Greatly Expand Our Organic Farmland: Here’s How. An Interview With Dr. Stephen Rivard, Keynote Speaker, Farms, Food & Health Conference

August 30, 2019 |

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen Rivard has accepted our invitation to be featured as a keynote speaker at the Farms, Food & Health Conference, September 26–29, Traverse City. Dr. Rivard began his career as an emergency medicine physician, and after three decades in medicine, began diversifying his investments to focus on health and organic farmland. His interest in organic farming goes beyond profit. It also includes the mission of creating a more socially conscious and sustainable future for his children. Dr. Rivard is now bringing attention to the varied illnesses associated with our current food production system. Specifically, he is concerned about the growth of Type 2 diabetes, food allergies and various cancer incidences that may be associated with our food choices and the way we grow our food.

You began as an emergency room physician, then you ended up helping farmers convert to organic agriculture. Describe your journey.

Back in 2007, one of my dearest friends, David Miller, and I were talking at a gathering. We had been friends a long time, since high school, and we’d roomed together in college. He went into banking, and I went into medicine, and we’d each been working for 30 years or so. During the discussion, he expressed his concern and displeasure with the banking industry, and I expressed my growing concerns about the system of human health care.

He explained that buying farmland is a good investment. Then we began discussing how, if we farmed it organically, we improve the value of the land.

From that discussion, the idea of Iroquois Valley Farmland was formed. We would buy farmland and convert it back to organic. Our mission would be not only to make money on farmland, but also to clean the earth and the water and the food people are eating. Those two concepts—that farmland is a good investment and that converting it to organic farming practices helps the earth and the people—came together in what our business is today, a real estate investment trust (REIT). So instead of investing in the stock market, people can invest in organic farms


Oran Hesterman, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Fair Food Network and author of Fair Food

Geeta Maker-Clark, M.D., Coordinator of Integrative Medicine Education and Director of Culinary Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago

Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Teaching Clinician, Certified Food & Spirit Practitioner Program and Food & Spirit, LLC

Drew Ramsey, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Stephen Rivard, M.D., Co-Founder and Corporate Medical Director, Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT

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