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The 2016 Summit:

Food & Ag Entrepreneurship

How to Succeed in Business by Slowing Down

Thurs.-Sat., April 28-30, 2016 — Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont

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The sixth annual Summit focuses on entrepreneurship. 

Join us for in-depth explorations of key topics in food and agriculture entrepreneurship: business planning, funding sources, refining and pitching ideas, ownership structures, social impact, collaboration, food & ag business case studies.

Food & Ag Entrepreneurship:

How to Succeed in Business by Slowing Down

Yes, you read that correctly, your eyes are not deceiving you. In the age of “accelerators” and “start ups” we want you to know that doing well and good includes taking a moment to slow down.

The 2016 Summit will be focused on explorations of key topics in food and agriculture entrepreneurship, including business planning, funding sources, refining and pitching ideas, ownership structures, social impact, collaboration, food & ag business case studies. While exploring these and many other related topics, the Summit is focused on the concept of Slow Business which means: reflecting upon failure for future success, taking care of yourself as key for business, and deepening community relationships as a part of good business.

Specifically, we invite attendees to:

  • Embrace Failure as Your Teacher in Business: In our fast culture, everyone is competing for the top spot to be seen as the most successful. We invite you to think differently about success and its risks in regards to doing well within your food or ag business. Additionally, we want to share with you stories of success gained from failure.
  • Connect Slowing Living & Being Present with Good Business: It is very common for entrepreneurs to forget about themselves in the middle of their business planning. While thinking about planning a sustainable food or ag business, we want to help you make the connection between giving back to yourself, your neighbors and your community as a key part of your business model. If you are not going well, how can your business do well?
  • Re-think Doing Business as Community & Relationship Building: We are not just talking partnership but good business and doing well requires a community. This is the very essence of Slow Living because there is no business without community.

As always, the Summit takes the Slow approach to entrepreneurship. “Slow Living” embodies cooperation, celebration, respect, purpose, sustainability, gratitude, mindfulness, and resilience. 

Who should come: farmers, entrepreneurs, students, funders, educators, consultants, concerned citizens.

Register today!  Join our Facebook event

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Click here for speaker bios

CairnCross

Cairn Cross

Co-Founder and Managing Director, FreshTracks Capital

Paul and Barbi Schulick, New Chapter Founders

Paul & Barbi Schulick

Founders, New Chapter

AshleyStanley

Ashley Stanley

Founder & Executive Director, Lovin’ Spoonfuls

ChicoLager

Fred “Chico” Lager

Ex-CEO, Ben & Jerry’s 

Will Raap

Founder, Gardener’s Supply

BobWellington (1)

Bob Wellington

Sr. VP, Agri-Mark Dairy Cooperative 

MattDunne3

Matt Dunne

V.P. Community Affairs, Google

 Tanya Fields

Founder & Executive Director, the BLK Projek

Leah Fury

 Leah Fury

Loan officer, Community Capital of Vermont

 Anna Dawson

Founder, Hometown Foods LLC

 Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley

Summit Coordinator & Mistress of Ceremonies

 Matthew Cropp

Vermont Employee Ownership Center

 Orly Munzing

Founder & Executive Director, Strolling of the Heifers

Jess Collen

Partner, Collen IP

Gabriel Cole

Founder, Fare Resources

 Tamara Stenn

Author, Teacher, Entrepreneur

 CS Wurzberger

The Greenup Girl

 Martin Langeveld

Marketing Director, Strolling of the Heifers

 Jim Verzino

Social entrepreneur

 Clark Wolf

President & Founder, The Clark Wolf Company

Natalie Holder

Founder & CEO, Quest Diversity

 Shel Horowitz

Author, Guerilla Marketing Goes Green

MaggieDonin

 Maggie Donin

Beginning Farmer Specialist, The Intervale Center

 Michele Risa

President, Manhattan Holistic Chamber of Commerce

 Erbin Crowell

Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association

 John Steven Bianucci

Director of Impact, Iroquois Valley Farms

 Daniel Kornguth

Plastic artist

 Mark Morey

Founder & CEO, A Connected Leader

Don Kreis

Senior Law Fellow, Vermont Law School

Dr. Michael Finkelstein

The Slow Medicine Doctor

Jacqueline Maisonpierre

Organic Farmer

Dorothy Suput

The Carrot Project

Alan Newman

Alchemy & Science

John Hamilton

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund

Louisa Schibli

Co-founder, Milk Money

Janice Shade

Co-founder, Milk Money

Nico Lustig

Franklin County Community Development Corporation

Jovial King

Urban Moonshine

Lisa Lorimer 225n

Lisa Lorimer

Entrepreneur-on-the-loose

SUMMIT TRACKS

CALCULATED RISK

Alternative Business Models and Shared Ownership

Workshops will focus on funding options for new businesses, how to identify useful business models, and the needs of the budding food or ag new business. How does one create a business model that supports being socially responsible?

DEAL, NO DEAL, ANTE UP

Financing Outside of the Box

Workshops will focus on various methods for business financing.  What are some of the pros and cons of various financing models?  What is gained or lost in matching funding goals, business structure, and being a socially responsible food & ag entrepreneur.

 

FIX, PIVOT, CLOSE OR SELL?

Re-Thinking Your Business Model

If you are a current food or ag entrepreneur, your challenge is trying to stay in the game and make decisions about ways to improve your business.

 

IS EVERYONE AT THE TABLE?

Diversity within the Food & Ag Business  

In addition to starting and maintaining a business, what are some of the challenges to access to the food & ag business sectors.

 

2015 Summit videos

 

The Opening Plenary, Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Plenary 2 — Thursday morning, June 4, 2015

Plenary 3 — Thursday afternoon, June 4, 2015

Plenary 4 — Friday morning, June 5, 2015

Plenary 5 — Friday afternoon, June 5, 2015

Come and discover Brattleboro!

The Summit takes place in the non-traditional conference surroundings of Main Street, Brattleboro — a small community in southern Vermont, long renowned for its commitment to healthy, local, sustainable living and technology, for its vibrant communities of visual and performance artists, craftspeople, poets and writers, and for the diversity of its shops, restaurants and galleries. In turn Brattleboro is a gateway to the Green Mountains and Vermont.

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting

and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world…. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.

Michael Pollan

Join our Slow mailing list:





Merchants BankThanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Merchants Bank!

And thanks to our friends at Brattleboro Community Television for their video work on these plenary sessions!

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

What is Slow Living?

The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “Slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money.

“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.

When we Live Slow, we give back, we are mindful, and we connect to our communities and our bioregions.

The Slow Living Vision

The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.

The Slow Living Vision is being realized all over the world by an amazing array of people who are working on new pathways. These include not only health, healing and wellness, sustainable agriculture, community building, renewable energy, reforestation, social justice, new economic models and resource conservation, but also deeper explorations into the wisdom of indigenous people, feminine and masculine wisdom, and the roles of the arts, ethics, philosophy, science, spirituality and religion in healing the Earth.

We come from all walks of life. We live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities. We are young and old, wealthy and struggling. We are all seeking a better way, a saner way, and a happier way to live and organize their lives.

We will regather in Brattleboro, Vermont, April 28-30, 2016

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About Strolling of the Heifers

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

In a major new initiative to further our mission, in November 2013 we acquired a prominently-located downtown Brattleboro building, the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (where Summit lunches and receptions take place), which has 4500 square foot of open space used since 2001 for public events, performances, lectures and exhibits. Under our stewardship of this community resource, we plan to maintain the public uses of the building, but also to create exhibits and programming that are related to our own focus areas of local food, food systems, and healthy sustainable living — a Farm/Food Education Center.

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Photo credits

Brattleboro Rainbow: photo by Craig S. O’Connell, used under Creative Commons License

Apple: Photo by Rick Payette, Used under Creative Commons License