Everyone eats, and what you eat matters — which is why we at FamilyFarmed are proud of our work growing the availability of Good Food. In the coming weeks, we’ll share stories of the local food and farm entrepreneurs whose mission to produce Good Food has been served by FamilyFarmed, thanks to contributions from Good Foodies like you. We ask for your support so these programs thrive and we can continue to develop new and innovative Good Food initiatives in 2018.
FamilyFarmed’s annual Giving campaign is under way, and to highlight the work we do to build a better food system, we are running a series of profiles of great businesses that have participated in our programs. Today we look at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator through the eyes of Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies, who graduated in April in the program’s 3rd cohort of entrepreneur Fellows.
FamilyFarmed CEO Jim Slama celebrates his birthday is Thursday; Communications Manager Bob Benenson’s birthday is Tuesday. Now two things that FamilyFarmed and Scorpios have in common is that they are 1) passionate and 2) highly competitive. So Bob threw down the gauntlet and challenged Jim to the first-ever FamilyFarmed Birthday Fundraising Faceoff. Read here about how you can make donations to Team Jim or Team Bob… all proceeds go to FamilyFarmed’s effort to build a better food system.
Whole Foods Market has been a longtime partner in FamilyFarmed’s effort to build a better food system. So when we saw that Sustainable Food News had published a piece on Whole Foods’ top 10 trends for 2018, we knew it would be share-worthy.
Family Farmed is pleased to announce the lineup of entrepreneurs who will be participating in our 2017-18 Good Food Accelerator program. The fourth cohort since the Accelerator was launched in 2014, these nine exciting early-stage businesses were competitively selected from a pool of excellent applicants.
When you go to a supermarket, everything seems so orderly, stocked neatly on shelves, in bins and in coolers. But behind the scenes, getting food from farm to factory to grocery store fridge — a process known as supply chain management — can be complicated and messy. While some of the bigger food businesses handle supply chain internally, many others, including smaller and start-up businesses turn to the expertise of consultants with years of experience. One of these is Will Madden, co-founder of Chicago-based Whole Brain Consulting. FamilyFarmed interview Will about his business’ origins, why food businesses need contract manufacturers, the biggest supply chain challenges… and why he made the highest bid for a CEO yacht cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan that was a silent auction prize at last April’s Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration.
FamilyFarmed is getting close to announcing the roster of competitively selected Fellows who will participate (from November to April) in the fourth cohort of its Good Food Accelerator. So as a warmup, we’re recalling the nine great business from the third cohort that graduated last spring.
FamilyFarmed’s most recent Urban Ag Bus Tour tour took place on Saturday, Oct. 14. Now, the weather is the one thing you can’t control when you plan an outdoor event, and it rained, and rained, and rained. But nothing will stay a local food advocate from making the rounds of urban farms. People piled into the bus, and thoroughly enjoyed the visits to Garfield Produce, Chicago Patchwork Farms and the rooftop farm at McCormick Place, the city’s (and nation’s) biggest convention center. Giant puddles be damned.
Distill Ventures is the first business accelerator in the distilled spirits industry. FamilyFarmed in 2014 created the Good Food Accelerator, first business accelerator in the United States focused specifically on food produced locally and sustainably. So we were delighted to attend a lecture at the Independent Spirits Expo by Gonzalo De La Pezuela, Distill Ventures’ North America Managing Director, that focused on the entrepreneur’s founder’s story. He made a strong case for how telling the story of how your business came about and what passions drive you help you make the connection with a customer base… or as he frequently described it, your “tribe.”
Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest producer of poultry and other meats, says sustainability will play a major role in the company’s strategic planning. Now a campaign, called Clean It Up, Tyson!, has emerged to press the corporation to live up to that commitment.
Gus Schumacher was a leader in the Good Food movement who died Sept. 24 at age 77. He made his greatest mark as a pioneering innovator in efforts to improve access to healthy local food for lower-income and older Americans — as a public official and as a co-founder of Wholesome Wave, a Connecticut-based non-profit best known for its program to double the dollar amount of healthy food that individuals can purchase using federal food assistance benefits. Wholesome Wave CEO Michel Nischan wrote the remembrance highlighting Gus Schumacher’s contributions that is published here.
“Just within the past 10 years, this industry has skyrocketed. Everything around this industry has completely changed. The consumers who shop this industry have changed. It’s no longer just the crunchy hipsters in Boulder.” That is how Anubhav (Anu) Goel described the fast-rising demand for Good Food at the start of his data-driven keynote speech at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator Application Celebration at 1871 Chicago last week.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator (GFA) staged its annual Application Celebration and Networking Event at Chicago’s 1871 business incubator on Tuesday. It included a panel of four GFA graduates moderated by Scott Mandell, a program “supermentor” who founded hugely successful Enjoy Life Foods. And when Scott asked the alums about the biggest change in their businesses fostered by the Accelerator, the response by Mitch Wasserman of Full Belly Foods drew chuckles from the full-house audience.
Farm dinners have become a popular facet of “agritourism,” with farms working with chefs to bring “farm to table” dining back to the source. Dozens are held each year just in the Chicago food region alone. But most of the participating farms are well out in the country, requiring a day trip or an overnight stay. That location is what makes The Talking Farm’s dinner on Sept. 10 distinctive. The farm is just outside Chicago’s city limits and a short Sunday drive for most residents of the metropolitan area.
Ashley Rossi is the founder of OrgaNums, a Chicago-area company that uses a cold-pressed (High Pressure Pasteurized) process to create healthy, nutritious baby food from organic ingredients. Ashley’s business benefited from its participation in the Financing Fair at FamilyFarmed’s 2015 Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. In this contributed piece, she describes the challenges she has faced getting retail store placement for her brand in this new market segment.
“Farm to table” dining may have become commonplace on Chicago’s restaurant menus. But Chef Paul Virant was in the vanguard of the movement just 13 years when he opened Vie restaurant in the suburb of Western Springs. And he is all about giving back to the community. Within a recent three-day span, Paul did a cooking demo with the Gardeneers audience for schoolchildren in Englewood, then was the honoree for Angelic Organics Learning Center at their annual dinner.
FamilyFarmed invites rising food entrepreneurs to apply for a Fellowship in our Good Food Accelerator (GFA). The application period begins today (Aug. 14), and we will have scheduled a GFA Application Celebration and Networking Event on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 1871 in the Merchandise Mart.
Those involved in the Good Food movement believe that if we are going to build a better food system, we need to start promoting healthier habits among our youngest eaters. Since 2005, Chicago nonprofit Purple Asparagus has put that belief to action, bringing its engaging food literacy program to children kindergarten to 2nd grade in selected Chicago schools.
Pilot Light is the chef-driven program that helps Chicago Public Schools integrate food and nutrition education into their students’ overall curriculum. And the nonprofit organization is prepping for its biggest expansion yet, adding eight schools to its lineup for a total of 14 around the city of Chicago.
We at FamilyFarmed conduct most of our work to build a better food system from our base in the city of Chicago. So we relish the opportunities to get into the country and visit the farmers who are the heart and soul of the Good Food movement — such as our trip Monday (July 24) to two of our woman-farmer friends in Pecatonica, a farm town 100 miles to the west with a whole lot of progressive thinking about Good Food growing.