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Farm to fork summit

2022 Speakers

Opening Keynote: Rural Food Values – 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout Session 1 TRACK: Feeding People Well – TITLE: Food for Well-Being – Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 Dr. Mary Hendrickson

Rural Sociologist, University of Missouri

I’m a rural sociologist whose passion is making the world a better place through food. The way we produce and consume food had been changing rapidly over the past few decades for both consumers and producers.  For me, food and agriculture are at the nexus of critical 21st century issues of climate change, water scarcity, hunger and energy use.

I seek to contribute to the robust discussion among scholars, policy-makers and citizens about the positive and negative implications of food system changes for farmers, rural communities, the overall environment, and for the health of our population. 

I spent 15 years working to create local food systems in the state of Missouri through University of Missouri Extension where I gained valuable on the ground experience in transforming food systems. I worked extensively with community groups to increase the amount of fresh, flavorful and nutritious food available by providing technical assistance on marketing, business planning, feasibility studies, policy, food safety and consumer preferences to farmers and community groups.

I studied the Kansas City Food Circle in its early stages, helped write grants for cooperatives, and was involved in the creation of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition.  In 2012, I moved to research and teaching full-time.  I currently teach courses on sustainable food and farming systems at MU.

Breakout Session 1 TRACK: Growing Your Farm – TITLE: Compact Farming StrategiesTime: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote:  TITLE: Why Build Your Own Farm Tools? –

Time: 12:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Josh Volk

Manger of the urban CSA, Cully Neighborhood Farm. Consulting under the name Slow Hand Farm. Author of Build Your Own Farm Tools & Compact Farms. Contributor at Growing For Market Magazine.

Josh Volk got his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and after a short stint designing tools for manufacturing he started working on small-scale, diversified vegetable farms over 20 years ago. He currently manages the urban CSA, Cully Neighborhood Farm, in Portland, Oregon, does consulting under the name Slow Hand Farm, and is the author of two books, Build Your Own Farm Tools, and Compact Farms, and is a regular contributor to Growing for Market Magazine.

Breakout Session 1 TRACK: Feeding Your MarketTITLE: Pastured Meats: From Soils to SalesTime: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Elisabeth Spratt

Elisabeth is a Project Manager with the Wallace Center who helps support the Pasture Project. The Pasture Project works to advance regenerative grazing in the Midwest as a scalable, market-driven solution for building healthy soils, viable farms, and resilient communities. Elisabeth first became interested in regenerative agriculture while taking animal science classes at the University of Tennessee and later working as dairy manager for an 80-cow grass-fed dairy and processing plant in Tennessee. She holds an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from Tufts University and a B.A. from the University of Tennessee. Elisabeth is based in St. Louis, MO.

Breakout Session 1 TRACK: Feeding Your MarketTITLE: Pastured Meats: From Soils to SalesTime: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Breakout Session 2, TRACK: Growing Your Farm – TITLE: Systems for Grazing Success – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Susan Jaster

Susan Jaster has been assisting farmers and ranchers in West Central Missouri with practical, biological, resilient solutions to agricultural issues and product marketing since 2009 for Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program and AgrAbility. She is a sheep rancher who uses adaptive grazing techniques for soil health and water quality conservation.

Breakout Session 1 TRACK: Feeding Your MarketTITLE: Pastured Meats: From Soils to SalesTime: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Lisa Stewart

Lisa D Stewart is a business and marketing consultant for entrepreneurial startups and agribusinesses that wish to diversify. She has assisted the Missouri Pecan Growers with branding, packaging, and launch into 300 supermarkets and has assisted Kurzweil Country Meats, Old World Spices & Seasonings, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, among many others with feasibility studies, marketing studies, and business plans, funded by Missouri Department of Agriculture grants. She also has assisted high-tech start-ups with Small Business Innovation Research grant proposals, in addition to many nonprofit grant proposals and management.


Breakout Session 1  TRACK: Growing Your Business – TITLE: Rural Food Business 101 – Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Tiffany Frost

Tiffany Frost is the New Growth Women’s Business Center Director advancing rural entrepreneurs in all stages of business development and growth.  Tiffany has been the WBC director since July 2021 and she is not new to the work of community development corporation New Growth and its host organization West Central Missouri Community Action Agency.  She spent 17 years with the West Central’s Head Start program working her way from a Secretary to Deputy Director of Safety and Compliance.  Tiffany left West Central in 2019 to become the Business Teacher at Osceola High School for two years before coming back to her passion of helping rural communities grow and be successful.  

Tiffany is a self-proclaimed lifelong learner.  She is family oriented and enjoys spending time with her three daughters and three grandsons.  In her free time, you will find her attending her youngest daughter’s basketball games, watching movies or walking in her local community.  

Breakout Session 1  TRACK: Growing Your Business – TITLE: Rural Food Business 101 – Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Lawanna Salmon

Lawanna Salmon is co-owner, with husband Josh, of Salmon Enterprises LLC. The lifelong, generational St. Clair County cattle producers began in 2015 a journey to raise healthier, higher quality beef, including local distribution for the Old West Feed Company. The Salmons have been helping to supply locally raised beef to schools in St. Clair County. When Covid-19 hit, they decided to sell their fresh beef locally; they were ready to serve as grocery store prices skyrocketed and beef was hard to come by. They began with a drive through-style, pop-up sales of hamburger meat that had just left the processor. They now offer the best cuts of meat, as well as their farm fresh beef sticks, which come in 3 flavors and can be found in nearly 40 stores across Missouri and Kansas.


