2020 HFAD Speaker Collage 1080x600 HR 00

Our Speakers 

Click below to view all the speakers in each panel or scroll down to view individual speaker biographies. 

 

Featured Speakers  

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan

Best-Selling Author

Chef Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

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Dr. Temple Grandin

Colorado State University

All Our Speakers

Jeffrey Amoscato

Shake Shack

Supply Chain & Menu Innovation, Sr.  VP

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David Borrowman

Pastvina Acres Farm

Niman Ranch Farmer

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Sara Brito

Good Food Media Network

Co-founder

Chris DuBois 

IRI

Senior Vice President, Protein Practice

Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Falkner 

Chef/Author/Artist

Joe Fassler

Joe Fassler

New Food Economy

Deputy Editor

Anita Cartagena

Protéa

Chef

Celize Christy - Practical Farmers

Celize Christy

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Next Generation Coordinator

Rachel Dreskin

Compassion USA

Director

Maisie Ganzler

Maisie Ganzler 

Bon Appétit Management Co.

Chief Strategy and Brand Officer 

Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin

Colorado State University

Professor

John Gilbert

Gibraltar Farm

Niman Ranch Family Farmer

Marc Jonna

Plum Market

Co-Founder and Owner

Chef Thomas Keller - French Laundry

Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

Chef

Kevin Kelley

Kevin Kelley, AIA

Principal

Shook Kelley

Joel Gindo

Free Happy Farm

Niman Ranch Family Farmer

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Delaney Howell

Global Ag Network

Co-Founder

Chef Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones 

the larder + the delta

Executive Chef

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Rod Mardesen

Niman Ranch Farmer

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

James Beard Foundation

Vice President of Impact

Mary Sue Milliken

Mary Sue Milliken

Border Grill Restaurants

Co-Chef and Owner

Caity Moseman Wadler

Caity Moseman Wadler 

Heritage Radio Network

Executive Director

Danielle Nierenberg - Food Tank

Danielle Nierenberg

Co-Founder & President

Food Tank

Niven Patel

Niven Patel

Chandi Hospitality Group

Chef

Michael Pollan - Author

Michael Pollan

Best-Selling Author

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Mike Salguero

ButcherBox

Founder

Dawn Sherman

Tanka Bar

CEO

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Paul Willis

Founding Hog Farm

Niman Ranch

Rachel Yang

Joule | Revel

Chef

Bruce Reinstein

Bruce Reinstein  

Kinetic12

Partner

Naomi Starkman - Civil Eats

Naomi Starkman

 Civil Eats

Founder & Editor

Chef-Kelly-Whitaker

Kelly Whitaker

Id Est Hospitality Group

Chef

About Our Speakers

 

The Future of Restaurants

 

Caity Moseman Wadler

Heritage Radio Network

The Future of Restaurants

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 pm CST

Caity Moseman Wadler is the Executive Director of Heritage Radio Network, a nonprofit food radio station and podcast network based in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  There, she oversees 35 weekly shows and special programs on topics including agriculture, beverages, dining, and culture.  Caity holds an M.A. in Food Studies from New York University and a B.A. in Molecular Biology/ Biochemistry from Middlebury College.  She received the Julia Child Foundation Food Writing Fellowship at Heritage Radio Network in 2015 and was recognized as one of the New York City Food Policy Center's 40 Under 40 in 2018.  Prior to her graduate studies, Caity worked in antibody engineering at Adimab, a New Hampshire-based biotech startup. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, infant son, and their silver lab, Louie.

 

Jeffrey Amoscato

Shake Shack

The Future of Restaurants

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 pm CST

Jeffrey Amoscato is the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Menu Innovation at Shake Shack where he is responsible for all Supply Chain, Culinary and Quality Assurance functions. Jeff has worked with Shake Shack in various capacities since the company’s first location in Madison Square Park. With a wealth of experience in the fine dining space, Jeff has helped define and execute Shake Shack’s vision of sourcing premium and quality ingredients, ultimately solidifying Shake Shack’s unique value proposition in the market and setting quality standards across the fast casual industry. Jeff played an integral role in the company’s international expansion, leading global sourcing and aiding in the expansion across Dubai, London, Tokyo and more. Jeff also oversees Shake Shack’s Culinary Team which has brought numerous innovative products to market such as the Smoke Shack, Chick’n Shack and Chick’n Bites.

