2020 Rhode Island Food System Summit Program Information


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

URI Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences

8:00 AM       Registration

8:30 AM       Welcoming Remarks

  • Dr. David M. Dooley, President, University of Rhode Island
  • Katharine Flynn, Executive Director, URI Business Engagement Center
  • Kenneth Ayars, Chief of the Division of Agriculture, RI Department of Environmental Management.

8:45 AM       Why Focus on the Intersection of Food Systems & Environmental Resiliency?

This panel will look at how is/will climate risk affect Rhode Island, and how does this relate to our ability to produce food within the state?   Moderated by Kenneth Ayars, Chief, Division of Agriculture, RI Department of Environmental Management.


  • Emily Cole, Climate and Ag Program Manager, American Farmland Trust New England
  • Jeremy Collie, Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
  • Jason McNamee, Chief of Marine Fisheries, Rhode Island
  • Tom Sproul, Associate Professor, URI Environment and Natural Resource Economics

9:30 AM      Keynote Speaker – Navyn Salem, CEO and Founder, Edesia

10:15 AM     Seeding Solutions:  Resiliency to Grow Our Local Food System 

This panel will look at some specific examples of innovative projects happening right now that are helping us to adapt our food system to environmental change and plan for the future of the food system.   Moderated by Diane Lynch, Chair, RI Food Policy Council.


  • Kenny Banalewicz, Specialty and Produce Buyer, Dave’s Marketplace
  • John Nunes, Co-Owner, Newport Vineyards
  • Leo Pollock, Co-Founder and Partner, The Compost Plant
  • Viraj Puri, CEO, Gotham Greens

11:00 AM    Coffee Break

11:15 AM    Building Community Resiliency & Access in the Face of Weather Events/Shocks

This panel will look at issues of access and how we ensure that all communities have access to food during the increasingly frequent weather events we will experience and how supporting resilience within communities will help us withstand these shocks.  Moderated by Pam Rubinoff, URI Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant, URI Graduate School of Oceanography.


  • Leah Bamberger, Director of Sustainability, City of Providence
  • Kerri Connolly, Food Access Program Manager, RI Public Health Institute
  • Bevan Linsley, Executive Director, Aquidneck Community Table
  • Loren Spears, Executive Director, Tomaquag Museum

12:00 PM    Changing Diets and New Entrepreneurship in the Face of Climate Change

Fireside Chat with Kim Anderson, Owner of Plant City and Frohman Anderson, managing partner, EverHope Capital.
Interviewed by Katharine Flynn, Executive Director, URI Business Engagement Center.

12:30 PM    Plant-Based Lunch provided by URI Dining Services

1:30 PM     Afternoon Breakout Sessions

  • Agriculture and land-based food production – Moderated by John Taylor, Assistant Professor of Agroecology, URI Department of Plant Sciences and Entomology
  • Aquaculture and sea-based food production – Moderated by Marta Gomez-Chiarri, Professor/Department Chair, URI Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences

3:00 PM   Closing Remarks

More Information

Read more about our speakers!

Watch the video from the 2020 Food Summit


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Contact Us

Please contact Sharon Pavignano for more information about the Food Summit by sending an email to spavignano@uri.edu.