The True Cost of American Food Conference will be taking place from April 14 to 17 in San Francisco at Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavilion. It is organized by the Sustainable Food Trust, a nonprofit based in Bristol, UK, dedicated to creating a food production system which causes the least possible harm to both humans and the environment. The conference will feature internationally renowned speakers from academic, governmental, and business sectors to discuss why food appears cheap when its real cost to human health and the environment is so high and explore ways in which the economics of food and agriculture can better reflect these costs. Professor Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences and Tyler Norris, Vice President for Total Health Partnerships of Kaiser Permanente will be giving the keynote addresses. Food Tank’s Danielle Nierenberg will be moderating a discussion on why we need true cost accounting. Other plenaries and sessions will be chaired by:
The Food Business Perspective: Naomi Starkman, Civil Eats
Corn/Soy Systems: George Boody, Land Stewardship Project
The Hidden Costs of CAFOs: Andrew Gunther, Animal Welfare Approved
The Fat of the Land: Nicolette Niman, author and farmer, BN Ranch
Public Health: Ruth Richardson, Global Alliance for the Future of Food
Soil: Sarah Bell, 11th Hour Project
Nitrogen: Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Food and Agriculture Organization
Pricing the Priceless: Owsley Brown III
Waste: Twilight Greenaway, Civil Eats
Food Justice: Anna Lappé, author and educator
Case Study Analysis of US Farming Systems: Patrick Holden, Sustainable Food Trust
Integrated Farming Systems: Richard Young
Methods and Metric: Alexander Müller, TEEBAgFood
The True Cost of Water: Richard Collins
Communications: Scott Cullen, Grace Communications Foundation
Investing in Sustainable Agriculture: Ali Partovi
The Future of Food?: Thomas Harttung, Chair of Sustainable Food Trust
Education: Laurie David
Does Size Matter?: Ann Thrupp
Call to Action: Ken Wilson
The conference will begin with a reception on Thursday followed by two full days of sessions on Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday, there will be three field trip options. The first is to Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin County and Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes, to see sustainable food production in action. Another option is a guided tour of La Cocina’s facilities to learn about how the innovative nonprofit is using their incubator program to tackle the biggest barrier to entry for food entrepreneurs. The third option is a visit to the Veritable Vegetable in San Francisco, an exclusively organic produce distributor committed to using the potential of business to solve social and environmental challenges.
By bringing together so many influential people who are thinking about and working on this issue in diverse and creative ways, the True Cost of American Food Conference is a significant step towards the adoption of more honest food prices.