N.J. Food System Symposium

Galloway, N.J.  _ Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin and N.J. Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher will be among the speakers at the inaugural N.J. State of the Food System Symposium virtual event to be held from 1-4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3.

Organizer Jeanine Cava, a founder of the N.J. Food Democracy Collaborative, Stockton University, said the goal of the symposium is to learn about shared and interconnected food system challenges.

The event is free and open to the public All sessions are online. The schedule is:

Welcome: 1-1:15 p.m. Overview of NJ FDC: Why a Food System Approach? 

Jeanine Cava, NJ Food Democracy Collaborative, Stockton University

Session One: (1:20 - 2:00 p.m.) Governance and Legislative Progress on Food System Challenges 

  • Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin
  • Senator Bob Smith
  • Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira, N.J. Department of Human Services
  • Secretary Douglas Fisher, N.J. Department of Agriculture

Session Two (2 - 2:20 p.m.): State Food Charters and Action Plans: Best Practices and Case Study of Michigan’s Good Food Charter.

Session Three: (2:30 - 3:00 p.m.) Food System Partner “Lightning Round” Updates: 2021 Successes, How to Scale them and Framing the Challenges Ahead.


  • Gary Sondermeyer, Bayshore Family of Companies, NJ Climate Change Alliance 
  • Adele LaTourette, Hunger Free New Jersey 
  • Tara Colton, N.J. Economic Development Authority
  • Brian Schilling,Rutgers Cooperative Extension 
  • Ashley Kerr, N.J. Farm BureauMandy Coriston, N.J. Home Bakers Association 

Session Four: (3-3:45 p.m.) Roundtable: Envisioning an Economically Inclusive and Anti-Racist Food System for New Jersey.


  • Tobias Fox, Newark Science and Sustainability 
  • Lana Mustafa, Montclair Community Farm 
  • Claudia Urdanivia, Green Acre Community Garden
  • Kathia Ramirez, CATA Farmworkers
  • Cynthia Hall, Freehaven Farms
  • Josie Gonsalves, Public Square 

The virtual event ends with comments on “Framing of the Challenges Ahead: Addressing vulnerabilities while reducing climate risk and adapting to change” with Sara Elnakib, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, NJFDC Network Facilitation Team member.

The goal at the NJ Food Democracy Collaborative is to bring people together across food system sectors and the state to strengthen relationships and create space for new collaborations to arise.

There are also two pre-symposium networking sessions starting at 11 a.m.

For more information and to register go to Stockton.edu/food-democracy-collaborative.

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205