 

Jeff started his restaurant career at 16 and has cooked in the Michelin starred kitchens of Jean Georges and Le Cirque 2000 in New York City and internationally at Ristorante San Domenico di Imola in Imola, Italy. Jeff holds an AOS in Culinary Arts and a BA in Food and Beverage Management from the New England Culinary Institute. When not at Shake Shack headquarters in NYC, he enjoys spending time with suppliers on farms and ranches across the US.

Chef Stephen Jones

the larder + the delta

The Future of Restaurants

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 pm CST

Chef Stephen Jones has amassed a wealth of culinary expertise in his 39 years, which is not surprising when you consider that he comes from a family of master chefs and cooks. A former football player, he trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena (California) while working at Watergrill, Table 8, and Nobu in Las Vegas.  One of the highlights of his career was working as a sous chef at Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas. "I draw on the experience of what we did there first and foremost, as we used the best local produce, meat, and dairy," says Stephen. He then served as Executive Sous Chef of Mk Restaurant in Chicago before moving to Phoenix. Then Chef Stephen served as Chef de Cuisine at Tarbell's, and as Executive Chef at Latilla at the Boulders Resort in Scottsdale, as well as opening chef of the downtown hot spot Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails built within the City Scape shopping & entertainment venue in downtown Phoenix. After leaving Blue Hound in the spring of 2015 chef Stephen went to work on his own projects the larder + the delta, Walrus & The Pearl and DCM Burger Joint all located within Desoto Central Market located on the corner of Central & Roosevelt in Downtown Phoenix in the heart of the Roosevelt Row arts district. While at DeSoto chef Jones brought national spotlight to the mulit-use space but it was his 8 seat counter only southern concept the larder + the delta that really took off and became a fan favorite amongst the local community, being named travel & leisure magazine best farm to table restaurant in 2016 was a highlight of the year for Jones and the larder + the delta crew. With the momentum building for the restaurant to have its own brick & mortar, in the summer of 2018 Chef Jones was able to open the larder + the delta in the Portland on the Park area of downtown Phoenix.

 
 

Bruce Reinstein

Kinetic12

The Future of Restaurants

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 pm CST

Bruce Reinstein  is a results-driven executive in the hospitality industry who is a partner at Kinetic12, a strategic management-consulting firm that specializes in the Foodservice industry. Bruce’s leadership experience in developing and growing multi-unit restaurant brands, concept operations, menu development and supply chain strengthen Kinetic12’s knowledge and problem-solving consulting offerings.

 

Dedicated to systems development and implementation with an emphasis on value that stems from differentiation. He has had great success working with brand leaders and their teams on customized solutions to opportunities before they become problems. His hands-on approach to finding opportunities is to understand a team’s culture and break down walls that are impeding growth and causing decreased revenue and rising costs.

 

High attention to detail in foodservice financial and operational arenas. An entrepreneurial spirit that allows the people around him to stay focused on doing what it takes to get lasting results.


Bruce is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hospitality Management

Chef Mary Sue Milliken

Border Grill

The Future of Restaurants

Wednesday, August 5

12:00 pm CST

Throughout a groundbreaking, nearly 40-year career, Mary Sue Milliken finds the key to her success in following her insatiable curiosity. She is best known for Border Grill restaurants, trucks, and catering, which she runs with her business partner of more than 35 years, Susan Feniger. Mary Sue seeks to amplify the flavors of amazing ingredients, surprising guests with texture and color while maintaining harmony on the plate at every Border Grill location. In June 2018, Milliken and Feniger debuted BBQ Mexicana a fast casual eatery with locations at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and inside the Las Vegas Ballpark. The chefs returned to Santa Monica with Socalo, an all-day California canteen and Mexican pub, in December 2019.


Milliken uses her platform to enact societal change, serving on the boards of both Share Our Strength and the James Beard Foundation. In 1993, she joined other progressives to found Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and Chefs Collaborative, and she was later selected to join the U.S. State Department on the American Chef Corps to promote diplomacy through food in Pakistan, Malta, and Italy. Her passion for sustainability led her to work with L.A. Food Policy Council, Pew Charitable Trusts, Oxfam, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Zero Foodprint, and others.

