2016 Event Details

Discover the wisdom of the day…

Schedule of Events:

9:30-9:55 – Check-in

10am – Welcome and Introduction: Caitlin Hachmyer

10:30 – Foundational and Future Visions: Miriam Volat

11:00 – Elder Voices: Wisdom in the Food Movement

  • Gail Myers, Paula Downing, Nan Kohler, Vivien Straus, Wanda Stewart
  • Moderated by Miriam Volat

12:30 – Lunch

  • Prepared by BVR Farm

1:45 – The Voices of Justice: Women Pushing for Change

  • Trisha Chakrabarti, Suzy Grady, Jocelyn Boreta, Phani Maldonado
  • Moderated by Miriam Volat

3:15 – Leadership for the Future: Wise Words and Time to Engage

  • Thea Maria Carlson and Miriam Volat

4:25 – Hear the Farm(h)er’s Voice: Boots on the Ground

  • Layla Aguilar, Michelle Dubin, Kristyn Leach, Libby Batzel
  • Moderated by Temra Costa

5:45 – Closing

  • Caitlin Hachmyer

6:00 – Reception, Music and Time to Explore the Intersections of Food and Art

  • Artists: Madalyn Berg, Hedda Brorstrom, Rosalie Z. Fanshel, Leonor Hurtado, Judith Ziegler, Chelsey Kolbeck, Catherine, Cat Corrieria, Esther Traugot, Jessica Jacobson
  • Music: Jeanna Collet



Speakers and artists in 2016 included :

Layla Aguilar, Bi-Rite Market Farm


Layla Aguilar is farm manager for San Francisco’s Bi Rite Markets. She grows diversified row crops and perennials on three acres in Sonoma. Prior to living in Sonoma County, she traveled throughout California making olive oil, lived on farms in New York state and Virginia and ran school gardens in Los Angeles. In 2009, Layla completed an apprenticeship in ecological horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz. She has a passion for introducing all people to the pleasures of eating well.   

Libby Batzel, Beet Generation Farm


With her partner Ali Levesque, Libby Batzel owns and operates Beet Generation Farm, a diversified vegetable operation in Sebastopol, CA. She also runs the Beet Generation Kitchen, which produces pasta and sauces made directly from Beet Generation crops. 



Madalyn Berg, Artist

Madalyn.jpgA Bay Area native, Madalyn’s work is a reflection of the environment in which she grew up; a home that was deeply immersed in nature. Madalyn became interested in ceramics at a young age, and her interest in ceramic sculpture broadened to encompass other sculptural and installation media. Madalyn’s interest in ecology is critical to her work. For her, the connection between art and ecology is observation, and as such, she is interested in using her work to encourage people to be more attentive to their inner and outer worlds. Her recent work explores our physical bodies, nature, and how each engages the other. Madalyn lives in Sebastopol, CA. Outside of the art studio she works as a clinical herbalist and medicine maker.

Jocelyn Boreta

biopicJocelyn Boreta is an activist and herbalist who has partnered with community health and immigrant advocacy organizations to expand access to healthy food and herbal medicine.  She works with the Spanish speaking community in Sonoma County to empower traditional knowledge and encourage hands-on healing with plants.

As Program Director of the Global Exchange Fair Trade program, Jocelyn worked for 10-years in partnership with indigenous women in Guatemala, Peru, and India to sustain rural communities facing agricultural collapse due to displacement, drought, and the introduction of genetically modified seeds and agrochemicals.

After completing two years of study in botany, physiology and plant therapeutics at the California School of Herbal Studies, Jocelyn helped to organize Farming for Health at Land Path’s Bayer Farm in Santa Rosa. Farming for Health brings together immigrant women across generations to get their hands in the soil, share the knowledge of their grandmothers, and make medicine from common weeds. Jocelyn also teaches free herbal classes at Graton Day Labor Center and works as the Wellness Program Director at Farmacopia, an integrative health clinic and apothecary. She believes in the power of community gardens to grow healthy people.

Jocelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from University of California Santa Barbara; a Masters degree in Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain; and certification in herbalism from the California School of Herbal Studies. She lives with her 1-year old daughter and husband in Forestville, California.

Hedda Brorstrom

dsc_0856Owner and farmer/florist of Full Bloom Flower Farm, Hedda Brorstrom lives for flowers. Interest in agoecology took hold from a young age having grown up in agricultural rich Sonoma County. Hedda completed her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies specializing in urban food landscapes and garden education. She worked in San Francisco for six years as a garden teacher and coordinator in the school system and at the Academy of Sciences. She holds a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz where her love for flowers grew out of control. Hedda also earned a certificate in herbalism from the California School of Herbal Studies and makes a line of herbal products. Hedda is a founding member of the North Bay Flower Collective.

