2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference

Farm & Food Leadership Conference – Historic Downtown McKinney

Farm & Food Leadership Conference Overview

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable farming and local products you need to attend the 2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference. You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about this cause. Furthermore you will be making a difference in the farming industry for the future of local agriculture. This event will give you the opportunity to focus on policies and regulations that affect our farms and local foods. You will be given the tools and information needed to develop sustainable agriculture. This event is not only for farmers, we strongly encourage anyone working in the food industry, local business owners, and nonprofit advocates to attend. Each attendee will gain the knowledge to support and participate in the local and sustainable food movement.

Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance


What To Expect

This is the first time in 11 years that the Food & Farm Conference has been located in North Texas.

-You can expect in depth workshops to help farmers and producers with practical solutions such as how to form a successful co-op and food safety for produce growers.

-You will hear top speakers on a variety of topics including nutrition, sustainable sourcing at restaurants and retailers, food waste, water policy, farm support programs, GMO’s, food freedom, and more.

-Fred Kirschenmann, President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be speaking over multiple topics.

-You will have the opportunity to network with fellow individuals that share the same passions.

-You will have the option to attend an on-farm dinner, prepared by Harvest Seasonal Kitchen from food grown by local farmers.

Register Here


Sunday, Sept. 24: Pre-Conference Workshops | Heard Natural Science Museum

Monday – Times subject to change

9 a.m.: Welcome

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Keynote by Fred Kirschenmann

10:30-noon: Session 1:

  • Activism at the local level
  • Climate change: Looking past the “cause debate” to build resilient systems
  • Access to government resources for small farmers
  • Co-op Q&A

Noon-1:30: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:30-2:45 p.m.: Session 2

  • Effective legislative advocacy
  • Seed diversity
  • Growing sustainable grains
  • Farmers’ Market Q&A

3:15-4:30 p.m.: Session 3

  • Farm Bill, corporate mergers, and the news from DC
  • Activating your microbiota for health
  • How do we sustain Farm-to-Table?
  • Food Policy Board networking session

6 p.m.: Farm-to-Table Dinner at Pure Land Organic Farm, McKinney, Texas


Tuesday – Times subject to change

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.: Plenary session with Alan Lewis

9:35 – 10:35 a.m.: Session 1

  • GMO Basics
  • Wild foods: A guide to foraging
  • Opportunities for young farmers and military veterans

10:55 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.: Session 2

  • The latest news and developments with GMOs
  • Protecting pollinators
  • Farmer’s markets … what’s working and what’s not
  • Fermentation demonstration

1:210 – 1:40: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:40-3:10 p.m.: Session 3

  • Water and the future of our food
  • Food access: how do we get good food to more people?
  • Revenue streams for small farmers
  • Cooking demonstration

3:30-4:45 p.m. Session 4

  • Texas legislative update
  • Home gardening
  • The outlook for local brewers & distillers

4:45 p.m.: Closing

Harvest/Ricks Team

An Interview With Rick Wells: Harvest – Ricks Chophouse – Water Boy Farms


The first time Rick remembers being interested in the service industry was at the age of 12 after his parents bought a restaurant. With Rick’s father being a football coach, he says he would have followed in his father’s footsteps if it weren’t for the family owned restaurant. After graduating college Rick started working with Bennigans and Sambuca opening up restaurants all across the country. He was educated on how to evaluate markets and project success for new locations.

Water Boy Garden

In 2003 Rick and his wife decided to buy some land in Lucas, build a home, and settle down. They wanted to give their children the opportunity to grow up on a farm looking up at the stars at night in awe of this beautiful place we call home. This farm is now Water Boy Farms, which supplies Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse with fruits, vegetables, and honey. In 2004 Rick was thinking about making a job change from the corporate world to something more community involved. After doing a little homework he decided McKinney was going to be the center of his universe, and he started Rick’s Chophouse.

