February 23, 2024 in Nevada, Missouri

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Erica Blair
Program Manager, Rural Grocery Initiative

Erica Blair is an Extension Specialist with K-State Research and Extension and a Program Manager for both the Rural Grocery Initiative and Kansas Healthy Food Initiative. In this role, she supports healthy food retail across the state and nation by providing technical assistance on a range of topics, including grocery ownership models, financial resources, and e-commerce, among others.

Supplying grocery demand

Amie Breshears
Missouri Agriculture, Food and Forestry Innovation Center

Amie Breshears has been active in education and agriculture for more than 20 years. As an MU Extension Field Specialist in Ag Business, Amie enjoys sharing her passion for teaching, service, and research in value-added ag, agritourism, and more with people of all ages. She’s an active community volunteer, supporter, collaborator, and connector.

Business Development Resources

Jaclyn Carroll
New Growth Food Systems Program

Jaclyn Carroll joined New Growth in 2021 and served as the Farm to School Specialist throughout the project. In 2023, Jaclyn transitioned to Farm Business Counselor where she meets one on one with farm and food businesses to help them navigate and overcome challenges. 

Business Development Resources

Andrea Clark, AICP
Director of Food System Planning, KC Healthy Kids

Andrea began her career with KC Healthy Kids as a planning intern in 2016 and returned in 2019 as a member of the policy team. As an urban planner, she manages collaborative projects that connect and strengthen the local food system. She also supports initiatives of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, advocating for good food and farm policy at the local, state and federal level. She serves on the executive committee of the American Planning Association’s Food Systems Division and has presented at local workshops and national conferences. She is trained in qualitative research methods and has earned graduate degrees in Urban Planning, American Studies and Sociology.

Special Announcement

Chelsea Davis
Chief Operating Officer,  Root Cellar

After receiving an agriculture degree from the University of Missouri, Chelsea set out to help others, working in a regional food bank. Since that time, she has developed her knowledge and skills to build better food systems. As a farmer in central Missouri, she has become a trusted source in local food production. Serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Root Cellar, a regional food hub for over a decade, she has become an expert in supply chain management and local food marketing.

Supplying grocery demand

Dr. Elizabeth Heilman
Regenerative Wisdom LLC.

Dr. Elizabeth Heilman is a dedicated proponent of sustainable human flourishing through regenerative practices that nurture both land and spirit. With three decades of expertise in soil science, agronomy, health, and civic education, her journey has been a testament to her unwavering commitment to positive change. As a keynote speaker, she passionately addresses the obstacles hindering the growth of regenerative agriculture, the importance of ecologically sound agronomy, the cultivation of emotional resilience, and the creation of resilient local food systems.

The Joyful Drought-Resilient Farm

Anthony Jones

Anthony Jones took over as CEO for two family companies in 2015 —Jones Twine & Net Wrap and Jones Boots. Since taking over, Anthony and his team have grown his family businesses 5x, while starting two additional companies along the way. The latest business venture,, was launched in June of 2021 and is currently one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites in the nation. Agzaga is proudly built in-house by a passionate team with the ambitious goal of becoming Agriculture’s Online Farm Store. Anthony’s mission is to usher the Ag industry into the next generation. 

Marketing Your Farm

Alexis Jose
Missouri Grown Farm to Table Coordinator, Missouri Department of Agriculture

Lexi has been with the Missouri Grown program at the Missouri Department of Agriculture since early 2020 and has a background in health education. Lexi oversees the Senior and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program along with promoting Farm to School activities and funding in the state including the reimbursement to schools for purchases of specialty crops through the Promoting Specialty Crops in Missouri Schools funding. Lexi has a passion for connecting people to agriculture and supporting farmers and ranchers.

Selling to Schools and Early Child Care

Nancy Kost
Buffalo Seed Company

Nancy Kost is a farmer and seed expert with roots in Bolivia and a global perspective. She co-founded The Buffalo Seed Company in 2018 with Matthew, her partner in life and work. Nancy has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Earth University in Costa Rica and a master’s degree in tomato breeding from The Ohio State University. She is passionate about seeds, food culture, agricultural diversity, and adaptation. They collaborate with local farmers to produce and improve seeds for our bioregion.

The “Why” and “How” of Seed Saving

Lisa Lauer, MEd 
Senior Nutritionist, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,
Bureau of Community Health and Wellness

Lisa Lauer MEd is a Senior Nutritionist at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, where she is the early care and education (ECE) lead on the Missouri CDC State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Program and the nutrition lead on the CDC Missouri Healthy Schools team. Both projects focus on statewide farm to school-ECE planning and implementation. Lauer, has over 20 years of diverse community nutrition experience, including program development and execution for an urban cooperative extension, Head Start nutrition coordinator and farm to school program director.

Selling to Schools and Early Child Care

Bill McKelvey
University of Missouri Extension

Bill McKelvey’s interests and experience center on building and strengthening community food systems. He has been involved in community gardening, youth gardening, farm to school, and related projects for a number of years. He has worked on a variety of food security research and engagement projects as well. Currently, Bill serves as the MU Extension lead for the Heartland Regional Food Business Center and is the chair of the Missouri Food Systems Network. He earned an M.S. degree in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri.

Business Development Resources

Dana Redburn
Lead Strategist, Healthy Nevada

Dana Redburn is the Lead Strategist for Healthy Nevada. Redburn leads a multisector approach to develop community collaboration aimed at improving health outcomes within Vernon County.  Her valuable experience working in non-profit organizations where she has worked to ensure the proper engagement of community partners to meet the growing needs of the community has proven beneficial in developing a Farm to School Program for Vernon County Schools.

Farm to School in
Nevada, Missouri

Dale Strickler
Chief Agronomist, Regenerative Wisdom, LLC

Dale Strickler is a distinguished agroecologist, renowned speaker, seasoned consultant, and accomplished author. With an illustrious career spanning over 30 years, Dale brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, making him a trusted name in sustainable agriculture. Author of “The Drought Resilient Farm,” “Managing Pasture,” and “The Complete Guide to Restoring Your Soil.” Dale’s innovative solutions have transformed the landscapes of countless farms and ranches, even in the face of challenging climates and soil conditions. His consultancy services have left a mark across the United States, Europe, and Africa, earning him international recognition.

Drought-Resilient Farming

Jackson Tough
Public Relations and Tourism Director, City of Fort Scott

Jackson Tough is the Public Relations and Tourism Director for the City of Fort Scott with an emphasis on agritourism and economic development. He is a native of El Dorado Springs, Missouri where he was the CEO of an award-winning Chamber of Commerce. Jackson and his wife reside on the family farm in Bourbon County, KS. He has a passion for promoting our rural Midwest and supporting local economies.

Event Emcee

Kelly Wilson. PhD
Associate Director for the University of Missouri’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture
and an Assistant Professor in the School of Nature Resources

Wilson conducts participatory research and outreach with stakeholders across agricultural systems to identify and respond to barriers and opportunities to create more resilient and equitable food systems. Wilson has over 15 years working on-farms and with farmers, farm advisors, and communities in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa and has extensive experience managing and working with interdisciplinary research teams. 

Funding and support for conservation practices

Join us February 23 in Nevada, MO, for west central Missouri’s sixth-annual local foods get-together, the 2024 Farm to Fork Summit and Expo!