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Regenerative Ag and Equity in the Future of Food Production

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Lisa French
Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc., Project Director

Lisa French is the Project Director for the Cheney Lake Watershed, working with farmers and landowners in five counties as they implement conservation practices that protect the City of Wichita’s water supply. The Cheney Watershed has just begun a 3-year partnership with General Mills and the Kansas Dept of Health and Environment to promote the adoption of regenerative agriculture on a watershed scale. Lisa and her husband, Jim, are life-time residents of Reno County and farm near Partridge, Kansas where they raise grass-finished beef for direct market.

Naima Dhore
Naima's Farm, LLC, CEO

Naime Dhore is a passionate emerging farmer from Somalia, owner of Naima's Farm, LLC and founder of the recently created Somali-American Farmers Association. Naima is currently closing a deal on a farm for her family while also finishing her Masters Degree at Metropolitan State University. Naima has participated in some of the local programs that support emerging farmers -Big River Farms, formerly Minnesota Farmers Association. She took the opportunity, through a fellowship to travel to Cuba to study their system of agroecology, and is grounding her orientation to the way she organizes futures for Somali farmers and others from Horn of Africa to contribute to the future of farming in Minnesota and the midwest.

Margot Conover
General Mills, Senior Sustainability Analyst

Margot Conover supports General Mills’ journey to regeneration as a Senior Analyst. Margot spent two years leading impact tracking and regenerative agriculture projects embedded in General Mills’ Triple Bottom Line operating unit, home of beloved brands like Annie’s and EPIC Provisions. Margot now works to bring to life GMI’s global water stewardship commitment and packaging sustainability ambition as part of the Global Sustainability Team.

Beginning in 2010, Margot spent two years in Ecuador helping smallholder co-ops achieve fair trade and organic certification – and she’s been passionate about the regenerative potential of agriculture ever since! Prior to joining General Mills, Margot led US partnership development for the Fairtrade certification, managed an orchard, and wrote grants at PSI, an international public health NGO. She has a BA in political science from Christopher Newport University and an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago. Margot lives in Oakland, CA, where she spends her free time growing and making food, knitting sweaters, and running and hiking in California’s great outdoors.

Stephanie Shekels
Ecotone Analytics, Senior Analyst

Stephanie Shekels is a Senior Analyst at Ecotone Analytics, where she helps clients understand and communicate their social and environmental impact. She worked on community farms in Missouri and Maine, grounding her interest in sustainable land and food systems.

Suzan Erem
Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, Executive Director and Founder

Suzan Erem is a transplanted Iowan who cut her political teeth on the 1980s Farm Crisis. Work and love took her out of the state, but when she returned in 2010 she saw the last nail going into the coffin of the independent family farm. SILT is the result of years of research and a wide coalition of sustainable farm and food activists demanding an end to cyclical farm crises, hunger, environmental degradation and dying small towns.

The why, the how, and the who of regenerative agriculture. How large CPG and Ag companies, community supporters, and farmers are thinking about regen ag. How and why we must mobilize capital to create innovation and demand. How regen ag practices and impact compare to traditional practices. How traditionally under-represented farmers and startups can find opportunity, promote innovation, and discover connections to accelerators, investment, and aligned professionals and networks.