FamilyFarmed’s Financing Fair Accepting Entrepreneur Applicants

There is no question that the Good Food movement is enjoying rapid growth. Millions of consumers today are seeking more and more food items that are produced locally, sustainably, humanely, and fairly.

To sustain and expand on that growth, though, entrepreneurs and investors must be able to connect and build businesses that expand the supply of Good Food products in local markets.

That has been the longtime goal of FamilyFarmed (the publisher of this website) and its annual Good Food Festival & Conference (which takes place March 19-21 at Chicago’s UIC Forum). That event kicks off on Thursday, March 19 with the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference and its Financing Fair, where innovative farms and food businesses seeking capital can engage with funders, pitch their business plans, and forge new partnerships.

Applications to participate in the Financing Fair are now being accepted. For more information and to access an application, click here. The 2014 Financing Fair participants included Zero Percent, a company that has received considerable attention for its work to reduce food waste and benefit the community by connecting foodservice companies with organizations that provide food for the needy.

Raj Karmani of Zero Percent (right) and Michael Bashaw of Whole Foods Market

Raj Karmani of Zero Percent (right) chats with Michael Bashaw of Whole Foods Market at a Good Food Business Accelerator event on Oct. 1.

“I enjoyed the presentation and the ensuing conversations,” said Raj Karmani, the founder and chief impact officer at Zero Percent. “Put simply, we could not have found a better-fit audience. We immediately had five to six good leads from potential investors and customers, as well as media. What more can you ask for?”

Other 2014 participants included Scrumptious Pantry, whose delicious prepared foods made with heirloom fruits and vegetables are gaining a growing presence on supermarket shelves; and three start-ups that are now members of the first group of Fellows in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator program: Living Water Farms, a year-round greenhouse operation in Strawn, Illinois; Phoenix Soy, which makes tofu products in Chicago; and Spark of the Heart, which makes dried soup and salad mixes in Chicago.

Past Financing Fair participants whose brands are becoming increasingly familiar to local Good Food consumers include FarmedHere, a vertical growing operation in Bedford Park, Illinois, and Tiny but Mighty Popcorn of Shellsburg, Iowa.

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