The Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag Awards event was held virtually on December 15. The event celebrated this year’s 25 finalists, included an inspiring keynote address, and unveiled this year’s 10 award winners!

The program and celebration included:

  • Welcome address
  • Celebration of 25 finalists
  • Keynote address by Robyn O’Brien of rePlant Capital
  • Announcement of our 2021 winners
  • Program close
  • Networking

About Our Keynote Speaker

Robyn O’Brien | Vice President | rePlant Capital

Robyn O’Brien is the Vice President of rePlant Capital, an impact investment firm, deploying integrated capital from soil to shelf in order to reverse climate change. The rePlant team is investing in privately held, deep impact opportunities, while supporting American farmers. Robyn was a founding team member of of AIM/Invesco’s first hedge fund of $100+ million and a team member on their $20 billion Constellation Fund. She was an advisor to Paul Hawken’s “Drawdown”(published in April 2017) and has advised startups, banks and multinationals, while working with global CEOs and management teams in the food industry. Robyn is also the founder of Do Good, a strategic advisory firm, and AllergyKids Foundation, which serves the 1 in 3 children with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism. Random House published Robyn’s book, The Unhealthy Truth, in 2009, and her TEDx talk has been viewed by millions and translated into multiple languages. She received her BA from Washington and Lee University, her MBA from Rice University on a full scholarship and also received a Fulbright fellowship. She is named after a farmer in New Zealand.

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Watch the recap of the Top 10 Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag Awards ceremony

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Revisit the 2020 Event

On August 17-18, 2020, an inspiring community of food system leaders gathered for learning, discussion, and the unveiling of the inaugural Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag award winners. Lively panel discussions and inspiring talks by Colorado Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg, social activist/author/farmer Leah Penniman (who is also one of our 2020 winners!), and World Food Prize winner Dr. Ratan Lal made for an unforgettable two-day event!

Watch the recap of the Top 20 Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag Awards ceremony







Our evening programming includes keynote presentations and a panel discussion with some exceptional leaders from across food and agriculture!



Become a Sponsor

Sponsors of the Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag event are the companies and organizations leading food systems change that addresses the challenges of today and those on the horizon. Sponsors are uniquely positioned to reach a this group of emerging decision-makers in the sector. Packages offer value and flexibility for diverse types of businesses. We are focused on providing your business the best event opportunity possible surrounded by marketing and branding solutions customized to your goals.

Our sponsorship opportunities offer:

  • Increased visibility and awareness among a unique community of leaders
  • Media coverage before, during, and after the event
  • Branding during the virtual event and on the Replay
  • Opportunity to showcase your products
  • Inclusion in the conference materials sent to our mailing list
  • And other excellent custom benefits

For information on our exclusive sponsorship packages, please contact Sarah at or call 1-970-392-4434.

A special thank you to our generous sponsors:


Soil Works LLC is the manufacturer and innovator of agricultural products and services which are designed to address soil compaction, biological diversity, and plant nutrition. Soil Works LLC utilizes a three-factor approach to implementing biological farming practices into conventional and organic production systems. Our product line began with Genesis Soil Rite (GSR) Calcium which was specifically formulated to address what is often the #1 limiting factor to successful agricultural production, compaction.
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The 2020 Urban Food Systems Symposium will be held virtually. Our goal is to bring together a national and international audience of academic and research-oriented professionals to share and gain knowledge on urban food systems and the role they play in global food security. This symposium includes knowledge on: urban agricultural production, local food systems distribution, climate change, nutrition, urban farmer education, urban ag policy, planning and development, food access and justice, and food sovereignty.
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SLM Partners is an asset manager that acquires and manages rural land on behalf of investors. It seeks to scale up regenerative farming and forestry systems that deliver both financial returns and positive environmental impacts. SLM Partners is the manager of two existing funds: the SLM Australia Livestock Fund, which has acquired over 1 million acres of grazing land in Australia for grass-fed beef cattle production, and the SLM Silva Fund, a new sustainable forestry fund in Ireland. From its New York office, the firm is developing a new investment strategy that will accelerate the transition to organic farming in the US, with a focus on organic grains.
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For information on our exclusive sponsorship packages, please contact or call 1-970-392-4434




There are a limited number of table top exhibit spaces at the Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag event which offer the ideal platform for engaging our audience with your company, products, and services.

Exhibitors get:

  • Skirted 6’x30′ table (or equivalent space)
  • Prime location located in the foyer immediately outside the session room where all networking breaks will be held
  • Listing in the conference program
  • Logo included on the Emerging Leaders in Food & Ag website
  • One conference registration




This all-day tour will begin bright and early in the morning and includes multiple stops along the food and agriculture supply chain in the region. Visit a working ranch, a company leading innovation in supply chain logistics, and an organic distillery – each of which will provide an inside perspective on the day-to-day operations, as well as insight into how the operations work towards a sustainable future for the food sector. Coffee will be available prior to departure and lunch will be provided during the tour.

The bus will leave from and return to our host hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Denver.

Register for the Tour

Tour stops include:

Flying B Bar Ranch

Flying B Bar Ranch is located about 7 miles north of Strasburg, Colorado, along the Kiowa Creek and is owned and operated by the Buchanan Family – Brad, Margaret, Grace and Will; along with Ranch Manager Jonathan Tuller. The Jonathan leads a team of inspiring regenerative farmers and ranchers, all looking to innovate and lead conversations around improving the process of creating food for the community. The team farms and grazes over 3 1/2 miles of the creek and it provides beautiful green, native grasses that the cattle flourish on. The ranch is located along the creek valley and is surrounded by gentle hills that slope up out of the valley to the east and to the west where the land transitions into mostly wheat fields and CRP grass. Some call it “a little piece of heaven”. We agree.


FoodMaven sells high-quality local, oversupplied and imperfect food from distributors, manufacturers and producers to restaurants and institutional kitchens at a significant discount. The company leverages an efficient online marketplace, big data optimization technology, and an agile logistics model. They then make sure it gets sold, donated or sent to environmentally conscious alternatives. In short, FoodMaven is good for profits, good for people and good for the planet.

Rising Sun Distillery

In 2015, Rising Sun Distillery was opened by Dawn and Sol Richardson who decided to quit their day jobs as a High School Teacher and Software Engineer to pursue a dream. After getting into the distilling business the family stories of great grandfathers distilling in the mines and a still being buried on family property in the mid-west were shared. Rising Sun Distillery is a certified organic grain to glass distillery. We pride ourselves on supporting independent farmers and sourcing our ingredients from farms that are within 300 miles of our distillery. Our company philosophy is to make the highest quality spirits. We want our products to reflect the flavors of the region and to have fun while contributing to our community.

Stay tuned as we finalize our last stop!