Inside Ricks Chophouse

Rick’s Chophouse was the first restaurant he opened in McKinney, and after receiving the philanthropist of the year award in 2012 Rick was humbled and wanted to continue investing in his community. One statistic that stuck with him was “for every dollar you spend in a community $0.70 stays local.” He had a new goal in mind focused on the community and surrounding area. Rick wanted to fully stock his restaurants with locally grown products; this is where Harvest comes into the picture. After taking two years to evaluate and plan, Harvest was opened and in full swing, using local materials and recycled products to build this one of a kind restaurant.

Inside Harvest

-Current and Future Business

With around 40 farms to stock Harvest including Ricks personal Water Boy Farms, Harvest is known for its fresh and organic ingredients. The farm is run by Master Gardener and Executive Chef Andrea Shackelford, along with employees of Rick’s Chophouse and Harvest as a team effort to serve fresh local ingredients.

Water Boy Farm Vegetables

Each employee at Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse is put through an extensive hiring and training process in both restaurants! The restaurants run on “a one heart culture” meaning that each person is bigger than himself or herself and apart of a community that invests in each other. Rick has a very strong passion for this community!

Water Boy Honey

The two things Rick loves most are education and food, and with 1 school already and another on the way and 2 restaurants it is obvious that the Wells family has a bright outlook on the future of McKinney. Rick has so much in store for this community that goes far beyond his lifetime. The work Rick is doing right now will last for 100’s of years to come in this beautiful North Texas Town.

Water Boy Farms


Local Yocal – Farm Fresh Products & Butcher

Local Yocal Supplies Farm To Market Freshness Centered Around Customer Needs!

It all started when Local Yocal owner/operator Matt Hamilton made a decision to ditch the corporate world and start a beef company. After starting Geniuses Beef Hamilton soon realized that processors around this area didn’t have the correct licensing for resale. The Processors that did obtain the appropriate licensing were backed up and very hard to work with. This is how Local Yocal came to be, a lack of farm fresh meats and a desire to serve customers! With the processing side of the operation now taking place in-house, Hamilton had confidence in the product he was selling.


Starting off at local farmers markets Hamilton met an array of families selling great products just like him. This inspired Hamilton to pursue the retail side of the business in order to house great products locally made by great people! You can the store front in Historic Downtown McKinney stocked with fresh meat and high-quality hand made products.

Fresh Meat On Display

Hamilton now sells a farm fresh meat out of the store front as well as to whole sale local restaurants in McKinney and the surrounding area. A few of these restaurants include Harvest, The Pub McKinney, Square Burger, and Al Biernat’s Steak House.


Hamilton has dedicated a great deal of time to establish relationships with each supplier he features in his store. When you walk into Local Yocal you can be sure that you’re receiving the best products in Dallas!


McKinney Wine Merchant – Historic Downtown

Collin County’s Most Inspired and Intrepid Selection of Wine!

It’s time to ditch the Franzia and get over to McKinney Wine Merchant! This locally owned and operated merchant is housing some of the most delicious and exotic wines McKinney has to offer. Andy Doyle, a former U.S. Marine, is the owner/operator and has over 25 years of experience in the wine industry. Opening the doors April 5, 2011, you will still find Andy behind the counter and available for questions if you choose to visit the local downtown shop! His desire to accommodate each and every customer far outshines the corporate mindset to sell the most expensive bottle. Andy will personally help you find the perfect pairing for any event, dinner, or day by the pool.



-About McKinney Wine Merchant

McKinney Wine Merchant carries about 200 wines from six continents. Prices range from $9.00 to $300. McKinney Wine Merchant will deliver wine in McKinney and the surrounding 2 miles. They also offer a Wine-of-the-Month Club for an affordable surprise 12 times per year (every month). The Wine Merchant does a great job of finding the hidden treasures whether it’s a $10 Chardonnay you fell in love with on your honeymoon, or a $100 Cabernet from a tiny vineyard that few have ever heard of. There are also a few beers and accessories available in the store as well.

