Introducing confirmed speakers for soss 2015:
Michael Sligh is the Program Director of the Rural Advancement Foundation International's (RAFI) Just Foods Program. As a founding member of RAFI, Michael manages policy, research and education regarding agricultural best practices, agricultural biodiversity, biotechnology, organic identity preservation and a range of food justice and other value-added food labeling, and marketing issues. He has more than 30 year of experience in agricultural practices and policy analysis, including both domestic and international work. Michael holds the following titles: Founding Chair of the National Organic Standards Board (a federal advisory committee to the USDA); Founder of Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG); Founder of National Organic Coalition, Founding partner of Agricultural Justice Project, Founding member of Domestic Fair Trade Association. He is also a part-time family farmer and a trained anthropologist. Michael lives, farms and works in North Carolina.
Tom Stearns began gardening at an early at at his family home in CT. Prior to completing a degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Prescott College in AZ, he began saving seeds. A hobby was born in 1996 in Vermont, when Tom began sharing these seeds with others through a small seed flyer. High Mowing Organic Seeds has since expanded into one of the leading organic seed companies in the U.S., supplying both home gardeners and commercial growers. Tom's vision has always been to create a company that would help support the re-building of healthy food systems, first in Vermont, followed by the rest of the U.S. He has also taught numerous workshops since 1996 on many topics such as agriculture education, economics, community supported agriculture, genetic engineering, plant breeding, local food systems, sustainable business, investing and more. His informal, personal style, ability to explain complex issues and infectious enthusiasm makes him a popular and inspiring speaker. In addition, he has served on the board of several agricultural organizations, most notably as the current president of The Center for an Agricultural Economy. He lives on 50 acres in Vermont, with his wife Heather and their two girls, Ruby and Cora.
Shelton is the Product Development Coordinator at High Mowing Organic Seeds, and a Seed Matters post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research includes policy analysis and advocacy to support public plant breeding programs at land grant universities. She earned a master’s degree in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics and a doctorate in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is proud to have participated in the breeding and release of Who Gets Kissed?, an open-pollinated sweet corn bred for and with organic farmers. Shelton has been involved with the organic farming movement as a farmer, organizer, seed saver and breeder for 15 years.
more speakers to come...
past speakers include:
Albert Culbreath, University of Georgia
Jane Dever, Texas A&M
R. Ford Denison, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Major Goodman, North Carolina State University
Humberto Rios Labrada, International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA)
Mark Sorrells, Cornell University
Edith T. Lammerts Van Bueren, Louis Bolk Institute and Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance
Julie Dawson, Cornell University
Matthew Dillon, Seed Matters
Irwin Goldman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Rob Johnston and Janika Eckert, Johnny's Selected Seeds
Stephen Jones, Washington State University
Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jodi Lew-Smith, High Mowing Organic Seeds
Michael Mazourek, Cornell University
John Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance
Erica Renaud, Vitalis Organic Seeds
William Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds