Future of Women in Food Entrepreneurship
Presented by Windham Grows
Thursday & Friday, June 5 & 6, 2019
Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont
How can we connect a community of like-minded individuals
seeking to expand women’s roles in farm and food systems?
The goal of Future of Women in Food Entrepreneurship 2019 is to give current and aspiring women in farm and food the tools, resources, and mentorship needed grow businesses, create positive change in their communities, and revolutionize the future of food. This has been a powerful year for women, and we want to explore the present and future of women in food-centric fields.
Executive Director, Honor the Earth
Principal Founder, Breakthru Beverage Group
Charlie Merinoff is a principal founder of Breakthru Beverage Group (BBG), the innovative beverage wholesaler formed by Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG) and Wirtz Beverage Group on January 1, 2016. He currently serves as Co-Chairman of BBG’s Board of Managers. The operations of the company and its affiliates spans 16 markets throughout North America, and the company represents a portfolio of premier wine, spirits and beer brands totaling more than $6 billion in annual sales.
Previously Charlie was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSG, one of the nation’s leading distributors of fine wines and spirits. Following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1980, Charlie joined the family’s business, holding various positions in operations, purchasing and sales. In 1991, Charlie was named President of Charmer Industries, the family’s Metro New York business. In 1994, the family acquired Sunbelt Beverage Corporation, then operating distributorships in several Eastern states. The Sunbelt Beverage Corporation continued to expand through acquisitions and partnerships, and in 1997 the wholesale companies in which the family had an interest became known as The Charmer Sunbelt Group. In 2011, he was named Chairman of the Board of The Charmer Sunbelt Group.
Charlie devotes a significant amount of time and resources to charitable organizations. He has been a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation since 1999, and is currently its Treasurer and an active member of its Board of Directors. Additionally, Charlie spent twelve years on the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America and is currently Trustee Emeritus. He presides on the Board of Directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Charles has previously been on the Board of Trustees of Northwell Health - formerly North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and Make-A Wish Foundation Metro New York. Charlie spearheaded the annual “Wine and Wishes” tasting and auction, which raised nearly $8.0 million over 13 years for Make-A-Wish.
Charlie has been honored over the years by the Boys Town of Italy, the Boy Scouts of America, the UJA-Federation of New York, the American Cancer Society and received the George Washington Spirit Award at Mt. Vernon. He is a Past Chairman of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
Dr. Jessica Shade
Director of Science Programs, The Organic Center
Dr. Jessica Shade is the Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center where she directs projects associated with communicating and conducting research related to organic agriculture. During her tenure at The Organic Center Dr. Shade has collaborated on a number of diverse research programs ranging from applied solutions to on-farm challenges to methods for improving environmental impacts of agriculture. Some of her most recent collaborations include projects aimed at decreasing nitrogen pollution from agricultural sources, increasing on-farm biodiversity, and developing integrated pest management solutions for organic growers. Dr. Shade has extensive experience leading groups of diverse stakeholders to successfully develop unified visions and project goals. She developed and leads the Center’s signature conference event, Organic Confluences, which brings together policy makers, researchers, farmers, industry members, and other non-profits to address and overcome challenges faced by the organic sector. Dr. Shade has been honored for her environmental accomplishments by the Audubon Women in Conservation through their Women Greening Food Special Recognition, the Ecological Society of America Student Section and Union of Concerned Scientists through their Ecoservice Award, and is a Switzer Environmental Fellow. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
Founder & Executive Director, Strolling of the Heifers
Director and Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Co-Founder and Managing Director, FreshTracks Capital
Slow Living Summit Coordinator
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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.
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.