2019 Women’s Conference Speakers
Rachel Armstrong’s passion for farming goes way back to the days when she proudly proclaimed that she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up. Rachel has lived out that dream in many ways, from working on farms to managing a community garden, starting a catering company that featured local foods and running a nonprofit local foods consulting program. Although she never dreamed of becoming an attorney, when Rachel realized how keenly the farming community needed quality legal information, she felt compelled. Now, Rachel loves resolving the business legal issues that hinder farmers from achieving their goals.
Gianna Banducci has spent eight years as a cooperative owner, developer, board member, and consultant. Her experience has centered around food and agriculture co-ops within California and Oregon. As a founding member of Our Table Cooperative, a multi-stakeholder food and farm co-op located near Portland, Oregon, Gianna dedicated her efforts to marketing, sales, outreach, operations, and organizational structure and policy. Over the years, Gianna has collaborated with small entrepreneurs on organizational visioning, multi-channel marketing strategy, business development, and community engagement. Gianna earned her master’s degree in food culture and communications from l’Università degli studi di Scienze Gastronomiche.
Poppy Davis is a business and policy adviser to agricultural and food and beverage enterprises, and to nonprofits and local governments. She provides farmers and ranchers with training and technical assistance on issues such as business formation, land tenure, credit, taxation, liability, regulatory compliance, and value-added inventory. She works directly with nonprofits, associations, and local governments to help them develop financial and managerial capacity and programs to improve the environment for farming, ranching and healthy food access. She worked eight years at the USDA, most recently as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Previously she was a California CPA with an emphasis in agricultural enterprises and non-profits. She holds a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Food and Agriculture from Drake University Law School, a Masters in Journalism from Georgetown, and a BS in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis.
Sherri Dugger serves as executive director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network and Indiana Farmers Union, as a policy and communications consultant for American Grassfed Association, and a Midwest outreach consultant for Earthjustice. She is also a co-chair of the national Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal coalition. Dugger is a member of the National Agricultural Advisory Council for the Humane Society of the United States, and she re-established the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group in early 2019. Dugger resides on a small farm in Morristown, Indiana, with her husband, Randy.
Lisa Kivirist and her family run Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Wisconsin, completely powered by the wind and sun. Lisa is a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota and is the author of the award-winning book, Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and co-author of Homemade for Sale, Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance with her husband, John Ivanko. She leads the annual event, Soil Sisters: A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life, a project of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and now the largest women farmer run event of its kind in the country. A national advocate for cottage food entrepreneurs, Lisa Kivirist served as a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the state that declared the ban on the sale of home baked goods unconstitutional. She now runs Inn Serendipity Fresh Bakes from her farmstead, offering holiday cookies, Baltic rye bread and lots of treats with the farm’s bumper pumpkin crop.
As Vice President-Lending Manger for American AgCredit, Allison Paap helps provide financing for all types of farmers and ranchers throughout Southern California. With over 19 years of experience with Farm Credit, Allison has been an active participant in the Southern California agricultural community. She currently serves on the Boards of the San Diego County Farm Bureau and the Riverside Food System Alliance, and is a member of the urban agriculture working group for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. In her spare time, Allison enjoys exploring the mountains and beaches of Southern California her husband and two daughters.