Hedda shares, “A strong believer in plant medicine, I love the power, elegance and joy a bouquet gives people. The craft and skill of both being the grower and the florist is an opportunity to give extra care and attention from seed to centerpiece.  

Thea Maria Carlson, Biodynamic Association


Thea is a facilitator, farmer, educator, and artist, with roots in California and the Midwest. She is Co-Director of the Biodynamic Association and also holds several other roles including Biodynamic Education, Conference Weaver, People, and Teal Implementer. She lives in the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma County, California, and frequently visits other parts of the world. Her diverse experience includes farming biodynamic and organic vegetables, fruit and flowers; teaching gardening, nutrition, and beekeeping; designing, building and managing urban community and educational gardens; and organizing strategic communications training programs for nonprofit leaders. Since 2011, she has played a key role in developing the Biodynamic Association’s educational offerings, planning and implementing the biennial North American Biodynamic Conference, and exploring new ways to manage and evolve the organization. Thea earned a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University, a permaculture design certificate from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and is trained in the Art of Hosting and consensus facilitation. Besides growing food, making compost, and helping others to do both, she loves to hike, play her cello, throw pottery, cook, read, and spend time with her family and many beloved friends.

Trisha Chakrabarti, Mandela Marketplace


Trisha Chakrabarti is the Program and Policy Manager at Mandela MarketPlace, where she directs community-based programming and research in food access, clinical-community linkages, and healthy retailing. She has worked in community food programming and organizational capacity building for the last decade, and has led participatory food access research and advocacy initiatives with restaurant workers and systems-impacted youth. She grew up in the South Asian diaspora, and sees a community-owned food system as a key indicator of political and economic self-sovereignty. Trisha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from UC Berkeley, and Masters degrees in Food Policy and Public Health from Tufts University.

Paula Downing, Sebastopol Farmers Market

paula-downingPaula Downing has been a local food and farmer advocate for most of her 75 years of life.  She is Italian by heritage so food was always a big deal.   Her grandfather and father grew plentiful vegetable gardens.  What they didn’t grow the family bought from local farmers.

She always found farmers markets wherever she lived including San Francisco from 1969 to 1973 – the early days of the sustainable food revival.   She was lucky enough to be part of the Food Conspiracies and the Kaliflower Commune.   She and her friends from Hunga Dunga Commune drove Juliette, an old Dodge van, every week to the Allemagne Farmers Market,  the wholesale Produce Market, Guisto’s Flour Company,  the Japanese and Chinese tofu factories and many tiny purveyors of beans and other odd stables in the Mission to collectively buy food for dozens of communal households.

She moved to Oregon for about 20 years where she grew lots of things including tomatoes and pot.   She moved back to California, to Sebastopol, in 1990 where she grew geraniums for the Sebastopol and Santa Rosa farmers markets which she ultimately ended up managing – Sebastopol for 23 years and Santa Rosa for 10 years.
She sits on the board of the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and Slow Food Russian River and spends a lot of time eating good food.

Michelle Dubin, Foxhole Farm


Michelle Dubin is trained as a farmer, landscape architect, herbalist and woodworker.  She is co-founder of FEED Sonoma, a micro-regional produce distribution hub serving Sonoma county farmers in their quest to nourish the Bay Area. Michelle has spent her entire life eating food, and more than half of hers learning how to grow it.  For over twenty years she has worked to understand and develop natural systems in harmony with human systems.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Policy from Boston University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, but these days mostly just wants to play in the dirt and help folks of all persuasions find the medicine they need in the garden.  She believes that true stewardship requires the ability to think and act at a variety of scales; from nurturing the health of each individual plant, to the farm it is cultivated on, to the regional network of supportive communities that it feeds.

