Speakers & Workshops


The FULL conference is 12 workshops:
1. Social Media for Food, Farm & Beverages on Instagram 101
2. Hosting Farm-to-Table & Cider Events
3. Offering On-Site Classes & Public Workshops
4. Rallying Your Resources for Group, Corporate & Motorcoach Business
5. Creating Farm, Winery & Craft Beverage Overnight Packages
6. Basics of Agritourism, Legal, Liability and Insurance Risks
7. Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategy
8. Capturing the Eco-Traveler & Making Green On-site Improvements
9. Social Media and Storytelling for Destinations
10. Craft Beverage Event & Trail Marketing
11. Adding Lodging to Enhance the Agritourism Experience
12. Hosting Tastings, Tours & Winery Events

1. Social Media for Food, Farm & Beverages 
by Amelia Tarpey & Kathleen Ernsting, Publicity & Social Media Managers GrowNYC - Greenmarket
Dig into the nuances of engaging your audience via social media with a focus on Instagram: from promotional posts to stories, learn how to effectively educate and communicate from your farm business to the world. This presentation will cover how to set up your business profile, how to capture great shots of your food, beverage, & agricultural products, hashtags and how to use them, growing your followership, plus some social media dos and don’ts on Instagram. Workshop Length: 28 Minutes

About the Speakers: For the past three years, Amelia Tarpey (left) has worked with GrowNYC, first as a Market Manager overseeing Greenmarkets in Manhattan and Brooklyn and now as the Publicity Manager at the Union Square Greenmarket. Creating community around food and helping people understand where it comes from, who grows it, and how it's grown has been central to her career and her focus throughout her time with GrowNYC. Prior to moving to New York, Amelia served with FoodCorps in Washington, D.C. where she managed a school garden and taught preK through 5th grade about gardening, food systems, and nutrition. Amelia studied public health and dance at Beloit College, receiving her B.A. in interdisciplinary health studies in 2014. Throughout her education and career, she has worked and volunteered at numerous farms, farmers markets, and community gardens. She’s from the small Midwestern town of Yellow Springs, OH and she makes a mean strawberry shortcake. Kathleen Ernsting (above right) comes from a background of Hospitality Management and Sustainable Food Production. She has worked at GrowNYC Greenmarkets all over Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, including Promotions Manager at Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket before joining the Union Square Publicity team (finding time to garden and farm as much as possible when it fits!). She finds great satisfaction in fostering the connection between the people who grow food and those who eat it; through conversations, programming at markets, or social media campaigns.
2. Hosting Farm-to-Table & Cider Events
by Elizabeth Ryan, Farmer & Cidermaker

Stone Ridge Orchard, Breezy Hill Orchard & Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider
It's important to diversify your income, whether you're a farm or a cider maker. Our speaker will use her own farms and operations as a case studies and will cover different tours, festivals and pop-up events that have supplemented less than stellar crop years or economic downturns. She'll aso cover logistics and best practices for on site hospitality and share her tips on shifting sails to meet market demands. Workshop Length: 27 minutes

About the Speaker:
Elizabeth Ryan, producer of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, is a renowned fruit grower and cider maker. Elizabeth bought Breezy Hill Orchard in Dutchess County in 1984 and has since expanded to operate two more orchards. What started out as a roadside fruit stand selling fresh apples has evolved into the area’s most unique purveyor of local foods grown using sustainable farming practices.
Stone Ridge Orchard is a 114-acre ecologically managed orchard in the Hudson Valley, which produces Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider. The cidery is based at two beloved Hudson Valley farms, Breezy Hill Orchard and Stone Ridge Orchard, where over 100 varieties of apples are produced. They have just planted a dedicated hard cider orchard with a number of traditional cider apples. Elizabeth has a degree in Pomology from Cornell University and she has also studied cider making in Somerset and Hereford in England. She is one of the founding GrowNYC Greenmarket farmers, received the Cornucopia award from Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and was a Smithsonian Fellow.
3. Offering On-Site Classes & Public Workshops
by Cheryl Rogowski, Farmer, Rogowski Farm
& Black Dirt Catering
Learn how to take your passion and turn it into a side stream of revenue at on site. Whether you like to cook or bake, or make herb gardens in quirky containers, you'll see how this speaker monetized her passion to offer on-site classes at her working farm and thereby increased visits and more clients for her catering business. Workshop Length: 30 Minutes

