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Food for Thought Conference

  • Gwinnett Tech College (map)

A Conference For Producers, Market Managers and Farmers Market Enthusiasts

December 1 & 2, 2016 | Gwinnett Technical College

What Is it About?

A conference for producers, market managers and market enthusiasts. The Food for Thought Conference is an interactive, two-day conference that will propel the vision for your agriculture business forward. It is designed to equip and empower those in the sustainable agriculture community through a host of workshops and demonstrations, created with you in mind!

Four Workshop Tracks

Keys to Success: Creating a Sustainable Agribusiness

You know your product well, but have you created a marketing plan? Have you established a brand that represents you well? If not, ‘Keys to Success’ has you covered! Whether you are a farmer, beekeeper or soap maker, the key to making your business sustainable is within your reach.  Find Out More

Check Your Pulse: Farm, Community and Self-Care

Your work thrives when you do. It is important to give proper attention to the health of your body, your business and your community. Find Out More

Engaging Your Community: Building Relationships that Last

Improve your impact! Strengthen and build relationships that inspire change.  Find Out More

Beyond the Farm: The Social Aspect of Agriculture

Culture, society and demographics play a large role in shaping our perceptions about food and the goods that we produce. Discover the role that sociology, history and culture play in food production and distribution.   Find Out More

Keynote Speakers

Derreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo was born in Kampala, Uganda just before General Idi Amin Dada seized power in a military coup. The new regime became known for its brutality, and today Idi Amin is one of history’s most notorious dictators. As violence spread through the country and civil war erupted, Kayongo and his family became refugees in Kenya. He later immigrated to America to attend university. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur and human rights innovator.

Inspired by his experiences as a refugee in Kenya, and knowing that in-crisis communities are often without any soap at all, Kayongo and his wife Sarah eventually created a life-changing international aid organization that collects discarded soap from hotels, reprocesses it and distributes it to vulnerable populations worldwide. Though most well known as a 2011 CNN Hero and founder of the Global Soap Project, Kayongo is a renowned expert in environmental sustainability and global health, as well as the current CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2016 the Georgia State Senate passed a resolution recognizing Kayongo’s incredible journey from refugee to CEO.

Jeff Manley

Jeff Manley
General Manager
The Rock Ranch
The Rock, Georgia

You might say that Jeff Manley was born to work on a farm. He’s had 25 successful years of raising cattle and producing high-quality grass-fed, grain-finished beef at The Rock Ranch in The Rock, Georgia. Some might say Jeff was born to play on the farm because within the past quarter-century, he has also turned The Rock Ranch into one of the finest agritourism destinations in the world. The 1,500 acre farm doesn’t just feature cows and a corn maze. There are more than 35 fun farm attractions at The Rock Ranch. But according to Jeff, he lives to work in the business of people and families.
Jeff’s journey into discovering his passion began when he was 12 years old when he met the late S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, in a drug store where Jeff cleaned shelves for five dollars a week. Truett became a mentor for young Jeff and upon eventually graduating from Berry College; Truett asked Jeff if he would like to manage his new farm property in The Rock, Georgia. To Jeff, it just felt right and he has been at The Rock Ranch ever since.