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WSU Hosts Sustainable Ag Conference

PULLMAN, Wash. — Educators, students, and farmers will gather here Sept. 25-27 to discuss innovative ideas in sustainable food systems education for the 21st century.

The Innovations in Food Systems Education conference will be on the Washington State University Pullman campus.

The program will include tours and reports from sustainable food systems authorities from across the United States and Canada. The conference marks the end of a ten-year grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation on Food Systems and Food Systems Education. WSU’s Partnership 2020 grant is one of 14 nationwide grants from this program.

The Kellogg program promotes long-term planning, innovative thinking, and new collaborations between higher education, communities, and business partners. The goal is to nurture a new harvest of ideas, networks, and practices, designed to sustain and improve food systems during the coming century.

The conference will hear from farmers, such as:

  • Fred Brossy, Shoshone, Idaho, manager of Bryant Ranches and Earnie’s Organics. His 300-acre farm produces certified organic asparagus, potatoes, beans, grain, hay and pasture, as well as organic seed crops.
  • Janie Burns, Nampa, Idaho, an organic farmer and manager of the Idaho Organic Cooperative. She has sold certified organic produce at Boise farmers’ markets for 14 years.
  • Lon Inaba, Wapato, Wash., of Inaba Produce Farms, a Food Alliance certified operation. His third generation family farm grows vegetables, melons, and grapes on 1,200 acres, including 200 acres of certified organic produce. Inaba also is a shipper and packer.
  • Karl Kupers, a Harrington, Wash. farmer who links diversification, no-till, and direct marketing in an operation in which wheat, barley, sunflowers, safflower, buckwheat, mustard, canola, legumes and reclamation grasses are grown on 4,400 acres. His operation also is Food Alliance certified. Kupers is among eastern Washington grain growers who are selling directly to artisan bakeries in Portland to obtain higher returns for their crops.
  • Joel Salatin, Swoope, Virg., a full-time, third-generation alternative farmer in Virginia’s Shanandoah Valley. His family farm, Polyface Inc., has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and National Geographic. Salatin has written four books, including “Pastured Poultry Profit$” and “Salad Bar Beef.”
  • Russ Zenner, Genesee, who farms 3,300 acres in Latah County, Idaho. Zenner grows wheat, barley, garbanzos, lentils, peas, oilseeds and grass seed.

Others on the program include:

  • Christine Ahn, Oakland, Calif., a Ford Foundation New Voices Fellow and the Economic and Social Human Rights Program Coordinator at Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy in Oakland, Calif.
  • Janet Brown, Berkley, Calif., a certified organic farmer and vice president of Marin Organic, an association of farmers in Marin County, Calif. Brown is the founder and chair of the Marin County Food Policy Council and founder and director of the Marin Food & Agriculture Project. Brown is also program officer for food systems at the Center for Ecoliteracy based in Berkeley, Calif.
  • Kate Clancy, Greenbelt, Md., managing director, Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural and Environmental Policy, Winrock International.
  • Fred Kirschenmann, Ames, Iowa, director, Leopold Center, Iowa State University, and a professor of religion and philosophy.
  • A. Desmond O’Rourke, Pullman, retired director of WSU’s IMPACT Center.
  • Patrick Moore, Vancouver, B.C. , founder and director of Greenspirit.
  • Michael Shuman, Washington D.C., director of the Green Policy Institute and author of “Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age.” Shuman’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Parade, New York Times, The Nation and the Chronicle on Philanthropy. He has been a frequent guest on national television programs and has averaged a speaking engagement a week for 20 years, including talks in eight countries, 26 cities and at 27 universities.

Early registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 29, after which the registration fees jump from $100 to $125.

Contact Linda Bentley at 509-335-4562 or

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