About the Speaker: Cheryl began farming in 1983 when the Onion Harvest Festival was reestablished and she was crowned Princess.
In 1984, she received 5,000 acres from her family and started growing broom corn, sunflowers, zinnias, chili peppers and ground cherries. Starting in 1998, she grew a community-supported agriculture program from 12 to 156 members, and since then has sold at farmers' markets in the New York City and Hudson Valley Regions. Cheryl participates in El Puente ("The Bridge") CSA for low-income people and English lessons for migrant workers. In addition to mentoring Future Farmers of America students, she helps with "Just Food", and "The Tastemakers" annual food festivals. In 2004, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award "Genius Grant." Since then, she's focused on building her "Black Dirt" catering business and running on-farm classes and workshops for the public on Rogowski Farm.
4. Rallying Your Resources for Group, Corporate & Motorcoach Business
by Jennifer Ackerson, President, ALON Marketing
Are you group-ready? Working with groups is different than working with walk in visitors. There are techniques and how-to’s that can make your business run seamlessly when working with groups. Even better, there are opportunities to garner repeat business and increase your revenue by diversifying your audience of customers. Join us to get invaluable insights about effectively harnessing the group market. Workshop Length: 29 minutes

About the Speaker:
Jennifer Ackerson, President of ALON Marketing Group, is a 25+ year veteran of the travel industry with direct experience working in all tourism business categories. Jennifer has an excellent understanding of group visitation and the tourism dynamic. This expertise results in a high level of successful strategic tourism business development for both tourism suppliers and destinations in the domestic and international group markets. Jennifer’s merits include certification as a group travel industry specialist (CTIS) with the American Bus Association and Purdue University and holds a certification as a Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) in New York State and New York City. In 2000, Jennifer founded ALON Marketing Group, a tourism consultancy, which cultivates tourism businesses and destinations for effective business development, marketing, partnerships, and operational initiatives in their businesses. ALON Marketing Group also produces successful tourism sales, marketing, and promotional programs to assist tourism businesses and destinations to build relationships and increase ROI in their marketing efforts. Jennifer also customizes and delivers tourism training programs for destinations and businesses while spearheading the ‘Steps to Success’ national tourism training program in partnership with International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) and the ‘Tourism Ready’ tourism training program for NYC & Company, the official DMO of New York City.
5. Creating Farm, Winery & Craft Beverage Overnight Packages by Debbie Meritsky, Innkeeper, The Black Sheep Inn
Add customers, revenue and value to your agritourism business through packaging. You will get first-hand knowledge of how and why to create exciting agritourism packages as Debbie walks you through all of the steps. Using real-life examples, you will learn what to do and benefit from many helpful hints along the way. Best of all, you can create your packages with little, or no upfront cost, and quickly experience the direct benefit to your business. Workshop Length: 45 Minutes

About the Speaker:
As a graduate of New England Culinary Institute and professional chef and business owner for 35 years, Debbie has never lost her passion for well-prepared food. From the creation of the first private chef service in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to owning and operating a bed and breakfast for the last 13 years, she has cultivated a working knowledge of the local food movement and continues to promote her small family farms to locals and tourists alike. Through her experience, Debbie has developed extensive knowledge in the creation of travel packages, which allowed her to further utilize her relationships within the agritourism community. Debbie's business location affords her an extensive selection of agricultural and craft beverage products and experiences to offer guests. As a past Executive Board Member of Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, a regional marketing agency, Debbie possesses a firm grasp of the challenges and opportunities existing in today’s tourism landscape. With all of the knowledge gained in the years as an innkeeper, tourism promoter and local food advocate, she has begun to share her processes and methodologies to both domestic and international tourism partners through www.weteachtourism.com. Her mission is to help you reach your goals and improve your bottom line while offering your guests the best possible experiences.
6. Basics of Agritourism Legal, Liability & Insurance Risks
by Cari Rincker, Esq., Rincker Law, PLLC
Whether its assessing your corporate structure, tax issues and estate planning or minimizing your liability risks, you'll walk away with actionable steps and some free and low-cost tips you can immediately put into place. The workshop will also give an overview of  general releases and types of insurance. You'll feel prepared to tackle any challenge and will breath a sign of relief knowing where you need to shore up to protect yourself, your family and your business. Workshop Length: 60 Minutes

