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Community Food Systems Conference Request for Proposal

Proposal Application Open: March 6, 2019

Proposal Deadline: April 30, 2019 at 11:59pm EST


New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Georgia Farmer's Market Association are hosting the Community Food Systems Conference. The 2019 Community Food Systems Conference will address the themes of food security, social justice, and sustainable agriculture across urban and rural environments and foster community empowerment to create resilient and equitable local food systems. With this conference, we have a unique opportunity to come together from across the United States-north, south, east, west; across generations, cultures, and our multiple identities to share our knowledge, lessons learned, and determine actions to be taken. We will convene in Savannah, Georgia to highlight and learn about food systems in the South while also drawing parallels to food systems across the country. We will build upon each others' strengths and learn from shared challenges. In these moments of intersectionality, we build power!

We will provide space for conversations around promoting, facilitating, and supporting community food security; breaking down barriers to racial and economic justice; connecting communities to their food sources; and impacting communities at the local and regional level through sustainable land use and food production. This conference will bring people together from across the nation and the food system to connect about shared issues, foster collaboration across sectors, and leverage the power of local efforts to influence regional and national change. Please join us in the spirit of collaboration, progress, and solidarity to continue building strong leaders and supported communities.

The Community Food Systems Conference will take place December 9 - 11, 2019 at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Savannah, GA. Join our e-list to stay informed about the event.

This project is supported by the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. 

Community Food Projects are intended to bring together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and to foster understanding of national food security trends and how they might improve local food systems. This conference serves as an outlet for outreach and support.

Presentation Priorities

This conference will address a variety of community food system topics. There are certain crosscutting ideas we believe are fundamental in community food systems and in building a strong, equitable food future. We hope to highlight these attributes throughout the conference and in the sessions. 

These themes, topics, and attributes include, but are not limited to:

  • Racial, social and economic equity
  • Diversity of presenters and elevating voices of POC in food systems work
  • Skill building across cultures and sectors
  • Fisheries
  • Multi-generational
  • Youth leadership

Presentation Formats

  • Workshops: 90-minute interactive sessions that provide opportunities for significant audience participation. Slide presentations may be used, but are not required.
  • Lightning Talks: Lightning talks are brief, dynamic presentations (5 minutes maximum), similar to TED Talks, Ignite, etc. that force a tight focus. Lightning talks often include 15-20 highly visual slides and can provide a great opportunity to generate interest in your program, project or idea. More info.

Presentation Topics  

  • Climate, Resiliency and the Environment: effects of climate change on our food system, from production to access. Presentation topics could include but are not limited to: examples of resiliency planning by local jurisdictions; inequitable impact of climate change on vulnerable communities; environmental impacts; role of changing demand for climate-friendly/sustainable diets and food policy.
  • Equitable Economics and Fair Labor: tools, resources and models for entrepreneurial businesses that support local and regional food systems and fair labor practices. Presentation topics could include but are not limited to: models and incubators such as food hubs, commercial kitchens, mobile markets, co-ops; entrepreneurship as a tool for job training and self-reliance; business incubators and financing options for social enterprises; farm and food production labor issues; health and safety; internships and apprenticeships; migrant workers and immigration issues. 
  • Food and Fish for All: opportunities and innovations in the supply chain of food and fish, including the production, processing, distribution and sourcing of food and fish. Presentation topics could include but are not limited to: fisheries, vegetable and animal husbandry management; equitable access to land and resources; land stewardship and sustainable agriculture; fair and just treatment of farm workers and watermen; procurement and supply chain challenges; opportunities and innovations in farm and fish to all sourcing. 
  • "Food for Thought": in alignment with GFMA's Food for Thought Conference, this tract includes economic, racial, and gender equity in the food system; healthy food access for everyone; immigrants and refugees in the food system; food literacy; addressing positive health outcomes, cultural competency, history of resistance and resilience in Black Southern agriculture  
  • Measuring and Reporting Impacts: guidance and tools for tools for evaluating programs and policies. Presentation topics could include but are not limited to: developing clear project/program evaluation plans; health, economic, educational, social, environmental, production, food quality, (and other) impact measurements; engaging community in the evaluation process; capturing long-term outcomes and engaging ways to present information to diverse stakeholders. 
  • Movement Building through Community Partnerships: theory and practice of developing strong movements, partnerships, coalitions or networks within food systems and with other movements.  Presentation topics could include but are not limited to intersection of food movement with other movements; innovative coalition building through partnerships and networks; community partnerships in building self-reliant communities; threats that industrial food production poses for movements that support the environment, public health, animal welfare, social justice, and workers’ rights.
  • Policy/Advocacy: policy and advocacy on a local, regional, state, tribal, national and international level that impacts the ability of diverse actors to engage in food systems, from production through waste/surplus management.  Presentation topics could include but are not limited to: equitable representation and participation in food policy efforts; food policy councils and local food policy creation; federal and international policy like, Child Nutrition Reauthorization, Green New Deal, Canada’s National Food Policy, European Union Food Policy. 
  • Youth Engagement: models of successful youth engagement. Presentation topics could include but are not limited to opportunities for youth leadership in community engagement; youth in the food system and food movement; youth advocacy.

    Workshop Styles

    • Skill building: Provides attendees with more experiential learning, where outcomes focus on increasing proficiency
    • Panel: 3 or more panel members discuss a topic from their perspectives and expertise
    • Discussion based: Conversation and dialogue as opposed to lecture-style
    • Storytelling: A narrative and personal approach to the content
    • Community Food Projects presenters: Community Food Project grantees to share experiences, successes, and impacts on their local food system


    The conference will bring together leaders in, and advocates of, food security, sustainable agriculture and social justice movements. We expect 500-600 attendees. Attendees will range in level of experience and familiarity with issues, so workshops should represent a wide range of levels.


    For information or questions about the workshop proposal process, please contact Kristen Irvin at

    Presenter Information

    Additional Presenters

    Session Information