Ruminate supports food systems with a conscience and fosters smarter connections between good people and good food.

Ripe for Discussion: SOUTHwest

paving the road from farm to plate

— August 11, 2019 —


Northern New Mexico boasts a thriving food economy, with farmers growing exceptional food, bustling farmers markets, and a customer base that includes locals and tourists alike. But the act of moving food from the producers and growers to those who eat it is riddled with obstacles. Join us as we discuss the obstacles and gaps inherent in the system and design solutions that work for our communities.


Let’s meet at Iconik Coffee Roasters (Lupe Location)


Admission: $25 donation

Time: 5pm - 8pm

Date: August 11, 2019

It goes a bit like this...

Our Ripe for Discussion series consists of micro-think tanks where everyday leaders roll up their sleeves and build change through discussions and design-thinking inspired development sessions.

  • First, we start with a contextual framework—an introduction of empirical data and evidence-based context for the session.

  • Next, we hear from community and subject matter experts—learning from their lived and worked experience and expertise.

  • Working in small groups, we define the problem, identify the opportunity, and concept an inventive solution—participants bring their own knowledge and synthesize the content of the session.

  • Afterward, attendees head home with new insights and together, we’ll dig deeper—the work products are made publicly available and the innovation process continues with the formation of a dedicated community working group.




join us and work alongside:


Rebecca Baran Rees
Food / Ag / Sustainability Program Officer, The Santa Fe Community Foundation

Rebecca currently serves as the Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability Program Officer at the Santa Fe Community Foundation and as Project Director for MoGro, a mobile grocery initiative that supports sustainable local food systems and eliminates barriers to affordable healthy food. Rebecca has previously worked in prison reform, monitoring mental and medical health care in California State Prisons, and as a legal advocate for low-income families experiencing homelessness and the loss of their public benefits in New York State. She received a BA from UC Berkeley and a Graduate Degree from Cornell University in city and regional planning with an emphasis on community development and participatory planning.


Andre Kempton
Owner and Baker, Wild Leaven Bakery

Andre Kempton has been baking bread for over 12 years professionally and is the owner and head baker of Wild Leaven Bakery in Taos, NM. He focuses on sourdough breads using local, organically grown grains and ingredients. He studied bread making at Cloud Cliff Bakery in SF, NM. Over the past decade he has developed relationships with farmers and producers in northern New Mexico, and is continuing to work on his part in the local "grain chain", connecting growers with millers, bakers, chefs, and finally the end consumer. He is looking forward to seeing the grain chain continue to grow, connect and become part of the larger bio-regional economy.


Darcy Landis
Local Product Coordinator, Whole Foods Market

Darcy Landis heads up the Whole Foods Market Local Program for the Rocky Mountain Region, which includes curating and on-boarding local products and producers in CO, ID, KS, NM, UT, Kansas City, MO and El Paso, TX. She is part of a team of 3, working full time in the Rocky Mountain region to support and grow Whole Food’s market commitment to local producers. Darcy started with Whole Foods Market in 1999 and has dedicated her professional and personal life to supporting community and the unique flavors each state in the region offers. All local products introduced at Whole Foods Market must meet rigorous quality standards for ingredients and manufacturing processes. Darcy mentors vendors on how to bring their product to market and also assists in packaging, commodities sourcing, processing, and business development. Darcy also oversees the region’s Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP)—a unique low interest, non-collateralized loan program from Whole Foods Market available to producers which allows them to scale their businesses. Loans range from $1,000 – $100,000 and hit a sweet spot in lending circles for producers who often find themselves caught between micro-loan and jumbo-loan options. To date, Whole Foods Market has given over $25,000,000 in loans. The average loan size in the Rocky Mountain region is $54,000. Darcy and her team have given $2.8M in 52 loans to date. Brands like Justin’s Nut Butter, acquired by Hormel, are historic LPLP recipients who hailed from the region. “I believe in food, and I believe in its ability to create community—at the table, in the market, or on the farm. Connection with our food enlivens and inspires us. We demand more of the sources of our food and of ourselves when we are connected to it. We understand the value of what we eat when we know how and by whom it was produced. I want to help our customers make that connection and feel a sense of pride of place when they buy local products from our stores. It really does matter. Bringing the best and brightest forward in our communities gives me deep pride—I know our work helps grow commerce and connection, and deepens our investment in local, sustainable foodsheds.”


Alex Pino
Co-Founder, Revolution Farm

Alex and his partner Rebecca have been vending at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market since 2007. Revolution Farm grows food in harmony with nature. Utilizing water catchment for irrigation of crops, compost made by hand on site, MOrganic growing principles; low-till, bio-intensive, ecological farming. Their farm uses drip irrigation and micro-sprinklers in combination with shade cloth and row cover to produce food year-round. They also utilize water catchment for irrigating, as well as composting and the use of hand tools only.

Alex is an active member of the Northern New Mexico Young Farmers Alliance, which is a chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition.


Nina Yozell-Epstein
Founder, Squash Blossom

Nina Yozell-Epstein is the founder of Squash Blossom Local Food, a social enterprise, serving farmers of and around Northern New Mexico, distributing their produce to restaurants and to the general public in Santa Fe. Nina has worked in food and farming both in her home state of New Mexico, and around the globe. Her experience in small-scale agriculture ranges from growing, to distribution, managing and vending at farmers' markets, and years in the non-profit sector. Nina's passion is to make small-scale, family farming viable for generations to come. She sees the work of Squash Blossom as a way to protect the earth, preserve culture and diversity, strengthen the local economy, and imbue health for all eaters.




Hosted by:


special thanks to our sponsors:

— Advocate —


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