About the Speaker:
Cari Rincker is the owner of Rincker Law, PLLC, a national general practice law firm concentrating in food and agriculture law with offices in New York and Illinois. She is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and Washington D.C. She is a prolific writer and blogger on a myriad of food and agriculture law topics and has been recognized as an author of a Top 100 Blawg from the American Bar Association. She is the co-author of “Field Manual: Legal Guide for New York Farmers & Food Entrepreneurs.” Cari’s passion for agriculture issues is deeply rooted. She grew up on a seedstock Simmental cattle operation in Shelbyville, Illinois where she spent significant time working on her family’s farm. Cari went on to receive her Associate in Agriculture Science from Lake Land College and Bachelors of Science from Texas A & M University, where she had a successful career livestock judging at the collegiate level. Due to her passion for agriculture law and policy, Cari decided to complete her Juris Doctor from Pace University, School of Law, in White Plains, New York. At Pace, Cari completed certificates in both Environmental Law and International Law. Cari continues to have her boots planted firmly in agriculture –she enjoys judging livestock shows around the country. She recently purchased a small horse farm near Champaign, Illinois and is growing her own farming operation with cattle, goats and chickens. Cari is the Past-Chair of the American Bar Association’s General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division’s Agriculture Law Committee and is the Past-President and Founding Member of New York Agri-Women. Cari is a recognized leader in the agriculture industry and the recipient of many awards including the the Vision Award from American Agri-Women, and the“Excellence in Agriculture Law Award” in 2014 from the American Agriculture Law Association.

7. Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategy
Donna Haynes, Assistant Director of Promotional Partnerships
Metro-North Railroad

As more travelers opt for car-less travel to save money, time and the planet, destinations need to position themselves to capitalize on the green travel movement. Learn how to help your visitors connect the dots and why your address and a google map are not enough
. Our speaker will touch on creating travel packages for customer value, discount rail packages, rail & tour offers, hotel packages and marketing channels for promoting the packages. Find out how to lead visitors to your doorstep with travel information that leaves a breadcrumb trail at all of your touch points. Workshop Length: 27 Minutes

About the Speaker:
Between her former marketing and promotions positions at Dutchess County Tourism, at New York City Transit and her current position at Metro-North Railroad, Donna has nearly 20 years of experience with promotional partnership and leisure travel marketing in the public transportation industry. Tourism marketing, corporate sponsorship and sales promotions are just a few of the areas that are woven into her day to day professional arena. Her specialties include: relationship building and partnership development, packaging, marketing campaign planning and placement, leisure travel marketing to support destination and transportation business success.

8. Capturing the Eco-Traveler & Making Green Improvements
Jennifer Woofter, CEO, Strategic Sustainability Consulting

The "Capturing the Eco-Tourism Market" workshop will focus on the key trends driving travel towards more environmentally conscious choices and how tourism businesses can most effectively position themselves to capture this growing niche. You’ll learn hot trends in eco-tourism that you can apply right away, real-life examples of hotels, wineries, farms and cities that are using eco-tourism features to engage and delight their guests and practical ways to green your facilities and destiantions and reduce your environmental footprint.
Workshop Length: 43 Minutes

About the Speaker:
Jennifer Woofter is the founder and president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC). In this role she draws upon more than a decade of experience in the fields of organizational sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing. She has worked with more than 50 clients on projects including Green Auditing, Sustainability Planning, Carbon Footprint Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement, Training and Facilitation, and Sustainability Reporting. She currently manages the SSC Consultant Network, an association of more than 650 professionals with expertise in virtually every area of sustainability. Jennifer has authored a number of sustainability-related articles and reports and speaks regularly at conferences. Jennifer has been featured in a variety of publications, including a profile article in the Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Inc. Magazine. Her leadership helped SSC become a B Corporation and an EPA EnergyStar Partner. Prior to starting SSC, Jennifer worked for Calvert Group, the nation’s largest family of socially responsible mutual funds. She spearheaded the firm’s transparency and disclosure initiative, and filed more than a dozen shareholder resolutions, achieving some of the highest shareholder votes for sustainability initiatives ever recorded. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon, and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Tech. She also holds a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, where she studied under Karl-Henrik Robert, founder of The Natural Step. She's currently running for public office as a delegate in the State of Virginia.

9. Social Media and Storytelling for Destinations
Danielle Gaebel, Owner, True Food Collective

Up the strength of your social media game through storytelling. This workshop, which focuses on promoting destinations, increases your skill level and will help you reach and engage your target customers. Learn how to create a strategy that builds awareness and drives traffic while streamlining the process for proper in-house engagements. Our speaker uses specific case studies to show low cost and effective ways you can leverage content creation from your customers and fans.  Workshop Length: 56 Minutes

About the Speaker:
Danielle is a Capricorn on a mission to help farm, food and lifestyle brands succeed using the power of digital media.
For the past 22 years, she's had her hand in marketing - working with businesses big and small, across all platforms and genres. Working in print, radio and now digital, she's seen marketing shift like never before and at such a rapid speed. Reading and researching, she keeps up on trends and best practices for her clients, including Sullivan Catskills Tourism, Narrowsburg Farmer's Market and Whitestag Farm. She's currently offering a social media intensive online class online called Super Fine Social.

