Farm to Table International Symposium Speaker Profiles

Farm to Table International Symposium Speaker ProfilesThe Farm To Table International Symposium (F2Ti) offers practical knowledge for all those interested in the topics of sourcing, producing, and consuming foods locally. Join in lively discussions on the topic which will feature the brightest thought leaders and leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement. This year’s theme, “The Process,” examines the agricultural-culinary cycle at all levels and will feature its own organic urban farm research project. Registration now open!  Click here to register.

Mary Blackmon

Farmer & CEO
USA Farm Stars, Inc.
Panel Discussion: “Chefs and Farmers: How a Strong Relationship Keeps Customers Coming Back for More and Improves the Bottom Line”

Mary Blackmon will moderate this panel discussion featuring three innovative chefs of farm-to-table restaurants and three local farmers whom they work with to share their stories, insights, and advice. This panel features people who are doing it “right.” This session showcases the chefs who work closely with their farmers and highlights how this relationship can make an impact on the quality of food served, their customers’ loyalty, and their bottom line(s). Everyone who is interested in farm-to-table, whether they are a chef, farmer, or visitor, will be able to see how this behind-the-scenes relationship impacts a restaurant and contributes immensely to its success.

Farm to Table International Symposium Speaker ProfilesRichard Foss

Food Historian & Author
SoFAB Institute
Presentation: “Native Foods in the Commercial Market”
With rare exceptions, the crops grown commercially in the United States are of European and Asian origin, and many of them require extensive use of soil amendments to flourish. The popularity of quinoa and wild rice, and the new interest in ramps and heirloom beans, suggest that there may be other crops that are native to our environment that are ripe for commercialization. Are foods that were staples for Native Americans ripe for the mass market? Are any of these uniquely appropriate to dry-land and wet soil cultivation so that they may be vital in the hotter world that seems to be on the horizon? Can modern processing techniques be used on labor-intensive crops like acorns and saltbush to replace water-hungry grains? Can forage foods be a reliable and stable resource? This presentation offers a look at crops that are environmentally sustainable and may have uniquely low barriers to entry by experienced small growers. It also introduces new local ingredients to chefs and distributors who are in attendance.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s partnerships with the SoFAB Institute and the LSU AgCenter reflect an abundance of knowledge and expertise that will be showcased at F2Ti.
SoFAB documents and celebrates the food and drink of all cultures through exhibits, programming, and a range of media. SoFAB is home to several entities, among them the SoFAB Center for Food Law, Policy & Culture, SoFAB Culinary Library & Archive, the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, Museum of the American Cocktail, and SoFAB Media.
The LSU AgCenter is a part of a nationwide network of research-based extension offices within the land-grant system of universities and provides innovative research, information and education to improve people’s lives in Louisiana and the world.
For more information, please call 504-582-3072 or visit For information on exhibiting, please contact F2Ti Trade Show Sales Manager Will Webre at 504-582-3072 or