“I’m dedicated to the preservation of serious winemaking, and the enjoyment of serious wine. You should make every effort to buy all of your wine at McKinney Wine Merchant, forever.” -Andy Doyle


Palace Barber Shop

The Palace Barbershop – 125 Years of Business

The Palace History

Opening its doors for business in 1892, The Palace Barber Shop was started by two gentlemen named Lewis and Hinnant. Proving to be a sound investment, the barber shop operates under the same name and in the same location to this day! The Palace Barber Shop has served as a central location for men in the McKinney area to gather and tell the tales of the town. Up until this 1970’s barber shops served as private establishments for males only to exchange information, news, and stories in the privacy of male company. More often than not men would take a daily trip to the barber shop to get a hot straight shave and a shoe shine while talking with the men around town.

the palace 1932

In 1927 Bruce Luster started shining shoes in the barber shop at the age of 16. Dedicated to perfection and committed to excellence Mr. Luster became a well-known man in McKinney. Spending over 50 years shining shoes at The Palace Barber Shop, Mr. Luster knew just about everyone and everything about them. February 23, 1996, was officially declared Bruce Luster Day by Mayor John E. Gay, he has also been recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for his “dedication to the welfare of others”.


In 1978 the current owner Mr. Pearson took a risk and hired a young woman by the name of Linda Marshall. This was in an effort to expand and gain a larger clientele due to salon’s taking business away from the barber shop. After the initial introduction into the barber shop, and outlasting the grumpy old timers, things settled down and Linda became a part of the Palace family. The shop continued to be successful and in 2007 Mr. Pearson decided to sell the Palace to Linda. She became the 5th and only woman to own the Palace!

Linda Marshall Palace Owner

The Palace Now

Linda has worked hard to make the barber shop what it is today. She has done work to the interior along with exposing the hidden original brick wall behind the red chairs where gentlemen wait to get their hair cut.

exposed wall

The original wood floors didn’t cut health regulation, so Linda installed the checkered tile floor to keep the old time feel of a 1900’s barbershop as well. There has been a lot of change in this little barbershop as well as in Historic Downtown McKinney, but the quality and conversations held in this place can never be replicated. This is a place where everyone is welcome and a smile is required to leave.

Palace Haircut

Frios Gourmet Pops – Downtown McKinney

Frios Pops Makes Every Day a Good Day!
Fresh, frozen, fun best describes the gourmet pops served at Frios. Each pop is handmade with the freshest ingredients and sweetened with organic cane sugar. The team has established outstanding relationships with the farmers that supply them with the dairy and fruit used in the pops. This relationship ensures the utmost quality for every pop.
Frios Blueberry Cheesecake
Each popsicle is frozen to perfection with a fusion of different flavors that will burst in your mouth. There is currently one Frios in the Dallas area and they are located in the Historic Downtown of McKinney. They also cater events with a cart or a portable freezer for all of your outside activities with a large variety of flavors to choose from!
Frios Pops Portable
“The best part of our job is the reward of watching people smile as they enjoy our product. We’ve seen moms soothe their teething baby’s gums with a fresh strawberry pop; we’ve seen a teenage couple on their first date laughing and enjoying a pop in front of our store; we’ve been honored to be part of a newly married couple reception as the crowd toasts a life of happiness with a pop raised high. We’ve also enjoyed the company of a senior citizen who is instantly reminded of childhood summers after eating one of our muscadine pops.” – Frios Team
Frios CTC

playful Logo

Playful Gaming Headquarters Downtown McKinney

New Playful Gaming Studio Located in Historic Downtown McKinney

Playful Corp, founded in 2012, is a privately held game development studio in McKinney, TX. They specialize in computer and mobile games but will be releasing a game for X-Box this fall. This team has shipped games such as Words with Friends, the Age of Empires series, Halo Wars, Orcs Must Die!, and Hero Academy. Playful has also developed Creativerse launched May 8th, 2017, and Super Lucky’s Tale projected to launch November 2017.

