NAFSN Voices From the Grassroots Webinar Series

NAFSN's Voices From the Grassroots webinars share innovations in the field and highlights efforts to promote just and sustainable food systems. They provide you with the opportunity to learn and interact with food system practitioners and experts in diverse locations and regions. They're free and open to the public! 


NAFSN'S Finding Your Future in Food Systems webinar series will provide participants with connections and insights to help them identify next steps for their careers. The four-part series features speakers from job-creating organizations and businesses, some working locally in their communities, others with national and international scope.
The series has been produced specifically for college students and other emerging professionals. Of course, all are welcome.

REGISTER FOR OCT 6, 2021, 6-7PM ET (featuring Violet Reed, Natalie Cruz)

REGISTER FOR OCT 19, 2021, 6-7PM ET (featuring Michelle A.T. Hughes, Yeun Byun, Scott Snodgrass)

REGISTER FOR NOV 3, 2021, 6-7PM ET (featuring Candace Clark, Erin Croom, Tiffany Guinn)

REGISTER FOR NOV 16, 2021, 6-7PM ET (featuring Bailey Moritz, Alesha Hartley)

Featured speakers shown from top left to right: (1st row) Yeun Byun of Fresh Approach in CA; Michelle A.T. Hughes of National Young Farmers Coalition in DC; Scott Snodgrass of Agmenity in TX; Erin Croom of Small Bites Adventure Club in GA; (2nd row) Candace Clark of Hi Tech Consulting in IL; Tiffany Guinn of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in DC; Violet Reed of Mahwah Environmental Volunteer Organization in NJ; Alesha Hartley of Upcycled Food Association of CO; (3rd row) Bailey Moritz of World Wildlife Fund in ME; Natalie Cruz of NAFSN in NY, series leadership guide; Nika Colley of Cornell University, series co-host; Joy Davis of Cornell University, series co-host.



Webinar #5

Wed., Sept. 29, 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm EST


Register for this free webinar here

Rebecca Thistlethwaite


Rebecca is the director of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN), an Extension community of practice for niche meat producers and processors housed at Oregon State University. She brings 23 years of experience in agriculture, including running her own successful pasture-based livestock and poultry farm for a number of years. Rebecca lives in The Dalles, OR, on the banks of the Columbia River with her two children.

This webinar will focus on the shift felt nationwide during COVID-19 outbreaks when smaller, more agile meat processors were able to operate and support farmers in ways that large processing companies could not. Rebecca will also discuss barriers for start-ups, including the shortage of skilled labor, investment expenses, and policies. This webinar will provide ample opportunity for interactive learning from Rebecca as an accomplished practitioner & activist.


Webinar #4

Thursday, May 27, 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm EST


The recording of the Zoom webinar is here (1 hour long).

Suzan Erem


Suzan Erem is the executive director of Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) in West Branch, Iowa. Suzan will speak on SILT's "Circle our Cities" campaign to ground local food systems in permanent local farms. The goal of the campaign is to surround 10 Iowa cities with 10 permanent table food farms in 10 years, and to encourage other cities to learn from and adopt the approach.

Learn how the SILT model takes land speculation and mortgage interest out of the equation for the benefit of future healthy food farmers. This multimedia webinar will provide ample opportunity for interactive learning with the featured speaker.


Webinar #3

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST


The recording of the Zoom webinar is here (1 hour long).


Megan Larmer is the Senior Director of Regional Food Programs for the Glynwood Center for Regional Food & Farming in Cold Spring, NY.  This webinar will focus on Glynwood’s “Local Food for Every Table” initiative, a holistic regional approach to increase food access during and beyond the COVID-10 pandemic, and achieve food sovereignty and food justice in the long term. Attendees will learn about Glynwood’s farm donations to local hunger relief organizations; Glynwood’s coordination of a revolving loan fund  to expand accessibility to CSA for those using SNAP; and Glynwood’s Food Sovereignty Fund to contract with small-to-mid-scale Hudson Valley farms that follow regenerative agricultural practices, the majority of whom are led by people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or women.

This multimedia webinar will provide ample opportunity for interactive learning from Megan as an accomplished practitioner & activist.

Webinar #2

Thursday, February 25, 2021, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST


The recording of the Zoom webinar is here (1 hour long).


Joshua Stoll is a co-founder of the Local Catch Network. LCN supports small and community-based fishermen, harvesters, and seafood businesses. As a community of practice, the network includes fishermen, organizers, researchers, and consumers throughout North America who are providing local, healthful, low-impact seafood via community-supported fisheries and direct-marketing arrangements. 