 

The Future of Grocery Retail

 
 

Joe Fassler

The Counter

The Future of Grocery Retail

Wednesday, August 12

12:00 pm CST

Joe Fassler is The Counter's deputy editor. As a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, he's reporting on the climate implications of meat and alt-meat production, from feedlots and regenerative ranching to the Impossible Burger. A two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism, his work appears in venues like The Atlantic, The Guardian, Longreads, and Smithsonian Magazine.  

 

Mike Salguero

ButcherBox

The Future of Grocery Retail

Wednesday, August 12

12:00 pm CST

Mike Salguero founded ButcherBox in 2015 when he discovered that grass-fed beef was extremely hard to find in the U.S. Taking on the challenge to make high quality meat more accessible to consumers, Mike built the ButcherBox as the online butcher, bringing high quality, claims-based meat right to consumers’ doors. Before founding ButcherBox, Mike founded CustomMade.com, an online marketplace for one-of-a-kind creations. Mike holds a MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson College. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and three daughters. 

 

Chris Dubois

IRI

The Future of Grocery Retail

Wednesday, August 12

12:00 pm CST

Chris Dubois is a widely respected sales and marketing leader who delivers breakthrough growth and builds high performance teams. For IRI, he leads a portfolio of larger protein-centered clients and leads IRI's engagement with the Food Marketing Institute and other industry associations. He presents frequently on industry-changing trends at conferences and is often quoted in the industry media.

About IRI: IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. 

Marc Jonna

Plum Market

The Future of Grocery Retail

Wednesday, August 12

12:00 pm CST

Marc Jonna has over twenty-five years of experience in the wine and specialty retail industry. During his teenage years, Marc studied wine and specialty foods abroad and worked at home in the family business, the Merchant of Vino. He assisted his father and brother expand the Merchant of Vino into a eight-store chain. In 1999, Whole Foods purchased the Merchant of Vino and invited Marc to join Whole Foods as its National Wine Buyer. Less than one year after joining Whole Foods, Marc was added to Whole Foods’ National Leadership Team. As an executive of Whole Foods, Marc dramatically increased Whole Foods’ wine sales, positioning the company as a major player in the wine and specialty retail industry. In the fall of 2006, after seven years of service with Whole Foods, Marc left Whole Foods to join his brother and father in founding Plum Market, a Midwest Natural, Organic and Specialty Grocery store chain. 

 

Kevin Kelley, AIA

Shook Kelley

The Future of Grocery Retail

Wednesday, August 12

12:00 pm CST

Kevin Kelley is the co-founder and principal of a 50-person innovation firm called Shook Kelley. With offices in Los Angeles, CA and Charlotte, NC, Shook Kelley studies how environment affects consumer behavior and purchase decisions in retail stores. The firm has developed new prototype stores and retail brand strategies for grocery store chains such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Lucky, United, MarketStreet, Genuardi’s, Freson Bros., Reasor’s, Gelsons, Harvest Market and numerous other supermarkets. The firm also works with many consumer-based companies such as Kraft, Cadbury, Mondolez, J.M. Smucker, and other household names. Kevin previously taught courses on design and branding at Harvard University (11 years) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (6 years). He is also a frequent keynote speaker on the retail and food conference circuit and is featured in several books and magazines about design, branding, and consumer behavior. Based in the Los Angeles office, Kevin is a writer, avid art collector, martial arts expert, and devoted family man.

 

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

 
 

Naomi Starkman

Civil Eats

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm CST

Naomi Starkman is the founder and the editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Naomi co-founded the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN), and has worked as a media consultant to Consumer Reports, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, and WIRED magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the deputy executive director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.

John Gilbert 

Niman Ranch Hog Farmer

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm CST

John Gilbert believes that farming has a continued, prominent role to play in American daily life — in terms of the economic well-being and health, for both the land and its people. John has been supplying pigs for Niman Ranch for the last 20 years, and was awarded the organization’s “Farmer of the Year” in 2017. Along with his wife Beverly, his son John C., and his son’s wife Sarah, John operates the 480-acre Gibralter Farms. The Gilberts raise antibiotic-free, pasture-farrowed pigs, milk Brown Swiss dairy cattle, and grow an array of crops and forage.  Their family farm sits along Southfork, a tributary of the Iowa River, near Iowa Falls, Iowa.

 
 

Rachel Dreskin

Compassion USA

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm CST

Rachel is the US Executive Director at Compassion in World Farming. Prior to her appointment Rachel served as the organisation’s Head of Food Business where she oversaw the growth and development the organization’s corporate engagement program.

