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.
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
Chicago’s Pleasant House pubs is best known for its flaky, savory Royal Pies. Owners Art and Chelsea Jackson are Fellows in the current cohort of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator and will participate in our Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. Their restaurant, located just a mile away, will be open during the three-day Good Food Festival & Conference.
“Good Food movement” and “Local Food movement” are virtually synonymous to a lot of people. Yet the rising tide of consumer demand for Good Food is prompting more and more retailers, wholesalers and chefs to think globally while they act locally. This issue will be examined by the “Does Good Food Need to Be Local” panel at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on March 16.
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.
Urban agriculture in on the rise, in many cases providing jobs, opportunities and access to Good Food for residents of underserved communities. But the farm Jen Rosenthal manages on Chicago’s South Side has particular social significance: It is on a site once occupied by apartment towers of The Robert Taylor Homes, which had grown so troubled-plagued that its residents were relocated and the buildings torn down.
Jenny Yang and her Phoenix Tofu company in Chicago are shining examples of how FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator helps food and farm entrepreneurs build their businesses. Yang is launching a major expansion in response to fast-rising demand, which was the subject of a recent profile in the Chicago Tribune. We have republished an article we wrote about her and Phoenix Tofu last year, with a link to the Tribune story.
The Chicago suburb of Mundelein isn’t quite yet famous for kombucha, a fermented tea with healthy probiotic properties that in recent years has drawn a growing consumer base. But if hard work and passion are the keys to entrepreneurial success, then Susan Fink’s Karma Kombucha is going to turn Mundelein into a kombucha capital.
The morning of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference Thursday — the first day of the three-day, 12th annual Good Food Festival & Conference — was packed with content, entrepreneurial vision, and inspiration to accelerate the growth of the fast-rising Good Food movement. This photo essay provides a glimpse of the activities that got FamilyFarmed’s big yearly event off to a running start.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference is coming up Thursday at Chicago’s UIC Forum, and it is a must-do for anyone with an interest in the business of the fast-growing Good Food movement. The event — which makes up the first day of the three-day, 12th annual Good Food Festival & Conference — has an amazing lineup of farm and food entrepreneurs, industry leaders, thought leaders and policy makers.
Josh Katt, a Chicago chef, came up with the idea for his eight-year-old Kitchfix company while working as a personal chef and creating healthy meals — made from anti-inflammatory superfood ingredients — for customers who were fighting cancer. Kitchfix enabled him to expand the concept to a broader customer base. He grew a business that delivers prepared meals to homes and dropoff points, does catered events, and even has a small store in the Gold Coast neighborhood just north of downtown Chicago. Along the way, Katt and his team hit upon a product they learned had serious commercial potential: a grain-free, superfood-loaded variant of granola. His desire to grow this part of his business led to his participation in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator.
The nine Fellows participating in the second cohort of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator represent a wide range of exciting entrepreneurial ventures — from bakeries to a prepared meal kitchen to an herb farm, from an apple orchard and cidery to packaged Latino food products to a kombucha maker, and more.
Vending machines. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of Good Food… Until now, that is, thanks to companies such as Farmer’s Fridge, a business that is selling same-day-fresh jarred salads and healthy snacks from vending machines in dozens of locations around Chicago. This fast-growing company got a boost from participating in FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Festival & Conference and its Financial Fair.
FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Festival & Conference is the oldest and largest event in the Midwest focused on local and sustainable food. At its heart are the producers, buyers, sellers and others who exhibit their businesses there. Exhibitor registration is open for the 12th annual Good Food Festival & Conference, scheduled for March 24-26 in Chicago, and there is a $100 discount for participants who sign up by Dec. 9.
Chicago nonprofit FamilyFarmed will greatly expand its efforts to train farmers across the United States through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a partnership with Whole Foods Market. These developments also sync up with FamilyFarmed’s own new Direct Market Success program — aimed at “growing young farmers” — supported by an IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign.
Chicago has been something of a laboratory for the rise of the Good Food movement. Yet there has been one element of the movement that has been largely missing in Chicago: food cooperatives. Until now.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator is now accepting applications from food and farm entrepreneurs who want to participate in the program’s second year of mentoring and learning experiences.
Can a rich dessert be considered Good Food? It can when it is Eli’s Cheesecake and its owner, Marc Schulman, is a strong supporter of the Good Food movement and makes the effort to source from local producers when it is possible to do so.
Chicago on Monday hosted the annual James Beard Foundation culinary awards ceremony, and Rick Bayless was one of the event’s co-chairmen. Famed for popularizing regional Mexican cuisine in the city, he is a celebrity chef with a long-running TV show, and he has just added to his long list of cookbooks. But to many in the Good Food movement, it is his history of helping building the region’s local food system that is his biggest starring role.
Differentiation is an important key to success in the expanding sector of artisan food producers. A number of food entrepreneurs have sought their special niche by reaching into their personal experience and background. This is something that Rowida Assalimy did when she launched Kishr, a traditional hot beverage of her parents’ native country of Yemen that she grew up drinking.