Join us & be inspired by our 2018 Featured Speakers!

Each year, we work very hard to find unique and compelling individuals to speak to our audience. We look for innovative and enthusiastic people who will offer new views and push our audience members to see their work in a new light.

All keynote presentations are included in conference registrations. We also offer a Keynote Only pass, which allows you to attend a keynote session and peruse the TradeShow and Auction. Workshops, meals and other conference activities are not included, but meals may be purchased separately.


Thursday Keynoter

LINDSEY LUSHER SHUTE​ is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition. An Ohio native, Lindsey first developed her love of farming on her grandfather’s land in the rolling hills of Appalachia. At NYFC, Lindsey has grown the organization from a few volunteer farmers to a nationwide network with 37 chapters in 26 states and a grassroots base of over 120,000. Lindsey has edited and authored eleven reports for the coalition, including Building a Future with Farmers: Challenges faced by Young, American Farmers and a Strategy to Help Them Succeed. Their report and New York Times op-ed on farmland conservation launched a national land access campaign that has engaged hundreds of land trust professionals in protecting the country’s working farmland. Lindsey was recognized as a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama. She received the Glynwood “Harvest Award”, was named among “20 Food Leaders Under 40” by Food Tank, and was recognized as one of ten “American Food Heros” by EatingWell. Lindsey and her husband, Benjamin, own and operate Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 900-member CSA in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Special Thanks to Our Thursday Keynote Sponsor

Pennsylvania Certified Organic


Friday Keynoter

KAREN WASHINGTON is a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live since 1985. She worked to turn empty lots in Bronx neighborhoods into community gardens as a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens. She stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation as former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. She helped launch City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to the community, as a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition. In 2010, she co-founded Black Urban Growers, which supports growers in both urban and rural settings. She was voted one of Ebony magazine’s 100 most influential African Americans in the country and she received the James Beard Leadership Award in 2014. She retired from Physical Therapy in 2014, and now co-owns and farms at Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York, serves on the board of Why Hunger, a grassroots support organization, and chairs the board of Just Food and a Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on growing food and food justice across the country.

Special Thanks to Our Friday Keynote Sponsor

Lady Moon Farms



Saturday Keynoter

CHRIS BLANCHARD provides consulting and education for farming, food, and business through Purple Pitchfork. As the owner and operator of Rock Spring Farm since 1999, Chris raised twenty acres of vegetables, herbs, and greenhouse crops, marketed through a 200-member year-round CSA, food stores, and farmers markets. His farm was known locally as “the yelling farm” before Chris decided it was time to turn things around. Prior to 1999, Chris managed student farms, worked as an intern, packing house manager, plant breeding assistant, and farm manager, and provided consulting for a major organic processor, in California, Wisconsin, Maine, and Washington state. His workshops, writing, and consulting throughout the country about farm business concepts, food safety, organic vegetable production, and scaling-up have gained a reputation for fresh approaches, down-to-earth information, and honesty. He is perhaps best known as the host and producer of the Farmer to Farmer Podcast, an internet radio show for organic and sustainable market farmers.

Special Thanks to Our
Saturday Keynote Sponsor

Kimberton Whole Foodskimberton_lg