Conference Program

This year's conference focused on the way food businesses shape equitable communities.

We're so excited for our 2018 conference. This page will be updated as we finalize our content and schedule, please check back often.

Voices of Labor

Arby’s today employees more people than the coal mining industry. Service work wages are increasingly the face of working class in America putting new pressure on restaurant workers to support the welfare of their workforce. Talk to any food business owner about the struggles of ownership, and the conversation will inevitably turn to labor. Finding it, retaining it, taking care of employees, and finding ways to create jobs that are sustainable.

In this session we will hear three different voices of labor in the food industry and how they make it work: a food business owner trying to make the number work for her employees and herself, a restaurant worker who makes their life in service, and a city official focused on workforce development in the face of our new service economy.


Power Shift: Gender

La Cocina offers a vision for how cities could develop if we had more women minorities leading the way. In this session, we will hear from a number of women leaders and trailblazers, and how they have made decisions to run their business to create a vision of something different than business as usual.

Bottom of the Bill: The Politics of Being Political in Restaurants

Are restaurant menus an acceptable forum for education about policy and politics? We’ll hear from chefs that have added politically-charged information to their menus (ie- providing healthcare to employees, equity in tipping between front and back of the house, gender neutral signs on the bathrooms, immigration, etc) as well as chefs who don’t think it’s a good idea. We’ll learn about how have their customers and staff have reacted as well as how and why they chose their issue areas or chose not to bring.