A graduate of Northeastern University’s School of Business with a dual focus in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Rachel has worked extensively with Fortune 500 companies to incorporate and strengthen animal welfare within corporate sustainability programs.

As Executive Director, Rachel is leading Compassion USA’s growing role in forging a more humane and sustainable food and farming system through measurable farmed animal welfare improvements and protein diversification.

 

​Rachel also serves as board member of Global Animal Partnership and the Regenerative Organic Alliance, has guest lectured at top US universities like Stanford, University of California, Santa Cruz and University of Delaware, and has been featured in Bloomberg, Fortune Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and more.

Maisie Ganzler 

Bon Appétit Mgmt Co.

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm CST

Maisie Ganzler joined Bon Appétit Management Company in 1994 and has been instrumental in shaping the overall strategic direction of this food service pioneer. Maisie oversees Bon Appétit’s strategic initiatives, culinary development, purchasing, marketing, communications, and Web projects. In 1999, she helped develop the Farm to Fork program, a groundbreaking companywide initiative to buy locally, and has since helped create and launch many of Bon Appétit’s other progressive initiatives, among them reducing antibiotics use in poultry in 2002, launching the Eat Local Challenge and switching to cage-free shell eggs in 2005, phasing out gestation crates for pork in 2012, overseeing the company’s shift from a Low Carbon Diet to its ongoing Low Carbon Lifestyle in 2015, and multiple food-waste-fighting projects, including the development of a proprietary kitchen waste-tracking tool.  More recently, she has focused on antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture and on plant-forward innovation. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, she serves on the boards of Food What? and the Equitable Food Initiative.

 
 

Celize Christy

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Improving Farm Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm CST

Celize joined Practical Farmers of Iowa in June 2018 as swine and poultry coordinator and took over the next generation coordinator role in March 2020. Celize’s work focuses on working with aspiring farmers through the Labor4Learning program, FindAFarmer site and Latino Outreach project. She will also be supporting programming in farm transfer.


A native of Dallas, Texas, Celize obtained her B.S. from Iowa State University in 2016, majoring in Animal Science and Global Resource Systems with a minor in Spanish. Her studies at Iowa State allowed her to take her curiosity about livestock production systems worldwide. Her excitement for poultry has allowed her to travel to Uganda in 2014 and 2015, working with farmers on their poultry production practices and with women who obtained microloans to raise chickens. Following graduation from ISU she went on to obtain a M.S. degree from Penn State University in 2018, where she majored in Rural Sociology and International Agricultural Development. Her thesis research focused on how poultry farmers in Rwanda use local knowledge to aid in addressing poultry health issues.


Celize has been a supporter of sustainable and equitable food systems. She is an advocate of validating farmers voices, highlighting the significance by sharing their stories and lessons.

Chef Talk

 

Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Chef/Author/Activist

Chef Panel: Restaurant Resilience

Wednesday, August 26

12:00 pm CST

Celebrated chef, Elizabeth Falkner was born in San Francisco, grew up in Los Angeles and moved and worked her way up in kitchens in San Francisco in the 1990’s through 2011. She has owned and opened several restaurants in SF and then as an executive chef in New York through 2014. Today she does recipe development and consults and collaborates on numerous products and brands. She is an inspiring public speaker appearing across the country as well as in Canada, Spain and China.

She relentlessly cooks and raises money for charity events and food festivals all over. Falkner does both savory and sweet, traditional and modern. She is an advocate for people and chefs to think more like athletes and “stay fit to cook”. After playing soccer for 28 years, she picked up sword fighting fitness and martial arts, yoga, pilates and running distance races. She ran the NY Marathon in 2016 for Team For Kids. In May 2019 Falkner rode 300 miles in Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry raising money for kids and will do it again in Bend, Oregon in 2021. 

 

During the Covid 19 pandemic, Falkner is in the process of hosting and co-producing and documentary about the state of the restaurants and chefs during the fallout. 

 

 

Chef Anita Cartagena

Protéa

Chef Panel: Restaurant Resilience

Wednesday, August 26

12:00 pm CST

From day one, Anita Cartagena has been all-in to pursue her passion as a chef. Selling her prized possessions and motorcycle to finance what is now an extremely successful restaurant. Owner and executive chef of fast-casual Caribbean cuisine restaurant, Protéa, Chef Cartagena is passionate about providing high-quality service for her customers through tableside delivery. Describing her menu as “global with Latin influence,” she channels her Puerto Rican heritage and passion for cooking to bring spice to Yountville, CA.

