at 28 pizzerias in 5 days and regrets nothing. Dan lives in Marblehead, MA with his wife, two children, and a dog named Ruff Waldo Emerson. He likes his coffee black, and he thinks that beer and labor cost percentages are both best under 5%.
Laury Hammel – 10 – 12 pm
Laury founded the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) in 1988, and has been leading the sustainable business movement in Massachusetts ever since. He is the owner and president of Longfellow Health Clubs – a group of health and recreation clubs in the Greater Boston area- considered to be among the greenest health clubs in the U.S. Laury has also been instrumental in founding numerous additional regional and national networks including Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
Good Egg Marketing – Myrna Greenfield – 12 – 2 pm
Good Egg Founder and “Top Egg” Myrna Greenfield has worked in the food and beverage, marketing, health care, and hi-tech industries. Greenfield was employee #1 at Equal Exchange, a Fair Trade coffee and food cooperative. She’s the former director of Communications and Campaigns at Oxfam America and served at many other non-profits, including the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Fenway Community Health, and the Child Care Resource Center.
Equinox Food Brokers – Dan Reilly – 10:30am – 1:30pm
Dan Reilly’s passion for food began at a young age. His career has spanned work in food service and distribution where he acquired experience in sales, marketing, logistics, and operations. He eventually started Equinox Food Brokers in 2018. The focus of Equinox Food Brokers is to support local food producers by increasing sales at a healthy and sustainable rate. Equinox Food Brokers currently works with 16 local producers and about 20 food distributors in the Northeast and is continuously expanding its reach. Dan is a problem solver and people connector, and has an exceptional track record for building, growing and generating sales in the specialty food market. His experience, focus and solid relationships with distributors make him ideally positioned to help businesses grow.
Morgan, Brown & Joy – Deepa Desai – 10 am – 12 pm
Deepa Desai is an associate attorney at Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP. She represents employers in a variety of labor and employment matters. As an employment litigator, Deepa defends employers against claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, as well as wage and hour violations and contract disputes. When proactively counseling clients, she provides advice in connection with many workplace matters, including the preparation of employee handbooks, hiring, terminations, discipline, leaves of absence, benefits compliance, and reasonable accommodation.
Deepa is a graduate of Boston University (cum laude), where she studied Political Science and History, and Northeastern University School of Law, where she concentrated in Labor, Work and Income and Business and Commercial Law. Deepa also currently serves as the Clerk of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston.
The Legal Food Hub – Mary Lovell – 1 – 3 pm
The Legal Food Hub provides free legal assistance for income-eligible farmers, food entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations through our network of local attorneys. During consultation sessions, conference attendees can find out more about the legal services and educational resources that the Legal Food Hub offers. Staff will start the case intake process for eligible participants with legal needs. You can learn more about the Legal Food Hub and eligibility requirements here: www.legalfoodhub.org
Eastern Bank – Charles Smith – 12 – 3 pm
Charles works at Eastern Bank with a team of professionals to help Small Businesses gain access to capital through various financing programs, in particular the Small Business Administration (SBA) program.
Fair Food Fund – Joel Moyer – 11 am – 12 pm / 1pm – 3 pm
Joel Moyer supports the Fair Food Fund, the impact investing arm of the Fair Food Network that provides financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that connect small and mid-size farms with consumers hungry for local, sustainably grown food.
As Portfolio Manager, Joel seeks out businesses interested in financing and determines their alignment with the Fund’s goals of supporting farms in the Northeast, promoting environmental sustainability, sparking local economic development, and increasing access to locally grown food. Joel is responsible for the day-to-day management of the fund’s investment portfolio and handles due diligence of potential investment opportunities. He also supports the Fair Food Fund’s annual Business Boot Camp.
Joel has an MBA in Sustainability from Antioch University New England, where he focused on impact investing, community capital, and leveraging the positive attributes of capitalism for good.
Local Enterprise Asistance Fund (LEAF) – Jose Luis and Emma Turcotte – 10 am – 12 pm
LEAF lends nationally, with a focus on community-owned natural food cooperatives that create high quality jobs and provide access to healthy food in urban and rural communities; low-income cooperative housing developments; and worker-owned firms and other community-based businesses and social enterprises. Since its founding over 30 years ago, LEAF has invested and leveraged over $122 million, resulting in the creation or retention of more than 10,300 jobs.
In addition, LEAF provides capital advisory services and other technical assistance to small businesses in the Greater Boston Area LEAF’s mission is to promote human and economic development by providing financing and development assistance to cooperatives and social purpose ventures that create and save jobs for low-income people.
Sitari Capital – Lisa Sebesta – 1 – 3 pm
As Founder of Sitari Capital, Lisa works with investors to evaluate and manage impactful, direct investments in private companies that align with their values. She is also a Managing Partner at Fresh Source Capital, LLC, and a General Partner in Fresh Source Capital Fund 1, which focuses on the sustainable food and agriculture sector. Previously, Lisa served as a consultant to the Fair Food Fund, and spent 15 years as an equity analyst and portfolio manager for investment firms Batterymarch Financial Management and Boston Advisors. Lisa is an advisor and/or board observer to several food and agriculture businesses, including Atlantic Sea Farms, Farmers To You, Big Picture Beef, and Boston Public Market. Lisa holds an undergraduate degree from Holy Cross and earned her Masters at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is a CFA® Charterholder and member of the Boston Security Analysts Society.