2018 Good Food EXPO Success In Words and Pictures

by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed

Another great Good Food EXPO — the 14th annual rendition of FamilyFarmed’s biggest annual event — is in the books.
Thanks to all the participants — speakers, panelists, industry experts, farmers, food product makers, buyers, sellers, investors, and more than 5,000 members of the public — who presented, exhibited, did demos and conducted workshops on March 23 and 24 at Chicago’s UIC Forum. You made the EXPO a huge success!
And, of course, heartfelt thanks to our Good Food EXPO sponsors.
Thought Leadership
The Good Food EXPO’s dozens of panel discussions — each featuring top experts in their field — kicked off with a panel discussion on the City of Chicago’s recently enacted Good Food Purchasing Policy…

… followed byan Opening Symposium on regenerative agriculture and the debate over a “regenerative organic” label.
There were two panels on FamilyFarmed’s important, new Good Food Is Good Medicine program.
This year, FamilyFarmed brought two of its nationally renowned farmer training workshop programs to Chicago as part of the EXPO: one on On-Farm Food Safety and the federal Food Safety Modernization Act and the other on Wholesale Success, the hub of our training programs — led by longtime organic farmer Atina Diffley — that have provided instruction and manuals to more than 14,500 farmers in 43 states.

Good Food trade buyers connected with farmers and food producers at our Industry Networking and Meet the Buyers Reception.
And here are scenes from some of our other great panels.
Award-Winning Participants
Congratulations to Arran Stephens of Nature’s Path, an organic cereal pioneer, who accepted our Good Food Business of the Year Award…
… and Yoram Shanan of Sandbox Organics in Grayslake, Illinois, selected by the Routes to Farm member organization as the Beginning Farmer of the Year.

Speaking of award winners, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Chefs At Play Stage sparkled with them… culinary giants such as Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde, our Good Food Chef of the Year and winner of the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes…

Rick Bayless of Frontera, popularizer of regional Mexican cuisine and pioneer of local sourcing, whose multiple James Beard Awards include 2017 Restaurant of the Year (for Topolobampo)…

…. And Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia and Proxi, winner of the 2018 Jean Banchet Award for Best Chef.

Love to Our Exhibitors and Buyers
Yet even with all the amazing talent among our presenters, our exhibitors — many of the best farm and food businesses in the Midwest — are the heart and soul of the Good Food EXPO. Thanks to all of our attendees who visited the exhibitors, sampled their food… and bought some to take home with them!
Coming Attractions
FamilyFarmed has two big events coming up this spring… tickets are on sale!
Tuesday, June 19: The annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference

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