10. Craft Beverage Event & Trail Marketing - Linda Pierro, President, Flint Media & Co-founder Hudson Valley Wine Magazine

Get motivated with "Empowering the 4 “P”s – 10 Steps to Crafting Successful Events and Programs." Learn how to make your bright ideas better with tips and insights to develop events and special programs around wine and craft beverage trails and destinations that not only attract your ideal audiences but sponsors, exhibitors and media. Workshop Length: 37 Minutes

About the Speaker: The creative fuse at the center of Flint Media Inc. is the forward-thinking Linda Pierro, an award-winning design and marketing professional who transformed her love for the Hudson Valley into a dynamic and ground-breaking career in the region. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Linda honed her skills in New York City, where she launched her own marketing and design agency early in her career; she shaped some of the most beloved and respected global brands-including Tumi, Mercedes Benz, and JP Morgan Chase-as brand strategist and creative director. In 2012, Linda officially moved Flint Media Inc. to the Hudson Valley but keeps her ties to the city, drawing upon the resources, vitality, and talent in both locations to create marketing tools and programs for clients in the tourism, and craft beverage industries. Among her many clients, she has worked with Hudson Valley Tourism and the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Linda's passion for wine and the Hudson Valley led to the creation of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine and The Ultimate Hudson Valley Cider + Apple Spirits Guide, which she co-founded in 2008 and 2016, respectively. Under her leadership as managing editor and content developer, the publications have been recognized with the Hermes Creative Award, an American Graphic Design Award, and a Book Industries Guild award. Linda is also the design director of Flint Mine Press, which publishes books by local authors about the Hudson Valley's art, wine, and culture. Among the successful titles are Grapes of the Hudson Valley: And Other Cool Climate Regions of the United States and Canada (2015), and the Story of Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery (2014). In addition, Linda is a co-founder of the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition. Flint Media Inc. is a certified Woman Business Enterprise (M/WBE) in New York State and New York City.
11. Adding Lodging to Enhance the Agritourism Experience
Erica Frenay,
Farmer, Shelterbelt Farm
Get up to speed on all the considerations when adding overnight accommodations to a site via the story of our speaker's foray into hosting overnight guests in two furnished glamping tents. By covering topics including resource assessment, regulations and zoning, pricing, insurance, guest amenities, hosting platforms, and more, you'll leave feeling more equipped to make a decision about whether adding overnight lodging is the right decision for you. Workshop Length: 35 Minutes

About the Speaker: Erica Frenay is the owner/operator of Shelterbelt Farm, a small farm near Ithaca, NY producing grass-fed lamb and beef, pastured eggs, fruits and berries, baby ginger, and raw honey. In 2018 she and her husband also began welcoming overnight guests to stay on their farm in glamping tents. Erica graduated from Cornell and has a background in natural resources, botany, Holistic Management, and permaculture. She serves on the board of the American Solar Grazing Association, promoting the use of sheep to graze large solar arrays. For the past 14 years, she has been working for the Cornell Small Farms Program, developing resources and networks to support beginning farmers. Currently Erica manages their portfolio of 2 dozen online courses for farmers, and serves as the Cornell Small Program's livestock specialist. She is also a mentor for a train-the-trainer program in Whole Farm Planning, and is an instructor for various courses with the Groundswell Center for Food and Farming.
12. Hosting Tastings, Tours & Winery Events
Chelsea Snider,
Food Programming & Events Consultant, Tousey Winery
From weddings to concerts to private tastings, our speaker will walk you through the do's and don'ts of event planning --  specifically for wineries. Everything from the ambiance and mood to the decor and lighting will help set the tone for a successful event that your guests will be sure to remember. As they say, it's all in the details ... but knowing what to anticipate and what to have a Plan B, C & D for can make or break an event!  Workshop Length: 32 Minutes

About the Speaker: As a freelance Food Programming and Events Consultant, Chelsea is serving clients in the Catskills/Hudson Valley to up their hospitality game, boost sales, and enable their space to host big occasions and intimate gatherings. Chelsea will help you identify ways to express your business identity through creating memorable, joyful and educational experiences.


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