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Restorative Food Systems at Bioneers 2022, May 13–15

Food culture — the attitudes, beliefs and practices around the production and consumption of food — pervades our daily lives. Eating is a biological necessity, and it’s also a cultural ritual. But what happens to the culture of food when flavor, nourishment, and pleasure are pushed aside by the industrial priorities of efficiency and profit? The consequences are far reaching: greenhouse gas emissions, degraded soil health, lower nutritional content of food, loss of biodiversity, pollution of air and water and exploitation of people, animals and land.

At the upcoming Bioneers Conference (May 13–15) we are proud to feature front line activists whose creativity, vision and courage are helping shape a healthy and equitable food system.

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Friday, May 13

Panel | 2:45 pm

Decolonize Your Diet: Healthy Food Pathways in the City


  • Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen
  • Ben Shleffar, American Indian Child Resource Center
  • Moderated by Cara Romero

About this panel

The revitalization of traditional Native foods is part of a “re-indigenization” renaissance happening from coast to coast. Many people are unaware that a key strategy of the American genocide against Indigenous peoples was to destroy native food sources, create dependency, and replace healthy diets with nutrient deficient commodities. In this panel, Native leaders in the Bay Area will discuss how they have been shaping this movement to revitalize Indigenous foods. In addition to improving health, Indigenous foods local to place foster community wellness and intergenerational healing by bringing people together, providing fun activities for youth, and decolonizing urban spaces. Join us to learn what you can do to be a part of this movement and how to decolonize your own diet.

Interactive Session | 2:45 pm

The People’s Food & Farm Project: Building a Just and Sustainable Bay Area Food System


  • Julian Mocine-McQueen, Senior Fellow with Center for Whole Communities
  • Kristin Rothballer, Senior Fellow with Center for Whole Communities

About this panel

“The People’s Food and Farm Project” is a multi-stakeholder effort growing across the San Francisco Bay Area to address gaps and injustices in the food system. What will it take to build food sovereignty across the region? What policies can be enacted to ensure all residents are nourished? What is working well that should be invested in? This community visioning process may result in a ballot initiative for a new public funding mechanism that would support a bioregional governance entity for regional food and farming. This session is for you if you are a resident of the Bay Area, if your work is related to food, or if you simply have a desire to contribute to a vision for a just and sustainable food system! Join Julian Mocine-McQueen and Kristin Rothballer, Senior Fellows with Center for Whole Communities and community engagement leads for this effort, along with other members of the broad coalition behind this effort.

Panel | 4:30 pm

Regenerative Agriculture 2.0: The Pie Ranch Model
Renewing Ecosystems, Rebuilding Communities, and Healing Historical Harms


  • Jered Lawson, co-founder, Pie Ranch
  • Valentine Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
  • Nancy Vail, co-founder, Pie Ranch
  • Leonard Diggs, Pie Ranch Director of Operations and Farming Education

About this panel

In this session we will hear about the inspiring model of Pie Ranch, an exemplary socially and eco-conscious enterprise that incorporates: cutting-edge land management; working with disenfranchised urban youth; recruiting BIPOC farmers (historically most often left out of equity-building in agriculture); becoming a distribution hub for local farmers to feed farmworker and other food insecure communities during the pandemic; and building reciprocal relationships with the Amah Mutsun tribe, drawing on its long-lived land stewardship and regeneration prowess to repair some of the ranch’s ecosystems damaged by recent fires.

Film | 7:35 pm

The Need to Grow

About this film

With an estimated 60 years of farmable soil left on Earth, The Need To Grow offers an intimate look into the hearts of activists and innovators in the food movement — an 8 year old girl challenges the ethics of a beloved organization — a renegade farmer struggles to keep his land as he revolutionizes resource efficient agriculture — and an accomplished visionary inventor faces catastrophe in the midst of developing a game-changing technology.

Narrated by Rosario Dawson (Marvel’s The Defenders, The Lego Batman Movie), TNTG delivers alarming evidence on the importance of healthy soil — revealing not only the potential of localized food production working with nature, but our opportunity as individuals to help regenerate our planet’s dying soils and participate in the restoration of the Earth.

Sunday, May 15

Keynote | 9:51 am

Karen Washington: 911 Our Food System is Not Working

About this keynote

Many of us have reached a point in our work at which we realize the food system is not working. Leaders keep on relying on band-aid solutions, autocratic jargon and political hypocrisy to tackle the problems of hunger and poverty. Yet our society’s way of feeding and treating people just isn’t sustainable, especially when the United Nations predicts that by 2050 we will have an additional 2 billion people on this planet, most ending up in urban areas. The simple truth is that we can’t talk about a fair, just, and equitable food system without radical new thinking and putting in a lot work. What sort of work needs to be done and who will be the people to do it? Karen Washington, one of the most renowned and influential food activists of our era shares her wisdom and her analysis of why the food system doesn’t need to be fixed but has to be dramatically transformed.

Panel | 2:45 pm

Black Food: Celebration and Struggle
A Bi-Coastal Conversation


  • Bryant Terry, Chef-in-Residence, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
  • Karen Washington, Co-Owner and Farmer, Rise & Root Farm

About this panel

Chef/author extraordinaire Bryant Terry joins renowned, pioneering New York urban farmer Karen Washington in a conversation about the influence of Black culture on American culinary traditions and farming and what we need to do to radically transform our food system so it can bring health and equity rather than disease and deprivation to communities of color. This is a historic occasion: two of the leading lights of the movement to bring healthful food to disenfranchised urban communities and revitalize Black culinary traditions from opposite coasts come together on a stage for the first time. Bryant, in the Black vegan vanguard for many years, Chef-in-residence at MOAD (Museum of the African Diaspora) in San Francisco and the revered and highly influential godmother of urban farming, Karen Washington, will discuss their work, the current situation of our food system, and their strategies to build a movement that will take us where we need to go.




Revolution from the Heart of Nature

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Revolution from the Heart of Nature.

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