Keynotes and Plenary Session Speakers

2016 Summit Keynote Speakers: WLFN is very excited to host Winona LaDuke and Darrell Smith as the Keynote Speakers for the 2016 Summit.

Winona LaDuke

Keynote Presentation Titled :“Re-Indiginizing Agriculture : Returning to the Land for the Times Ahead”

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Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the White Earth Reservations, and is the mother of three children.

Winona is a farmer, grandmother, economist and writer. Her work is primarily in the restoration of Anishinaabe  agricultural traditions, Slow Food, transitional economics- from a fossil fuel economy. Directing Honor the Earth,, a national Native foundation, she works on pipeline threats to the north country, and transitional economics. Author of seven books, LaDuke was a two time vice presidential candidate ( l996 and 2000) , and with White Earth Land Recovery Project, won the international Slow Food award for biodiversity, in the work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering.  Her most recent award, The Eagle Spirit award , was granted by the American Indian Film Institute for her longstanding work to protect Mother Earth.

Darrell Smith 

Keynote Presentation Titled, “Fertile Ground: Digging Deeper into the Soils that Feed Our Local Foods”

Darrell Smith’s business and non-profit work has centered around the belief that soil is thDarrellinChapelHill2015e common denominator in local food and our society as a whole.  Darrell owned a natural landscaping business in Milwaukee for 10 years, where he pioneered organic soil building techniques and then transferred that experience to working in sales and consulting to farmers through Purple Cow Organics (Middleton and Oconomowoc, WI). He has served on the board of Wellspring Organic Farm and Education Center since 2003, where he has been involved in expanding the farm’s production while maintaining and improving soil fertility levels in fields that are repeatedly cropped.  Darrell brings a passion for soil restoration that focuses on biological-mineral interactions to improve productivity for long term soil health.


Plenary Session Speaker Tera Johnson

Presentation Titled: “The Good Food Transformation”

terapic_DNP8186-2Tera Johnson  is a socially conscious serial entrepreneur whose mission is to create the next generation of environmentally and economically sustainable food and farming businesses.As the founder of teraswhey, Tera took an idea for a company that would manufacture organic and goat whey proteins, raised $14M in investor and bank funds, built a unique environmentally sustainable manufacturing plant, launched a national brand, and brought in a professional management team that successfully transitioned the company’s ownership to a public company.

Johnson has received numerous awards for her innovative contributions in the business world. In 2014, Madison Magazine recognized her on their M-List of leading Innovators in the city. Her business was named the 2010 Innovator of the Year by Wisconsin Business Development Corporation. She received the Dairy Business Innovation Center’s Innovation Zone Award in 2010 and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network named her company a Wisconsin Company to Watch. Her building received the 2009 gold medal in the Green Building category from the Associated Builders and Contractors of WI. Johnson was named one of the first Harvest Award winner by the Glynwood Center, an organization helping communities in the Northeast United States save farming.

Johnson holds a master’s degree in applied economics from the University of Wisconsin –Madison and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  Johnson believes when individuals and companies take a stand for something bigger than themselves, they start a ripple that creates extraordinary change in the world.