The Good Food movement has gained major ground in recent years, driven by fast-rising consumer demand for better and healthier products. One tangible proof of that is in the growing community of investors who are helping Good Food companies start up and grow. One such company is Chicago’s Spiral Sun Ventures, whose tag line is “Investing In Healthy.” Spiral Sun works mainly with small, early-stage companies. The firm also is a friend of FamilyFarmed, and they exhibited at our 2017 Good Food EXPO. More than that, there are Spiral Sun clients who also are FamilyFarmed Good Food Accelerator Fellows or regular exhibitors at our Good Food Expo.
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 EXPO and Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference through the eyes of Luke Saunders of Farmer’s Fridge, the Chicago company whose fresh salad vending machines are changing the way eaters view self-service food options.
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 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.
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.
Jen Rosenthal is one of the most talented urban farmers in Chicago. Now if she could only find a piece of land of her own to continue and expand her Chicago urban farming career.
Chef Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo — which brought fine-dining regional Mexican cuisine to Chicago in 1989 — won the James Beard Foundation 2017 Outstanding Restaurant Award at the organization’s annual ceremony, held Monday night at his hometown’s Lyric Opera House. The award, which Rick received with wife-business partner Deann Bayless sharing the podium, came just one day after the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Spending time with leading Good Food business executives — at a gorgeous suburban Chicago home or a yacht cruise on Lake Michigan — sounds like reason enough to bid on two of the headline prizes in the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration’s online silent auction. But if you have Good Food business interests and want to learn more about this fast-growing sector that is building a better food system for America, how can you pass up the opportunity to learn from (while partying with) three giants of the Good Food industry: Bill Weiland of Presence Marketing, Brandon Barnholt of KeHe Distributors, and Tony Olson of SPINS, the leading data analyst for the natural and organic products industry.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, coming up on Thursday, is Chicago’s must-attend event of the year for investors, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and others who want a heads up about the region’s most promising Good Food businesses and products. And the centerpieces of this world-class networking event are the business pitch event and the Financing Fair.
Seed 2 Growth Ventures — known more familiarly as S2G — is breaking new ground as a Chicago-based venture capital firm providing capital to cutting-edge food, restaurant and agriculture businesses in the Good Food sector. This innovative “Soil to Shelf” investment model is the reason why FamilyFarmed will present S2G Ventures with its 2017 Good Food Business of the Year Award on Thursday, at its annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference at Chicago’s UIC Forum.
The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference this Thursday (March 16) kicks off FamilyFarmed’s 13th Good Food Festival & Conference — the nation’s longest-running annual event focused on locally and sustainably produced food. Here are our five top reasons to attend
The Hatchery, a food business incubator in Chicago, started up just last year with a small space but big plans. Those plans are now taking a giant step toward fruition with $2 million in economic development funding that is being provided by the City of Chicago. The Hatchery also will participate in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference March 17 and 18.
FamilyFarmed’s three-day, 13th annual Good Food Festival & Conference kicks off on Thursday, March 16 at Chicago’s UIC Forum with the annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival — our big public celebration of the rising Good Food movement – is coming up on Saturday, March 18. And along with our typical lineup of great programs and features, we have new big incentive to attend: Admission is free!
Nine competitively selected Fellows are participating in the third year of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator, and they represent a wide range of exciting entrepreneurial ventures: from unique pies and clean meals to tea-infused energy bites and indigenous wild rice cereal, and from locally sourced juices and sparkling fruit tonics to pickled produce and sippable soups.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator held on event to promote applications for its next program session, which runs from November to April. And the four program grads who took part in a panel discussion agreed: Entrepreneurs seeking to scale up their small Good Food business and dramatically expand their networks should apply.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator GFBA is accepting applications through Sept. 19 for its third cohort of competitively selected Fellows in its intensive six-month program, which will run from November to April.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program has released $44 million in available funding this year, and applications must be postmarked by July 1. This is the right time for farmers interested in value-added production to make their move.
Last year, FamilyFarmed welcomed the first-ever James Beard culinary awards to Chicago with an article providing the sweep of Good Food activities in our hometown. So with the JBF Awards coming back to town on May 2, the best second helping we could think of is this rundown of the biggest Good Food developments in Chicagoland over the past year.
Frontera Farmer Foundation is a Chicago-based nonprofit that reflects the commitment of Chef Rick Bayless and his Frontera restaurant group to help local and regional farmers build their businesses and succeed. The foundation presents the lineup of its 2016 grant recipients, and we are very pleased to see many friends and associates of FamilyFarmed.