Since 2011, Josh has worked closely with LCN members and partners to elevate small and community-based fisheries. LCN has 200+ members committed to a shared core of values and striving to elevate local and regional seafood systems. This multimedia webinar will provide ample opportunity for interactive learning from Joshua as an accomplished practitioner/researcher.

Webinar #1

Thursday, December 10, 2020, 1:00 pm EST


The recording of the Zoom webinar is here (1 hour long).

Carla Norwood portrait

Carla Norwood, PhD, shared details of the ways in which Working Landscapes advances economic development, environmental resilience, and improved nutrition in the rural communities of Warren County, North Carolina. Most of her work focuses on building stronger linkages between rural communities and nearby urban areas.

Working Landscapes is a regional leader in aligning stakeholders and decision-makers across the food supply chain to achieve health, economic, and social equity goals. This multimedia webinar provided ample opportunity for interactive learning from a boots-on-the-ground practitioner.


 Staff of Working Landscapes

Laura Lauffer is the Extension associate and project director for EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems at North Carolina State University and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. As co-chair of the NAFSN Productions Circle (2020-2021), Laura is committed to amplifying the voices of community-based food chain innovators who are improving economic and social equity in rural communities.


NAFSN Good Food Talk: A Sharing of Healing Works

Facilitated by Dr. Gail Myers, chair of the NAFSN Leadership Circle, and Karen Spiller and Curtis Ogden of Food Systems New England (sponsor of the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge). The webinar was co-hosted by the Wallace Center, represented by Andrew Carberry. 

Wed., May 27, 2020, 3:00 pm EDT

If you missed it live, enjoy the recording and the slides! (The recording does not include the sharing during the break-out rooms or the final wrap-up.)

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Best Practices in Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Training in Food Systems

Presented in collaboration with eXtension Open Forum

Thursday, December 12, 2019, at 1:00 pm ET

If you missed it live, enjoy the recording and the slides!

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Uprooting Racism in the Food System: Seeding Sovereignty for Black and Brown Farmers

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 1:00 pm ET

If you missed it live, enjoy the recording!

This webinar seeks to expand perspectives and provide information on institutional and grassroots approaches to engaging socially disadvantaged groups in farming and food systems.

From the latest NAFSN Practitioners survey, Trends in the Food Systems Development Profession in North America: a Comparison of 2012 and 2019:

Key Findings of 2019 Results Compared to the 2012 Baseline

  • Working with socially disadvantaged groups is now the #1 training need reported by professionals. Food hubs and value-adding strategies were tied for second in 2019.
  • Racial and cultural divides and addressing the underlying causes of problems as opposed to symptoms of problems rose significantly as perceived challenges between 2012 and 2019.

Hosted by: Bakari McClendon, NAFSN Leadership Circle

Welcome and Introductions: Gail P. Myers, Founder of Farms to Grow, Inc., and Chair, NAFSN Leadership Circle

Webinar Presenters

  • Rich Pirog – Director, Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University
  • Kimberly N. Carr – Food Sovereignty and Racial Equity Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University
  • Leah Penniman – Soul Fire Farm (Rensselaer County, NY) and Author, Farming While Black

Moderator: Kai Thomas – NAFSN Graduate Student Volunteer

Learn more and find recordings in our ARCHIVES.

Archived NAFSN Good Food Talks


Note: You may need to download an Adobe Connect add-in to see these webinars.

  1. Building a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Food Systems Network
    (produced by NAFSN, July 26, 2017) 

  2. Economic Impact of Local Food Systems 
    (produced by NAFSN and USDA-AMS, May 25, 2017)

  3. Big Hunger: Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups
    (produced by NAFSN, March 29, 2017)

  4. Food Justice and Black Lives: Voices from the Movement 
    (produced by NAFSN and Farms to Grow, February 22, 2017)

  5. Land Justice, Black Agrarianism and the Freedom Movement: Emerging Voices 
    (produced by NAFSN, Farms to Grow, and Food First, January 2017)

  6. We Traded our MetroCards for Tractors: Going from Urban Agriculture to Rural Farming 
    (produced by NAFSN, December 2016)

  7. Collaborative Pathways to Change: Tools for Just and Sustainable Food Systems Networks 
    (produced by NAFSN and the Interaction Institute for Social Change, November 2016)

  8. Food Systems Networks "Circle Forward": Innovations in Collaborative Governance 
    (produced by NAFSN and Circle Forward, October 2016)

  9. Experience of People of Color in Food Systems Work 
    (produced by NAFSN and the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, March 2015)

Do you have a suggestion for a Voices From the Grassroots webinar topic, or would you like to make a presentation? Contact Voices Producer Laura Lauffer: lThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.