 

 

Katherine Miller

James Beard Foundation

Chef Panel: Restaurant Resilience

Wednesday, August 26

12:00 pm CST

Katherine Miller is an award-winning communications executive, campaign strategist and social media expert. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Chef Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit organization giving back to the chefs who cook from their souls, donate their time and talent, and help us better understand the many complex issues related to food. Miller is also the Vice President of Impact at the James Beard Foundation where she oversees the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change along with program areas designed to influence positive changes in public policy and industry practices. 

 

 

Chef Rachel Yang

Joule | Revel

Chef Panel: Restaurant Resilience

Wednesday, August 26

12:00 pm CST

Rachel Yang, a six-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Northwest chef, is known for her singular culinary vision that artfully blends a love of bold, unexpected flavors with classic technique. Her food defies expectation and simple definition, and has earned her a reputation as an innovator and creative force. Yang's food is beloved by seasoned, adventurous diners and often considered a revelation by newcomers eager to expand their palates. Her cuisine is informed equally by her personal history as a Korean native as well as her kitchen experience at restaurants Per Se, Essex House, and DB Bistro Moderne. 


Along with her co-chef and husband, Seif Chirchi, Yang owns two Seattle restaurants: Joule, a contemporary Korean steakhouse that was named one of 2013’s Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetite Magazine, and Revel, a lively, casual space for street food-style comfort food. 

 

 
 

Chef Niven Patel

Chandi Hospitality Group

Chef Panel: Restaurant Resilience

Wednesday, August 26

12:00 pm CST

A pursuit for knowledge was the stimulus and continues to be the driving force behind Chef Niven’s career. The 33-year-old was born in Georgia to parents of a traditional Indian heritage. Patel’s first glimpse into the restaurant world was during culinary school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and he was hooked. Patel earned his chops at 3030 Ocean Restaurant at the Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale Florida, working under Chef Dean Max for six years. He then traveled to Italy to learn and cook for six months, returning to the U.S. to be a part of various restaurants such as Watertable at the Renaissance Baltimore, The Brasserie in Grand Cayman,Cayman Islands, to name a few. 

Working closely with farmers and purveyors, Patel developed a deeper appreciation for the product coming into the restaurant. He began digging in his back yard, lovingly referred to as RanchoPatel, cultivating greens, fruits and vegetables. For young cooks dreaming of one day becoming a chef, Patel offers some words of wisdom, cultivated over his many years of due diligence, “Be inquisitive. Every time there is something you don’t know, research it, look it up”. Clearly the success of the highly disciplined Patel proves that the chef is guided by his own advice.

Resilience vs. Efficiency

 

Danielle Nierenberg

Food Tank

Resilience vs Efficiency

Tuesday, September 8

12:00 pm CST

Danielle Nierenberg is co-founder and president of Food Tank, a non-profit organization focused on highlighting stories of hope and success in the food system. Danielle is an internationally recognized expert on sustainable agriculture and is the recipient of the 2020 Julia Child Award.She has an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. 

 

 
 

Michael Pollan

Author

Resilience vs Efficiency

Tuesday, September 8

12:00 pm CST

For more than thirty years, Michael Kevin Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. He is the author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and five New York Times bestsellers: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013), Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A young readers edition was published in 2009. The Botany of Desire received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. Pollan is also the author of A Place of My Own (1997) and Second Nature (1991).


Pollan is currently the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and Professor of the Practice of NonFiction at Harvard University. Since 2003, Pollan has held the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment. Michael Pollan, who was born in 1955, grew up on Long Island, and was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University, from which he received a Master’s in English. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer.

Dawn Sherman

Tanka Bar

Resilience vs Efficiency

Tuesday, September 8

12:00 pm CST

Dawn Sherman brings over 25 years of business expertise and entrepreneurial skills to her role as CEO of Native American Natural Foods’ Tanka bar.  A member of the Lakota, Shawnee and Delaware tribes, Dawn is keenly aware of the fundamental needs facing individuals at the community level on the reservation. Her South Dakota roots inform her decision making and she is dedicated to seeking improvements in the food systems that benefit the health and wellness of her indigenous community as well as the community at large. Dawn believes teamwork and meaningful collaboration are essential to success and looks to the operational Niman Ranch partnership as key to continuing the Tanka vision.