Rosalie Z. Fanshel, Artist


Rosalie Z. Fanshel is a printmaker, illustrator, and textile artist. Her artistic and scholarly interests include representations of gender and sexuality in the food movement. Rosalie has spent over 15 years on (and in) the ground of the food movement in Northern California, Japan, and Australia. When not on the printing press, she is program manager at the Berkeley Food Institute, University of California, Berkeley. You can see her work atwww.rosaliezfanshel.com

Suzi Grady, Petaluma Bounty


Suzi Grady is the Program Director of Petaluma Bounty. Previously the Bounty Farm Manager, she has over ten years of experience in building community around food access, gardening and food system collaboration. She is advanced in Spanish, trained as a farmer at UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Apprenticeship Program, a certified permaculturalist, graduate of the GCETP Program from the Garden for the Environment and taught organic gardening, household composting and nutrition at a school garden program in San Francisco for two years. Suzi graduated from University of Michigan with a dual degree in Political Science and Spanish Literature where she also studied in Santiago, Chile. She is a 2014 Fellow of the Leadership Institute of Ecology and Economy, a member of the CHIPA Wellness Committee, Sonoma County Food System Alliance Coordinating Committee, and Sonoma County Farm to Community Committee member.

Caiti Hachmyer, Red H Farm


Caiti Hachmyer has been farming since 2008.  After finishing her degree at UC Berkeley she spent a year advocating for small farmers and local food systems in the Bay Area at Community Alliance with Family Farmers and The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First. Then, after completing apprenticeships in Minnesota and abroad she moved back to her hometown of Sebastopol, CA in 2009 and founded Red H Farm on the land where she grew up. In late 2011 she took an farm sabbatical and completed a masters degree in urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, focusing on food systems policy and planning. Now back on the farm Caiti is working to build a biodiverse, agroecological farming system while advocating for healthy, just food systems through research, writing and activism. She is currently a researcher and writer for the Institute for Food and Development Policy, an advisory board member at Petaluma Bounty, a member of the Sonoma County Food Systems Alliance, and a lead instructor at the Permaculture Skills Center’s Farm School. Caiti also teaches Agroecology at Sonoma State and is the author of two forthcoming book chapters on land justice and sovereignty. In 2016 she was recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations through their Agroecology in Action series. Caiti is the organizer of Foundations and the Future: Celebrating Women’s Leadership in the Food Movement.

Leonor Hurtado, Artist


My mother was an artist, she encouraged her four daughters and two sons to draw whenever we had nothing intresting to do or when it rained too much and we had to stay home. That is how drawing became a passion to me. In 2000 I learned the technique of enamel on cooper from her, and I created seven pieces. In Guatemala (where I’m form) to become an architect, after you finish high school you study six years at the university. I studied Architecture for four years. At that time there was civil war in my country, and students played an important role fighting the military dictatorship. I decided that for me it was much more important to participate in the struggle for justice, and freedom than to get my diploma. So I quit studying. Afterwards I lived in Nicaragua for eleven years. During the first ten years, the “Sandinista Revolution” was going on. At that time I worked with the Education Ministry, and part of my job was designing and illustrating educational materials. On my own I’ve learn to draw, paint and do ceramics. I love art and I love to create. When I have the time, I fly inside me and far away, both directions at the same time. I feel I am in a different dimension, imagining color, motion, texture and images that flow naturally inside my mind and flow out through my hands. It is a very profound, and important way to be, and to express my self. In Guatemala in 2004 at “Ixel Museum” I presented an individual exhibit. It consisted in twenty acrylics on canvas, 21 X 14 inches. The topic was the Major Arcans in Cuban urban landscape. For the last five years I’ve been working enamel on copper in Berkley. This is the creation I would like to share with you.

Kristyn Leach, Namu Farm


Kristyn Leach is the farmer at Namu farm. She grows Korean heirloom vegetables using natural farming methods. She also conducts field trials for Kitazawa Seed Company and curates the Second Generation seed line. 

Phanie Maldonado

thumbPhanie is an Oakland based Urban Ecologist. She is part of a greater Land Liberation Movement that addresses the use and access to land. Phanie works with the Mandela Marketplace and offers a body of knowledge that is rooted in spirituality and sacredness of all relations between people and the land.

Gail Myers, Farms to Grow, Inc.


Dr. Gail Myers is an Agri-Cultural Anthropologist. For the last eighteen years she has researched, written about, lectured, taught, and recently filmed stories about African American farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners. The Root Magazine (April 24, 2015) featured Dr. Myers as one of seven urban farmers to know.