After scoring an economic incentive deal from McKinney, the company plans to build a new headquarters in Historic Downtown. The headquarters will be a 53,000-square-foot office building on the corner of Davis Street and McDonald Street. The new headquarters will be adjacent to former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman Robert Shaw’s mix-use development. Robert’s mix-use development will be taking the place of former Collin County Courthouse.


With partnerships like Microsoft, GameStop, and Sony Playful brings a young and energetic feel to Historic Downtown McKinney as well as high-quality jobs. Having an entertainment company such as Playful in Downtown McKinney diversifies the business landscape and adds to the authenticity of McKinney!

outside book gallery

The Book Gallery – Vintage Bookstore

Old Fashioned Book Gallery in Downtown McKinney
The Book Gallery is celebrating its 19th year of business, located in Historical Downtown McKinney. The Book Gallery specializes in rare and antiquarian books. Walking in the front doors, you feel as if you have time traveled into the 1900’s.
Inside The Book Gallery
An old-fashioned radio plays from behind the checkout desk, where Jim Parker sits and reads his personal favorites. This bookstore brings back forgotten memories like a long lost picture suddenly appearing so vividly as you hold the once forgotten memory in the palm of your hands. Jim has been collecting book for over 40 years now! After retiring from the corporate world he decided to make it a full-time career!
This business decision also got him a few brownie points with his wife Dee, as he cleared out some room in the house. The once book-filled rooms have been emptied of their literature and have now been overrun by humans! As for Jim, He continues to spend his days helping customers find the long lost character they long to rediscover in that childhood book.

Chapel Hill Model Luxury Patio Home

Chapel Hill – Luxury Patio Homes in Secluded Location!

Last Chance to buy a New Home Within Walking Distance of McKinney’s Downtown Square and City Park.  Only a Few Inventory Homes Left.  Move Fast and Call Today. (214) 901-5020 – www.adolphushomes.com
DT McKinney Square

Chapel Hill has a beautiful selection of luxury patio homes centered in Collin County. Woods, parks, and trails pleasantly surround this private community.

Chapel Hill is also just minutes from shopping, dining, and entertainment, a true hidden gem in the DFW area.

It’s no coincidence that Collin County is constantly growing. With an increase of 100 residents a day Collin County’s population is expected to hit 3 million by the year 2040! The community is located in McKinney, a city of 122,000 residents and the seat of Collin County. McKinney is a city large enough to offer residents access to major medical, educational, and cultural services. As well as small enough to feature a historic downtown, secluded parks, and local businesses.

Luxury Patio Homes Kitchen

The public schools in this area also make a statement for Collin County, ranking second in the nation according to Forbes. Because education is one of a homebuyer’s highest priorities, it’s also one of the most important considerations when deciding where to create a new community.

Luxury Patio Homes Living Room

This isolated neighborhood allows busy adults to enjoy manicured open spaces without having to maintain it themselves. Chapel Hill is designed to give residents a private living experience while being conveniently located next to life’s necessities.

Luxury Patio Homes Bathroom

Truck Manufacturer Coming to McKinney

PACCAR INC. Truck Manufacturer Coming to McKinney

Fortune 500 truck manufacturing company PACCAR (Nasdaq: PCAR) has decided to open a new facility in McKinney for it’s Dynacraft division. The deal should be approaching finalization in the next couple of weeks. The manufacturing facility will be built on the corner of Wilmeth Road and Redbud Boulevard and estimated to be 130,000 square feet! The McKinney Economic Development Corporation have reached an agreement with PACCAR stating that there $3.3 million in economic incentives including $1.1 million land transfer for opening the McKinney location. PACCAR will make a capital investment of over $20 million and 200 jobs over the next six years giving McKinney the opportunity to grow along with its increasing population. Dynacraft manufactures trucks and over 25,000 parts for Kenworth, Peterbilt, and DAF nameplates. Dynacraft’s headquarters is located in Algona, Washington along with a 150,000 square foot facility in Louisville.

peterbilt truckKenworth truck