She is a founding member of Tanka Resilient Agriculture Coop a South Dakota collective dedicated to returning bison to lands, and improving the lives and economies of Native Communities.  She is also a founding board member of The Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, an ecosystem of people and organizations committed to making sustainable ranching and farming a collective norm. She is also a board member of the Tanka Fund, a not-for-profit that supports tribal bison caretakers with direct grants for ranch planning, finance and operations.


As the second generation of Native Leadership and as a Native woman, Dawn’s unique vision combined with her deep experience in the food industry, allows her the opportunity to give back to her own community and further her vision of food sovereignty for all. 

 

Paul Willis

Niman Ranch

Resilience vs Efficiency

Tuesday, September 8

12:00 pm CST

Paul Willis is a 5th generation family farmer and founder of the Niman Ranch Pork Company. He has owned and operated the Willis Free Range Pig Farm in Iowa since 1975. Today he works hard to increase opportunities for traditional, sustainable and humane family farmers while representing the Niman Ranch brand.

Paul’s involvement in sustainable agriculture began after he graduated from the University of Iowa and joined the Peace Corps. He returned to the states to start his own farm. Paul initially sold his hogs in the conventional market. When he met Bill Niman in 1995, the two discovered a shared dedication to sustainable farming, strict animal husbandry standards and raising the highest quality product possible. Their partnership led to the establishment of the Niman Ranch Pork Company in 1998, which has since grown into a network of over 600 independent family hog farmers.

Paul sits on the board for the Global Animal Partnership and Edible Communities and has been the subject of numerous feature length articles in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Successful Farming, Vogue, Country Living, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. He co-founded Food Democracy Now and has been involved with the National Academy of Sciences. Paul participated in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Expert Meeting on Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices in Rome, October 2008, to review the current knowledge on animal welfare standards, practices and policies.

 
 

Farmer Panel

 

Dalaney Howell

Global Ag Network

Farmer Panel 

Thursday, September 9

12:00 pm CST

Delaney grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Southeast Iowa and has been involved in agriculture from a very young age. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences and minors in Broadcasting and International Studies from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master's in Agricultural Communications through Texas Tech University. 

You may recognize Delaney from her role as host on the 45-year-old agribusiness show “Market to Market” or from her daily podcast she co-launched in 2017, Ag News Daily. In 2018 she co-launched Global Ag Network, a “herd” of agriculturally focused podcasts, which strive to provide entertaining, informative, and essential information to the agricultural industry. Delaney also stays busy as host of the “Spokesman Speaks” Podcast on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; as a freelance reporter for “This Week in Agribusiness”, and Agri-Pulse; and with her daily radio program on Your Ag Network. Delaney strives to bring the most up to date information on the latest “news cycle” in DC politics, commodity markets, and the international agricultural scene.  

 

David Borrowman

Niman Ranch

Farmer Panel 

Thursday, September 9

12:00 pm CST

David Borrowman, 5th generation hog farmer, runs Pastvina Acres Farm located near Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife Christy. They love being a part of the Niman Ranch family. The mission of their farm is to produce amazing pork while helping to rejuvenate rural economies. 


David grew up on a hog farm in Illinois, but took a 17 year hiatus from farming to attend college and work as a Wildlife Biologist for the USDA. Pastvina Acres Farm started in 2015 with 15 Berkshire pigs and has grown into a diverse farming operation anchored by feeder-to-finish pig production for Niman Ranch. In addition to Niman pork, Pastvina Acres Farm has a 100 acre corn/soybean/wheat row crop operation, produces heritage breed hogs, straw and hay for direct market sales and supplies heirloom corn products for distillers, tortillerias and other retail businesses.   


David and Christy have two children, Parker 6 and Twyla 2, who love it when new Niman piggies arrive on the farm. 

 

Joel Gindo

Niman Ranch

Farmer Panel 

Thursday, September 9

12:00 pm CST

Joel Gindo was born and raised on a small diversified farm in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. Both his parents had jobs in town while also tending to the family farm’s dairy cows, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and a big garden. Joel graduated from Wartburg College in Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration and in 2017 completed his Master’s in business administration. Today, Joel has a small farm in South Dakota where he raises pigs for Niman Ranch, free-range laying hens and pasture-raised broilers. 

