Detailed Program Schedule

Wednesday, June 9

12:30 pm Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

Growing a Revolution cuts through debates about conventional and organic farming, showing how a soil health revolution could bring farmland soil back to life. Visiting farms in the industrialized and developing worlds the author finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides a profitable recipe to rebuild soil organic matter, cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while using far less fossil fuel, fertilizer and pesticide. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, the book shows how regenerative practices are good for farmers, consumers, and the environment, and can help feed us all, cool the planet and restore life to the land.

David Montgomery, MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington

1:00 pm The Healing Power of Nutrition: How Diet Can Reshape the Gut Microbiome and Influence the Balance between Health and Disease

Improved hygiene leading to a reduced exposure to microorganisms have been implicated as one possible cause for the recent ‘epidemic’ of chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) in industrialized countries. That is the essence of the hygiene hypothesis that argues that rising incidence of CID may be, at least in part, the result of lifestyle and environmental changes that have made us too “clean” for our own good. The gut microbiome consists of more than 100 trillion microorganisms, most of which are bacteria. It has been just recently recognized that there is a close bidirectional interaction between gut microbiome and our immune system, and this cross-talk is highly influential in shaping the host gut immune system function and, ultimately, shifting genetic predisposition to clinical outcome. This observation led to a revisitation of the possible causes of CID epidemics, suggesting a key pathogenic role of microbiome composition. While factors such as modality of deliver, neonatal feeding regimens, use of antibiotics, infections can influence microbiota composition, diet is by far the most important variable affecting gut ecosystem. Therefore, re-shaping gut microbiota through dietary manipulation is becoming an extremely active area of research for the prevention or treatment of a multitude of CID.

  • Alessio Fasano, Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children – Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA – U.S.A. and European Biomedical Research Institute Salerno (EBRIS) Salerno – Italy
  • Chef Alexander Ong, Director of Culinary Excellence, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

1:45 pm Seeing Further: From Grannies Carrots to Food Nanotechnology

This presentation will show how the latest advances in food nanotechnology can be used to turn common fruits and vegetables into disease-fighting functional foods. It will follow the fate of health-promoting ingredients from inside carrots to inside your eyes, and show how this nano-food may help to stop you going blind.

David Julian McClements, Distinguished Professor at the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts

2:15 pm Today’s Food Conversation: A Closer Look at Comforting Claims, Consumer Demands, Marketing Madness, and Sound Science

Everyone in the food business knows our food conversations are becoming more interesting, intense, and challenging. We’re striving for health and wellness. We’re passionate about local and artisan. We’re interested in plant-based, anxious about antibiotics, and striving for sustainable.

This presentation takes a deep-dive into commonly used marketing terms related to food, agriculture, and nutrition—from fresh and healthy to processed, natural, and sustainable—providing insights into the science that supports or refutes claims, reviewing federal regulations that govern marketing, and shedding light on consumer understanding of these terms.
Attendees will walk away with a better understanding not only of the terms but also how to engage in more meaningful conversations about complex issues that are as affected by research and science as they are by values and emotion.

Amy Myrdal Miller, President of Farmer’s Daughter® Consulting, Inc., Dietitian, Author

2:45 pm Food for thought: Climate, CO2 and nutrition

Dr. Ziska will discuss his work over the last 30 years related to understanding the role of climate and rising carbon dioxide on plant chemistry. He will review some of his nutritional work (protein, minerals and vitamins) on rice, one of the world’s most important food crops as well as some initial work on food allergens. Dr. Ziska will close by presenting some alternative means to avoid nutritional deficits, and what we can do to help in the future.

Dr. Lewis Ziska, Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University, Irving Medical Center

3:15 pm Innovation in a Changed World

What will innovation look like in a post-pandemic world? In this session, discover what Gen Z really wants as they head back to campuses and look for the new, exciting options they can only get from foodservice and campus dining programs. We’ll look at the data behind young consumers and what they want from chefs today, their changing definition of comfort food, and how health trends like the plant-based movement and the demand for functonal foods continue to evolve.

Mike Kostyo, Trendologist and Senior Managing Editor at Datassential

3:45 pm Campus Leaders Panel Session

A President, a Vice Chancellor of Finance Administration and a Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life, will talk about a newly transformed institution post-pandemic from enrollment, campus experience, student success, health & wellness, sustainability, finance, teaching and learning to ED&I.

  • Matthew Whelan, President at Caldwell University
  • Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Andrew Mangels, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Moderator: Marie Molde, Client Solutions, Datassential

4:45 pm Culinary Workshops

De la milpa a la mesa (From the cornfield to the table)
Since pre-columbian times the ancient people from Mexico had based their diet in what they grow in one plot of land, a multi-cultivar called “The MIlpa” where the basics grow, corn, beans, squashes, chiles , tomatoes, tomatillos, wild edible greens, etc. with all this coming from the soil along with the incredible knowledge of the nixtamalization we have had all the components and nutrients needed for sustenance and nourishment. From the mexican garden to the table.

Iliana de la Vega, Chef Owner, El Naranjo Restaurant

“Hand to Mouth” Plant-Forward, Sustainable & Bold Flavors you can eat on the Go
Comfort foods remain at the center of the plate – or as you’ll learn here – at the center anything we can wrap our hands around! As we emerge from a year of ‘stay in and take out’ our guests and customers will continue to crave comfort, and authentic global flavors. It’s our role to provide healthful choices that are bold, satisfying and bring ethnic flavors to new heights. Join Chef Steven Petusevsky as he demonstrates a selection of “Hand to Mouth” items, plant-forward burgers, snacks, and side salads topped with a global array of sweet, savory, and global piquant flavour-enhancing dressings, and salsas.

Steven Petusevsky Chef and Culinary Innovator