2021 Speaker List

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Allan Savory

Allan Savory, born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa (University of Natal, BS in Zoology and Botany) pursued an early career as a research biologist and game ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) and later as a farmer and game rancher in Zimbabwe. In the 1960s, he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems and, as a resource management consultant, worked with numerous managers on four continents to develop sustainable solutions.

In 1992, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2009 Savory, Butterfield, and a group of colleagues co-founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado to serve the world through an international network of entrepreneurial innovators and leaders committed to serving their regions with the highest standards of Holistic Management training and implementation support. The Savory Institute is one of 11 finalists in the Virgin Earth Challenge, a $25 million initiative for the successful commercialization of ways of taking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and keeping them out with no countervailing impacts.

Barry Pennell

Barry Pennell serves as the Agricultural Coordinator for ENGAGE, an initiative of the Delta Technical School of the Rockies.  Born the son of a chef and restaurateur then marrying a chef, Barry has been immersed in the food business his whole life. After moving to the Western Slope, Barry and his wife, Megan, started NoFo Food and ran a farm to table catering business, restaurant & granola bar company while creating various cottage food products. Barry possesses a combined twenty plus years of food and beverage knowledge in restaurants, breweries, catering, and manufactured food production.

Ian Mitchell-Innes

Ian has spent his whole life farming/ranching with ruminants on the family ranch in South Africa. In 1993, he learned about Holistic Management. He became a certified educator, and he soon realized to internalize the principals, he needed to teach other people. During this time of implementing Holistic Management principals, he had many successes and failures and started to consult people on the land to help them avoid some of the mistakes he had made. Since handing over the ranching to the next generation, Ian now concentrates on helping other people and on harvesting energy from the land. Ian has been teaching and consulting in many countries across the world and since the arrival of COVID-19, has gone online and been surprised at how well it is working.

Melanie Kirby

Melanie Kirby is a professional beekeeper, interdisciplinary researcher, extension educator, international consultant, and journalist. She has had the blessed opportunities to learn from and work with bees and their keepers from sea to shining sea and across the globe. She began keeping bees as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and over the past 24 years has developed cross-cultural collaborations with numerous organizations including Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, National Young Farmers Coalition, U.S.A.I.D., SlowFood, American Beekeeping Federation, and as a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow.  As a mixed-heritage indigenous and mestizo woman born and raised in Pueblo Indian country, her experiences as a first-generation beekeeper based in the Rocky Mountains has exposed her to the challenges facing emerging professionals of diverse demographics, and the need to help build the bridge between the field and academia.

Richard Perkins

Garnering more than 9 million views on his blog, having over 100,000 subscribers on Youtube and teaching thousands through his live trainings and online courses, Richard Perkins has inspired farmers all over the globe with his pragmatic no-nonsense approach to profitable system design. A recognised leader in the field of regenerative agriculture, he is the co-owner of Europe’s foremost example, Ridgedale Farm, and the author of the widely acclaimed manual Regenerative Agriculture. He has worked professionally in every major climate zone across several continents consulting to projects, farms and industry and is now focused on educating a new generation of farmers who want to restore soils and feed their local communities whilst making a good living from it.

Sara Riegler

Sara is the commercial grower sales representative at High Mowing Organic Seeds, serving growers in Colorado, the Southwest, and California. Sara joined High Mowing in 2019 after graduating from the University of California Davis with a M.S. in International Agricultural Development. Before graduate school, she spent 7 years vegetable farming in New England, first as an apprentice in southern Vermont and later as a manager at two community farms in the Boston area. She has also spent extensive time living and working in Latin America, primarily in Nicaragua, Chile, and Mexico. She is passionate about supporting farmers in their work to cultivate healthy food, viable farms, a just food system, and thriving ecosystems and communities. In addition to her work at High Mowing, Sara enjoys growing food and medicine, making art, organizing for social change, and all manner of outdoor adventures. Sara is committed to food sovereignty and believes deeply in the rights of all people to self-determination and autonomy.

Shawn Gardener

Shawn Gardner is the Director of the ENGAGE Initiative at the Technical College of the Rockies. He develops programs, resources, and relationships to build the entrepreneurial community in Delta County and connect it to regional and statewide ecosystems. While working with communities in Mozambique, Shawn developed a passion for empowering entrepreneurs. Following his community development experience, Shawn got an MBA in International Development and became the Director of an international Christian organization before taking on ENGAGE. Shawn has a passion for strengthening local economies as well as networking people and inspiring them to engage in enterprises that serve both social and economic good.