 

Ron Mardesen

Niman Ranch

Farmer Panel 

Thursday, September 9

12:00 pm CST

Ron Mardesen’s farm, A Frame Acres, in Elliot, Iowa has been in the family for five generations, with three generations currently working the land. The Mardesens have been farming sustainably and raising pigs humanely without antibiotics for Niman Ranch since 2002 and Ron has been a Field Agent for the company for more than a decade, supporting hundreds of independent family farmers. He currently serves as a coach and spokesperson for Niman’s farming community. 


A Frame Acres has been featured on 60 Minutes and in radio and print ads for Chipotle and ButcherBox. Ron has hosted hundreds of guests on his farm and is a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa. He hosts international groups and is a mentor to beginning and young farmers throughout the state of Iowa and Eastern Nebraska.


Ron is committed to letting pigs be pigs, the way Mother Nature intended. 

Charcuterie Class

 
 

Chef Kelly Whitaker 

Id Est Hospitality

Virtual Culinary Experience

Thursday, August 20

7:00 pm CST

Chef Kelly Whitaker holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Colorado State University, but the world has provided his real schooling. Early in his career, he studied abroad at Hotel Institute Montreux in Switzerland. This led him to his first culinary stint in Italy on the island of Procida, off the coast of Naples. There he fell in love with simple wood-fired eateries. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he perfected his craft at the one-Michelin-starred Hatfield’s and the two-Michelin-starred Providence. In 2008, Whitaker moved to Boulder, Colo., and co-founded Id Est Hospitality Group. Kelly believes strongly in responsibly sourcing ingredients. He is a local leader of the national organization Chefs Collaborative, sits on the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and founded the nonprofit Noble Grain Alliance. Kelly has received local, regional and national acclaim. Most recently, in 2020 Kelly was a semifinalist for the James Beard nomination for best chef in the Rocky Mountain region.

Sara Brito

Good Food Media Network 

Virtual Culinary Experience

Thursday, August 20

7:00 pm CST

A change maker, strategic thinker and doer, and sustainable food advocate with a zest for life, Sara Brito is Co-Founder of the Good Food Media Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that produces and publishes the Good Food 100 Restaurants™. Sara is a 20-year food (Chefs Collaborative, Big Green, The Kitchen Restaurant Group, Snooze A.M. Eatery), digital media/technology (Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Digitas), and Fortune 100 (American Express, The New York Times, AOL) industry veteran with a successful track record leading people and change to make big ideas happen. While serving on the Board of Slow Food NYC, she co-created and launched the Slow Food ‘Snail of Approval’ program, a designation given to restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York. Under Sara's leadership, Chefs Collaborative was nominated for the 2016 Taste Talks inaugural "Outstanding Nonprofit" award, and four of her past clients, The Kitchen, Big Green, Domino's, and Vail Resorts (EpicMix), were named to Fast Company's 2016 and 2018 World's Most Innovative Companies list. 

 

Virtual Appreciation Dinner

 

Chef Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

Virtual Appreciation Dinner

Thursday, September 

7:00 pm CST

Thomas Keller is renowned for his culinary skills and his exceptionally high standards. He has established a new paradigm within the hospitality profession. He is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. He has received countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year” Award and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards.


In addition to the international and national acclaim Keller’s fine dining and casual dining restaurants consistently receive, including seven stars in the 2013 Michelin Guide, Keller’s personal influence on the culinary world has laced him among the most decorated chefs in the world. In 2001, Keller was named “America’s Best Chef” by Time magazine. In 2003, Johnson & Wales University conferred upon him the honorary Degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts for his contributions to the profession. He is consistently recognized by respected media outlets, the James Beard Foundation and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which recently honored him in 2013 with “TK Day at the CIA”—a day dedicated to culinary curricula of America. In 2010 he was elected to the CIA’s Board of Trustees, contributing his unique perspective and leadership to furthering the school’s educational mission.

 

Dr. Temple Grandin

Colorado State University

Keyote

Thursday, September 10

8:30 pm CST

Dr. Grandin became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.  She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare.  She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow". She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk.  Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.


When she was young, she was considered weird and teased and bullied in high school.  The only place she had friends was activities where there was a shared interest such as horses, electronics, or model rockets.  Mr. Carlock, her science teacher, was an important mentor who encouraged her interest in science.  When she had a new goal of becoming a scientist, she had a reason for studying.  Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.

 
 

Keynote

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