I am excited to announce that the Sustainable Food Trust will be hosting a major conference on food system externalities, between 14th-17th April in San Francisco.

Under the theme of The True Cost of American Food, this conference will explore the ways in which the economics of our present food systems are distorted in ways which result in dishonest food pricing, sending wrong signals to consumers and producers about the true cost of current intensive farming systems, and preventing the uptake of more sustainable alternatives.

Our aim is to bring together all those with an interest in unlocking this major barrier to food system change, in particular those in leadership positions. This is because we believe that these individuals collectively have the capacity to transform the future food systems landscape, firstly by recognizing the scale and extent of the hidden costs of food production, many of which we are already paying for without realizing, and then taking appropriate action.

Please read on to learn more about the conference and key themes and issues we will be exploring at the event.

If you are interested in attending or would like to be kept up to date with developments in the run up to the event, please sign up to the conference mailing list.

The conference

The aim of the conference is to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through wider recognition of their true costs and benefits to the environment, public health and future generations.


The case for fundamental change to our agriculture food processing and distribution systems, away from current damaging practices towards more sustainable alternatives has never been more compelling and urgent. In the aftermath of the climate summit in Paris, most people agree we need change, but at present there is still a better business case for continuing with current approaches than in adopting more sustainable alternatives. Accordingly, our agenda will include:

  • The case for food systems change.
  • The scale and extent of uncosted positive and negative externalities.
  • New research based on individual farm case studies.
  • Policy, economic, regulatory, risk-based investment and market mechanisms for enabling change.
  • 18 parallel workshop sessions, exploring all the key conference themes in greater detail.

The conference agenda will include a stimulating cultural program, including great food, music and field trips to illustrate a mosaic of solutions at work. Further information will be available in January.

Participants and supporters

The event will bring together an international community of individuals and organizations playing leadership roles in the fields of food business, farming, finance and investment, philanthropy, education, research, policy, public health, civil society, communications and the media.

A limited number of tickets will be available to the public but the event will also be live streamed, in order to reach the widest possible audience. A broad range of foundations, food producers, and academics institutions are partnering to support this event, a full list of which will be announced in January 2016. For more information about supporting the conference as an event sponsor or partner please click here.

To secure your place at the event, please follow the link to our Eventbrite page. We have a limited number of earlybird tickets available at a discounted rate, which can be accessed with the promotional code EarlybirdTCAF. Please note that these tickets will need to be booked before February 14th. We have a limited number of discounted places available for students, charities and nonprofit organizations. For more information about assisted and sponsored places, please contact Ellie Athanasis.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest SFT views and news