In 2004, Dr. Myers co-founded the non-profit, Farms to Grow, Inc., to work with Black farmers in maintaining and growing their farms. Since 2004, Myers and the organization has connected rural Black farmers to urban communities, assisted Black farmers grow their business, increased access to healthier and more affordable food options by developing Community Supported Agriculture projects such as the Harvest Baskets, managing farmers’ markets, church farm stands, and other direct-to-consumer outlets. In 2013, Farms to Grow, Inc. initiated the Freedom Farmers Market in Oakland, CA. The Freedom Farmers Market not only brings produce grown by Black farmers into urban communities in Oakland, but also educates and connects people to the land and its rich historical food traditions and culture. Dr. Gail Myers lectures and consults frequently for community based, local, state, universities, national organizations and federal departments. Dr. Myers has authored several articles including the recent article in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Decolonizing a Food System: The Freedom Farmers Market as Resistance and Analysis, Summer 2015. Her upcoming documentary film, “Rhythms of the Land”, is currently in post-production.

Wanda Stewart, Obsidian Farm


Wanda Stewart is an urban farmer, educator and comrade to many in the social justice movement to educate and inspire others to grow their own food and communities. Believing the skills to grow food and medicine, to maintain a healthy being, and to live cooperatively to be essential elements in our collective survival, she revisits and reframes our shared history (and trauma) and reclaims cultural heritage, especially for African Americans, in the garden.

A Master Gardener, certified Permaculture Designer and Garden/Life Educator in West Oakland schools holding a degree in Psychology from Temple University, Wanda owns and grows Obsidian Farm in Berkeley, CA as a model for what’s possible in an urban environment. Specializing in transformational garden-centered wellness and courageous conversations about race and our environment, she knows in her heart that we must all “grow the power” – together.

Vivien Straus, Straus Home Ranch

vivien-straussVivien grew up on her family’s dairy in Marshall, California. She ran away to Hollywood to become an actress until the cows wooed her back to help build her brother’s company Straus Family Creamery, as V.P. of Marketing. Later, she worked at Cowgirl Creamery. Currently, she manages Straus Home Ranch, the farm homestead where she grew up. She created California’s CheeseTrail.org, the only complete resource for California cheese makers. She combined her passions for farming, cheese, and acting by writing and performing the one-woman show E-i-E-i-OY! In Bed with the Farmer’s Daughter. In addition, she’s written articles about dairying, organic farming, and occasionally makes people listen to autobiographical stories about her ridiculous life. Her favorite thing to do is hang with the cows.

Miriam Volat, Permaculture Skills Center Farm School


Miriam Volat directs the Farm School at the Permaculture Skills Center. Miriam works personally and professionally to promote health in all systems.  She is a small farmer instructor and small farm advocate, a community organizer and a researcher. She facilitates complex multi-party processes concerning food, agriculture and water systems focusing on the intersection of biological, political and socio-cultural diversity. She has an M.S. in Vegetable Crops from UC Davis with an emphasis in Soil Ecology and Nutrient Cycling and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Her academic research has focused both on preventing nitrogen pollution to groundwater from non-point agricultural sources and small farm viability. Miriam is also a Policy Project Manager at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, where she lives with her 11-year old daughter, and  serves on the Boards of Sonoma Counties’ Daily Acts Organization and the Reach Athena Project.

Chelsea Wills, Artist


Chelsea is an artist, educator, and traveler.  Her work exists at the nexus of place, change, and stories. This takes her to faraway places, like Mayan kitchens, crumbling haciendas, and megacity markets of Mexico, and also close to home, from the shoreline of Northern California and the last tenacious farms in the Silicon Valley to her own home garden. She explores places in flux and works closely with people inhabiting them. Her studio practice is interdisciplinary and conceptually based, choosing the right mediums and tools for each project. She holds a Master’s degree from UC Berkeley in Arts Education and has shown her work nationally and internationally at museums and galleries such as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Jose Museum of Arts, and the London Biennale.  She has given lectures at Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.  Projects have been shown at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Lab SF, San Jose Museum of Art, the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery ,  Oakopolis , SubRosa, Kaleidoscope, and Big Umbrella Studios ; and internationally as part of the London Biennale and at COMEXUS, Casa Hilvana, and Teatro Felipe Carillo Puerto . 

Judith Ziegler, Artist


Judith Beckstrand Ziegler is a long time resident of Marin County, growing up in Mill Valley. She married Douglas Ziegler in 1961, moved to San Rafael and has been living there for 55 years. She attained a BA in Social and Cultural Studies at Dominican University in 2004. Judith has five children and eleven grandchildren and a large extended family. When her niece, Caiti Hachmyer, asked if she would lend some art to this conference , she was more than pleased to oblige. Painting is a hobby that Judith not only finds enjoyable but relaxing and peaceful as well.