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Eastern Symposium Agenda

Subject to change

Travel & Arrival Day

Monday, April 29

10:00am – 7:00pm EST

Activities on this day are optional

10:00 AM – 7:00 PM  |  Check-In Table Open


4:00 – 5:00 PM  |  Foodlink Tour

5:00 – 7:00 PM  |  Welcome Reception at Foodlink

Day One

Tuesday, April 30

8:00am – 7:00pm EST

8:00 – 8:30 AM |  Guest Transfer to Wegmans Conference Center


8:30 – 9:00 AM  |  Breakfast and Welcome


9:00 – 9:15 AM  |  Welcome from Symposium Leadership Team

Jerod Matthews, Senior Director, Commodity Foods—Dairy will welcome attendees to the symposium.


9:15 – 9:35 AM  |  Opening Keynote

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America will deliver opening remarks.


9:35 – 9:45 AM  |  Table Team Introductions


9:45 – 10:00 AM  |  Networking Round 1: Introductions and Expectations

Attendees will meet each other and begin forming collaborative partnerships across organizations.


10:00 – 10:10 AM  |  Break


10:10 – 10:40 AM  |  Community Engagement Health Initiative and the Role of Dairy Nutrition

Dr. Winston Price, Past President, National Medical Association will discuss the importance of dairy’s role in addressing health disparities in underserved populations.


10:40 – 11:15 AM  |  Fireside Chat - Dairy's Role in Addressing Health Disparities

Dr. Winston Price will be joined by Rickeya Feggans, Manager, Food Sourcing and Nutrition Services, Feeding America and Jenni Tilton-Flood, Dairy Farmer, Flood Brothers, LLC for a discussion about dairy’s nutritional value and strategies to overcome barriers to getting it where it’s needed most.


11:15 AM – 12:00 PM  |  Developing Local Partnership Models

Jeff Sokal, Mountaintop Beverage; Chad Morrison, Mountaineer Food Bank; Sean Steichen, Diversified Foods, Inc.; Tracy Enslen, American Dairy Association Mideast; Cacee Hilliard, Feeding Florida; and Julie Mercado, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida will discuss the importance and benefits of creating strong partnerships between producers and food banks.


12:00 – 1:00 PM  |  Lunch and Break


1:05 – 1:20 PM  |  USDA Keynote

Bruce Summers, Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will discuss the importance of returning to the support shared during the pandemic, strategies to maximize Section 32, and the value of ensuring variety in dairy supply. 


1:20 – 2:05 PM  |  USDA Fireside Chat

Mike Halligan, CEO, God’s Pantry; Miquela Hanselman, Director of Regulatory Affairs, National Milk Producers Federation; Gary Davis, Senior Vice President, Prairie Farms; and Erika Theim, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Feeding America will discuss strategies and solutions to make use of existing network capacity to provide a variety of dairy options to underserved populations. 


2:05 – 2:15 PM  |  Networking Round 2: Thinking Three Things

Attendees will meet each other and begin forming collaborative partnerships across organizations. 


2:15 – 2:25 PM  |  Break


2:30 – 2:45 PM  |  What's Happening in the East

Joe Arthur, Executive Director, Central Pennsylvania Foodbank will discuss strategies for achieving a sustainable supply of dairy at food banks. 


2:45 – 3:00 PM  |  Fireside Chat - What's Happening in the East

Erica Mowrer, Agricultural Acquisitions Manager, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; John Chrisman, CEO, American Dairy Association North East; and Caryn Long Earl, Director, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will build on Joe Arthur’s Keynote and discuss the value of strategic partnerships in maximizing sustainable access to funding and putting that funding to work.


3:00 – 3:30 PM  |  Escape Room Teambuilding Acitivity

Erica Mowrer, Agricultural Acquisitions Manager, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will lead tables in a dairy-themed escape room challenge. 


3:35 – 3:55 PM  |  Problem and Opportunity Finding Session + Spark Time, Reflections

Attendees will work to move from problem statements around dairy sourcing to identifying options to use resources they may (or may not) have access to. 

3:55 – 4:00 PM  |  Day 1 Housekeeping and Wrap-Up

4:15 – 5:00 PM  |  Guest transfer to Other Half Brewing

5:00 – 7:00 PM  |  Dinner at Other Half Brewing

7:15 – 8:00 PM  |  Guest Transfer Back to the Hyatt Regency Rochester

Day Two

Wednesday, May 1

8:00am – 6:00pm EST

8:00 – 8:30 AM  |  Guest Transfer to Wegmans Conference Center


8:30 – 9:00 AM  |  Breakfast and One Actionable Step

Attendees reflect and identify one actionable next step. 


9:00 – 9:15 AM  |  Why This Matters

Attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer to share their vision of the importance of getting more fresh dairy into food banks. 


9:15 – 9:45 AM  |  How to Navigate the Environment for Success

Mike Halligan, CEO, God’s Pantry Food Bank will open Day 2 with remarks on proven strategies for connecting dairy products with the people who need them most. 


9:45 – 11:00 AM  |  Dairy Access Partnerships

Kathleen Stress, Research Director, Feeding New York State; Sam Schwoeppe, Director of Business Partnerships, Fresh Connect Central; Becca Dittrich, Vice President of Impact, Chobani; and Maggie Johnson, Executive Director, Community Cupboard of Edmeston will discuss partnerships they have built to successfully deliver a sustainable supply of dairy to food banks. 


11:05 AM – 12:20 PM  |  Group Presentation Development

Attendees will prepare an actionable program or project. 


12:20 – 1:20 PM  |  Lunch 

12:45 – 1:10 PM  |  Lunch Keynote - What is a Dairy Cooperative?

Stephanie Walsh, Director, Government & Industry Relations, Dairy Farmers of America will bring a dairy industry viewpoint as she informs attendees about the value of a cooperative in supporting both food bank and dairy industry efforts. 


1:10 – 1:20 PM  |  Grants and Funding

Emily Walk, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Strategic Projects, Feeding America and Melissa Malcolm-Cullison, Principal, Partners for Good, LLC will discuss strategies for applying for grants both within the Feeding America network and more broadly. 


1:20 – 2:20 PM  |  Group Presentations

Attendees will share their action plan presentations in their small groups, then vote on one presentation from each group to present to the full symposium in the following session. 

2:20 – 2:30 PM  |  Break

2:30 – 3:00 PM  |  Partnership Opportunity Corners/Connections


3:00 – 3:20 PM  |  Individual Action Plans

Attendees will finalize an “action plan” identifying next steps they find promising and the specific plans they will commit to. 


3:20 – 3:40 PM  |  Closing Keynote - A Call to Action from Lived Experience

Sam Schwoeppe, Director of Business Partnerships, Fresh Connect Central and Jenni Tilton-Flood, Dairy Farmer, Flood Brothers, LLC will deliver a closing keynote centering the value of the symposium’s work in the lived experience of the farmers who make it possible and the beneficiaries of this important work. 

3:40 – 4:00 PM  |  Closing Remarks from the Feeding America Team

Dru Montri, Vice President, Agri Food Engagement, Feeding America and Jerod Matthews, Senior Director, Commodity Foods—Dairy, Feeding America will close the symposium with remarks about the importance and impact this work has year-round. 

4:00 – 6:00 PM  |  Wine and Cheese Evening Reception

Agenda & Travel: List


Registration is closed! Thank you to all that registered – we will see you in Rochester!

Registration Closed
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