Introducing our 2021 Spring Conference Keynotes

We are thrilled to welcome such accomplished and knowledgeable Keynote Speakers to our 28th Annual Spring Conference. The educators featured in our Keynote Talks and Track Workshops are sure to inspire and equip you with the tools and confidence to get growing.

K. Rashid Nuri will be giving a Keynote Talk titled Growing Food, People and Community

The current paradigm of commercial agriculture is not sustainable and is detrimental to both humans and the planet. K. Rashid Nuri will demonstrate the power of small farms and urban agriculture to improve the future of the world’s food production, improve health outcomes, and build strong communities. Today’s conversations about equity, justice, and diversity are imperative. Equally as important is to remember that he who controls your food controls you. In the move toward nation-building, we must maintain focus on food security and food self sufficiency. To be truly free, a nation has to be able to feed its people. And it is imperative to feed the nation food that builds strong minds and bodies.

Rashid Nuri began his work nearly 50 years ago. After observing local food economies around the world, he relocated to Atlanta to achieve his goal of building a renaissance in local food production. As the founder of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, K. Rashid generated a demand for local, healthy produce. And now, a new generation of small farmers with technical and entrepreneurial skills has arisen to advocate for a redesign of our cities. 

Rashid Nuri had a powerful “burning bush” revelation while a student at Harvard. The experience set him on a global food odyssey, managing agricultural operations throughout the U.S., 35 countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He also served as Deputy Administrator for USDA during the Clinton Administration. Rashid saw, up close, the abuses and inefficiencies of Big Ag. His vision of community food sovereignty and food equity emerged with full clarity. He brought that vision to Atlanta in 2006, founding Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW). TLW became Atlanta’s premier urban agricultural organization, growing tons of chemical-free, nutritious food, providing jobs, and educating communities about food, nutrition, and self-sufficiency.

As CEO of The Nuri Group, Rashid works to expand food equity, food security, food self-sufficiency, and food sovereignty, particularly for small farms and urban agriculture. His work is accomplished through education, training, consultancy, and public policy initiatives. He chronicled his journeys, the failing state of our food system, and offers guidance for the new food movement in his book, Growing Out Loud: Journey of a Food Revolutionary.

Rashid is a frequent contributor at conferences and seminars, consults with political and community leaders, and is a regular guest on podcasts and other media outlets.

You can learn more about Rashid and his work at

Samantha Foxx will be giving a Keynote Talk titled Pollinators for our Future: The Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators

Pollinators are responsible for at least 1 in every 3 bites of food that we eat. Over 90% of different varieties of fruits and essential crops depend on pollinators for reproduction. Learn from Samantha Foxx, farmer, mother and beekeeper about the intersection of community and pollinator health and the lessons pollinators teach about stewardship, community and survival. How are we spreading our wings to pollinate our own backyards, each other, and the world around us to help have a more secure future?

Samantha “Foxx” Winship is a Farm-Her, Mother, Bee Keeper, Master Gardener, and owner of Mother’s Finest Family Farm in Winston Salem, NC. Samantha lived in the Eastern part of North Carolina up until she became a teenager and relocated to Chicago, IL where she spent most of her adult life. On a search to connect back to more of her indigenous roots, she relocated back to North Carolina.

Today, she represents food sovereignty, women of color in beekeeping, food activism, and farming. She started Mother’s Finest Family Farm in 2016 after attending an Urban Farming program at her local Cooperative Extension. Since, taking the class she has created a successful and fully functioning farming enterprise with herself and her family. She serves at her local farmers markets, partners with retail locations across the US, and advocates for community wellness with her handmade wellness tonics and syrups.

She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, appeared on PBS Black Issues Forum, and many other high profile media outlets for diligent work in creating a more equal and just food system. She is also continuing a path to enlighten other families about the power of planting a seed.

With strong loving arms she embraces the challenges of life; standing for the education, empowerment and the promotion of women and people of color in  beekeeping, agriculture and the arts innovation. Samantha Foxx is a shining example of Determination, Will Power and Innovation. Through her life’s work to Save the Bees, provide Safe Healthy Food and Formulate Top Quality Holistic Products.

Eric Holt Giménez will be giving a Keynote Talk titled The Organic Question: Agrarian Transitions & the Future of Family Farming

The co-option of the USDA organic standards by the corporate food system is a key development in an historical agrarian struggle between family farmers and capitalist agriculture. Between the assault on standards, the climate crisis, and the present pandemic, the organic movement finds itself at an existential crossroads, both for organic farming and family farmers. What is to be done?

Eric Holt Giménez

Eric Holt-Giménez, PhD is an agroecologist, political economist, researcher, lecturer, and author.  

In his path-breaking participatory research, “Measuring Farmer’s Agroecological Resistance to Hurricane Mitch,” 2,000 farmers documented the superior sustainability of agroecologically-managed farms to conventional farms in Central America, spurring the Movimiento Campesino-a-Campesino (Farmer-to-Farmer Movement), a transnational peasant movement for sustainable agriculture. His first book, Campesino a Campesino, chronicles nearly 30 years’ work with peasant culture and agroecology in Central America and the political, socioeconomic, and ecological factors that galvanized the movement. 

As a lecturer, Eric has taught courses in international development, agroecology, social movements and food systems transformation at the University of California, Boston University, the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo (Slow Food) and the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia.

As the former Executive Director of Food First, Eric’s work strove to inform and amplify the voices of social movements fighting for food justice and food sovereignty across the globe. His publishing approach brought researchers, writers, and social movements together in a collective effort to amplify the voices of frontline communities fighting for food systems transformation. He generated research and education for action, bringing the perspective of community-based struggles to broader development and policy debates.

In Eric’s words, “successful social movements are formed by integrating activism with livelihoods. These integrated movements create the sustained social pressure that produces political will—the key to changing the financial, governmental and market structures that presently work against sustainability.”

Our enticing Keynote Talks will be taking place during the Live Kick-Off event Saturday, March 13, 2021. For only $20 you can stream from anywhere via Whova events. We’re offering 30+ hours of workshop content in 10 Themed Tracks, which you can purchase separately and access for 3 months after the event!

We have a variety of options to fit your budget. This is an incredible opportunity to gain the knowledge and confidence to get growing at an affordable rate.

Author: Julie Douglas

Julie is the Marketing & Communications Associate. She is the owner and Clinical herbalist at Wildkrafted Kitchen, a holistic healthcare company in Asheville, NC. Julie is a medicinal herb grower, ethical wildcrafter, educator, and formulator of internal and external medicines. After graduating with an AA focusing on Photography and Ceramic art, Julie went on to pursue their passion for sustainable small-scale agriculture in Washington state where she apprenticed on various organic farms. After discovering their affinity for medicinal herbs, they moved to Asheville to study Holistic Herbalism at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine. Julie’s main goals are to make alternative healthcare accessible to marginalized communities, decolonizing herbal medicine, and be part of mutual aid networks which strengthen and empower the community.