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The Oldways Whole Grains Council holds a conference every other year, bringing together scientists, chefs, manufacturers, health professionals, foodservice operators, distributors and media who share an interest in whole grains.



The conference will be held at the Seattle Renaissance Hotel, where we have a discounted room block. Once you complete registration, you will be directed to a page about lodging. Please contact Kelly Toups ( with any questions.

program highlights

Our conference program features thought leaders from throughout the food world, delivering cutting-edge information that you’ll be able to use immediately in your job, whether you’re working in manufacturing, foodservice, or health promotion. 

Sunday, November 4 
4:00pm-5:45pm, followed by an opening reception

Whole Grains: The Best Kept Culinary Secret

  • Andrea Geary, Senior Editor, Cook’s Illustrated Magazine/America’s Test Kitchen

Whole Grain Trends

  • Melissa Abbott, Vice President – Hartman Retainer Services & Culinary Insights, Hartman Group

The Oldways of Whole Grains

  • Coleen Donnelly, Corporate Chef, K-12/Education Segment, InHarvest
  • Mike Holleman, Director of Culinary & Marketing, InHarvest

Monday, November 5

Get to Know the Gatekeeper: Whole Grains in Distribution

  • Valerie Hoover, Manager of Health & Wellness, Sysco

Bowls are the New Burger: Whole Grains in Foodservice Go Mainstream

  • Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, Sweetgreen

Terroir and Local Grain Economies

  • Laura Lewis, Director, Washington State University Food Systems. Chair, Cascadia Grains Conference
  • Steve Lyon, Senior Scientific Assistant, The Bread Lab at Washington State University
  • Tom Hunton, President, Camas Country Mill, Surecrop Farm Services, Hunton’s Farm
  • Amy Halloran, Author, The New Breadbasket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf

Pick Up the Quinoa, Put Down the Guilt?

  • Sergio Nuñez de Arco, co-founder, CEO, and Quinoa Specialist, Andean Naturals

Gut & Grain Microbes: New Pathways to Health

  • Erin McKenney, Postdoctoral Researcher, NC State University

Does Processing Grains Impact Nutrition?

  • Kevin Miller, Principal Scientist, General Mills

Whole Grains: The Next “Protein” for Weight Loss?

  • Marissa McCormick, Nutrition Scientist, General Mills

Why You Might Want to Rethink that Grain-Free or Gluten-Free Diet

  • Kathleen Zelman, Director of Nutrition, WebMD

The Changing Nutrition Landscape: Insights from History and Culture

  • Emily Contois, Assistant Professor, University of Tulsa

School Lunch Successes

  • Sonya Barnes, Chief, Nutrition And Technical Assistance Branch, USDA FNS Child Nutrition Programs
  • Tim Vázquez, Team Lead, School Program Branch, USDA FNS Child Nutrition Programs
  • Brian Jones, Food Service Director, St. Labre Indian School

Tuesday, November 6
9:00am-12:15pm, followed by a grab-and-go lunch

A New Trend is Sprouting: Sprouted Grains 101

  • Carlee Kelly, Nutrition & Product Innovation, Co-founder, Lettuce Eat

Whole Grains to Your Door Step: How Meal Kits are Breaking Down the Barriers to Entry

  • Kaley Todd, Registered Dietitian, Sun Basket

Whole Grains Go Global

  • Bruna Tedesco, Marketing, Bimbo

Feeding the World with Whole Grains

  • Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Our audience will also include writers and correspondents for publications including: Bon Appetit, Civil Eats, Chatelaine, Cook’s Illustrated, the Cooking Lab, Cooking Light,  Coastal Living, Diabetes Dialogue, Food and Wine, FoodNavigator, Forbes, Gluten-Free Living, Good Housekeeping, the Los Angeles Times, Milling & Baking News/Food Business News, Progressive Grocer, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, SHAPE magazine, Southern Living, the Star Tribune, Today’s Dietitian, and WebMD.

Special note

The final day of the conference (Tuesday, November 6, 2018) coincides with midterm elections around the country. If you are traveling for the conference and will not be able to make it to your polling place to vote, don’t forget to make arrangements to vote via absentee ballot. You can learn more about your state’s voting policies here

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Project Sponsors


Event Sponsors

Bob's Red Mill's Logo
General Mills' Logo
The Sorghum Checkoff's logo

Benefactor Sponsors

InHarvest's company logo
Everspring Farms logo

Conference Pricing


Early Bird Rate (ends Aug. 1, 2018)

Aug. 2, 2018 — Nov. 4, 2018
WGC Members (1st person) FREE FREE
WGC Members (additional registrants) $345 $395
Sponsors FREE according to sponsorship level FREE according to sponsorship level
RDs, Health Professionals, Government $395 $445
**RDs, Health, Gov — Sun Nov 4 only $75 $125
**RDs, Health, Gov — Mon Nov 5 only  $225 $275
**RDs, Health, Gov — Tues Nov 6 only $75 $125
**RDs, Health, Gov — Sun Nov 4 + Mon Nov 5 $300 $350
**RDs, Health, Gov — Mon Nov 5 + Tues Nov 6 $310 $360
Local Growers and Food Non-Profits $370 $420
Standard Registration $645 $695
Student Rate $100 $150
Button 2 FAQ
Button 3 sponsors

I was impressed by the number of thoughtful and in-depth presentations throughout the conference. Almost every single talk I attended was well prepared and highly informative, laying out important issues for the foodservice industry, but equally interesting for anyone wanting to learn more.

– S.G., journalist

All of the speakers were excellent and very applicable to foodservice specifically. The demos were a good addition too, and helped keep things interesting and were helpful when thinking about prep ideas for foodservice operators. – T.S., manufacturer/sponsor

What I liked best was the variety of speakers that created a well-rounded exploration of the topic. I also liked being able to connect with the sponsors at the tables and tasting all the grains in the conference meals.

 – K.N., speaker

I liked that it was a different kind of conference. There was a lot of interesting information and I brought back several ideas and hopefully ways to incorporate different grains, but also ways to market to people so that they will try it.

 – B.P., foodservice dietitian

All of our conferences feature top-notch speakers, delicious whole grain foods, lively audiences and plenty of networking, plus great opportunities for sponsors to showcase their whole grain creativity.



Access Past Conference Proceedings

You can access a wealth of materials — presentations, reports, handouts, photos, even videos — from our previous whole grains conferences by clicking here