Breakout Session 2, TRACK: Growing Your Farm – TITLE: Systems for Grazing Success – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Sherri and Wayne Hawkins – A Rusty Knoll

From city folk to country living Wayne and Sherri had an opportunity to purchase a heavily wooded hunting property and transform it into Silvo pasture. They wanted usable acreage to graze their critically endangered American Milking Devon’s while maintaining forest and fauna, provide habitat for the abundant wildlife in the area. It’s a story of going against the standard practices.

 Breakout Session 2 TRACK: Feeding People Well – TITLE: Farm to School is Happening! – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Lorin Fahrmeier,

Lorin Fahrmeier works for University of Missouri-Extension as the State Farm to Institution Project Coordinator. She works directly with producers and institutional buyers to connect them and to help producers engage in new selling opportunities as well.


Breakout Session 2 TRACK: Feeding People Well – TITLE: Farm to School is Happening! – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Lacy Stephens

Lacy Stephens, MPH, MS, RDN, Senior Program Manager with the National Farm to School Network, works to advance just and equitable food systems through farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. Lacy’s work aims to expand the farm to school and ECE movement through information sharing, network building, and advocacy at the national, state, and local levels. Based in Kansas City, MO, Lacy is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Food Systems and is a recent graduate of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Breakout Session 2 TRACK: Feeding People Well – TITLE: Farm to School is Happening! – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Rachael McGinnis-Milsap

Rachael graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors in Plant Science and received her Master’s in social work from UMKC. She stays active in that field by facilitating direct intervention and group counseling at a local medical center on a part time basis. She holds a certificate from Community Development Academy, a series of intensive, experiential courses offered by the University of Missouri Extension Community Development Program. As director of the farm to institution programming, Rachael works with local growers, distributors and schools’ districts to make fresh, locally grown foods more available to students. She also builds crucial partnerships and provides training to empower districts to overcome barriers to serving local food.

Breakout Session 2 TRACK: Feeding Your Market – TITLE: Fruits for Your Farm – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Dre Gradinariu

Hi, I’m Farmer Dre, I’m just a Fruity Guy. Lol I’m a 24-year-old, fruit farmer in Southwest Missouri. I’m the production manager on our family owned, 55-acre farm. We grow apples, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and lots of produce. We are a market farm with focus on direct to customer sales through ‘You-Pick’ and our farm store. My mission is to influence and educate anyone interested in small scale farming. Our farm uses digital marketing methods to create awareness of our products, growing practices and to connect with our customers.

Breakout Session 2  TRACK: Growing Your Business – TITLE: Writing and winning grants for farms – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

Cherie Schenker

Cherie Schenker left her small town after graduation like she was told to by her high school counselor and teachers. After getting her master’s degree and working in corporate America, she decided to return home to raise a family. A few years later, her grandfather passed away and her father decided to partially retire. With no brothers to take over, she and her husband decided to buy half the farming operation to continue on. When her father passed away a few years after that, they took on the rest of the operation. Her family has always had a strong commitment to animals and regenerative farming, so she looked for ways to expand this and make the farm more sustainable for future generations. In the process, the farm became one of the early ones to embrace direct sales through niche marketing and shipping. Along the way, Cherie became very familiar with numerous types of grants to assist with growing a value-added farming operation.


Breakout Session 2  TRACK: Growing Your Business – TITLE: Writing and winning grants for farms – Time: 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m

 Katie Nixon 

Katie co-operates Green Gate Family Farm, a certified Organic diversified market farm where they produce vegetables, fruits, bedding plants, eggs and flowers. Katie is a founding member and current President of the KC Food Hub, a farmer-owned and farmer-run cooperative serving the wholesale market. For West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, Katie serves as the Food Systems Director. In this role, she has brought in over $1million in USDA and other funding to improve the regional food system.  Katie is currently serving a second term on the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Administrative Council as Vice-chair.  Katie has participated in sustainable food and farming work in Washington, Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, and New Zealand. In 2020, she was selected as a Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellow.  

Closing TITLE:  World Café – Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m

Patty Cantrell

Patty Cantrell leads the work of New Growth, a Missouri community development corporation, to build a new era of local health and wealth in rural areas. As a writer, facilitator, and project developer, Patty tells the story of what is possible, and helps make it happen. New Growth accomplishments since starting up in 2018 include development of the west central Missouri’s START HERE Business Acceleration Network and the START HERE Revolving Loan Fund for rural microenterprise development, which New Growth operates. Small business assistance programming includes operation of the New Growth Women’s Business Center, one of only five rural-focused, SBA-designated WBCs in the nation. Food and farming, as well as rural transportation, are additional areas in which New Growth works with parent organization West Central Missouri Community Action Agency to develop and advance innovative and practical solutions for rural communities. Patty brings a career in community economic development and business journalism to New Growth.




Kyle Vickers

Kyle Vickers has been the host of Show-Me Ag, KMOS TV, since 2002. His extensive background in family farming, as well as agriculture policy, gives him unique insight into many issues facing farmers today. A life-long farmer, Kyle served as Deputy Director at the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 1993 until 2001, and as a Kellogg Food and Society Fellow from 2001 – 2003. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia. Kyle farms near El Dorado Springs, where he raises soybeans, corn, and cattle. He and his wife Debra have three grown sons.