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.
The folks attending the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser on April 30 at The Art Institute of Chicago will be able to bid on some mind-boggling prizes, including a food field trip to Mexico with Chef Rick Bayless, whose 30 years of achievement is being celebrated at the event. But guess what? You can bid for all of those prizes too. That’s because the auction, already under way, is taking place online, and you can compete wherever you are. All you have to do is visit the auction portal, click the prizes your heart desires, and bid.
by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed Chase Sanert operates Sugar Grove Family Farms out of Greenview, about 25 miles north of Springfield, Illinois’ capital. The 150-acre farm has been in his family for 73 years, but only for the past four years has it shifted its focus to raising livestock on pasture. Sanert’s fervent commitment to producing Read more about Beginning Farmer Awardee Sugar Grove and Its Sustainable Cattle Calling[…]
Donna and Scott Lehrer gave up corporate work for organic farming near Chicago nearly two decades ago. Their Big Rock Organics at Lamb of God Farm not only provides the food products for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers, but also wool for daughter Natasha Lehrer Lewis’ Esther’s Place fiber studio. The farm is a member of Band of Farmers: The Chicagoland CSA Coalition, and will be participating in the CSA Pavilion at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival at Chicago’s UIC Forum on Saturday, March 18.
“Growing Young Farmers” is one of the most important themes for our work at FamilyFarmed. That is why FamilyFarmed is so pleased that the 2017 Beginning Farmer of the Year Award ceremony, presented by the Routes to Farm alliance, will kick off our Good Food Trade Show and Policy Conference on Friday, March 17 at the UIC Forum, located on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. Meet the five finalist farms.
Crate Free Illinois is a nonprofit group that works to inform the public about inhumane treatment at industrial livestock operations and urges consumers to use their dollars to support farmers who use humane practices. The organization will take part in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival for the second consecutive year.
The growing public demand for pasture-raised, sustainably produced meats has prompted increased interest among farmers. For Marina and John Backes, it prompted a move from suburban New Jersey to rural southwest Missouri, where since 2009 they have raised heritage breeds of hogs on pasture at their Circle B Ranch.
This is national Meat Week. We at FamilyFarmed advocate for foods, including meat, that are produced as locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices. So who better to help us inform readers about why this is important than Chicago’s Rob Levitt, whose store The Butcher & Larder embeds those principles in how they source and sell their beef, pork, lamb and poultry.
by Kara Gunthorp, guest contributor Kara Gunthorp joined the family sustainably raised livestock business — Indiana’s Gunthorp Farms — shortly after her graduation last year from Purdue University, an experience she shared in the initial article in our Growing Young Farmers series. Kara is making a return appearance here, discussing how her younger brother Evan Read more about Gunthorp Farms: When Growing Young Farmers Is All In The Family[…]
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 on Every Table website is launching a new series titled “Growing Young Farmers.” This series will provide a platform for members of this new generation to discuss why they have chosen farming, the opportunities that motivate them, and the challenges as well. And we could not be happier to kick off the series than with this following essay written by Kara Gunthorp of Indiana’s Gunthorp Farms, a leader in sustainable livestock production.
In this latest installment of Good Food on Every Table’s “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series, Chef Jesse Badger explains how Chicago’s Spoke and Bird addresses the challenges faced by small restaurants in developing relationships with their farmers for meat and produce purchases.
George Siemon co-founded and heads Organic Valley, the Wisconsin-based producer of dairy products, meats and vegetables that is the nation’s biggest organic farmer cooperative. The work of the company to advance the Good Food movement was honored with FamilyFarmed’s Good Business Business of the Year Award.
When Harry Carr and his family started Mint Creek Farm in the 1990s, few American consumers had even heard of grass-fed beef, no less bought it for their dinner tables. That has changed dramatically, yet here is still plenty of consumer confusion about the advantages of grass-fed, and plenty of pushback from conventional producers who argue there are no real benefits to choosing grass-fed beef over grain-fed.
The new Local Foods store being built in Chicago may turn out to be something of village square for the local Good Food movement, bringing together and helping to boost the kinds of small food businesses people used to frequent. And it could, just possibly, serve as a template for the supermarket of the future.
Rob Levitt established himself as a major figure on Chicago’s food scene when he and his wife Allie opened The Butcher & Larder meat shop four years ago. Here Rob Levitt discusses his somewhat unexpected career as a butcher and his hopes for bigger things with his upcoming move, expected this spring, into a larger space in the new Local Foods retail store.
Mark Wilhelms is founder and chief executive of Red Meat Market, which retails local and sustainably produced meat online. One of his inspirations for the company was Frank Morgan, whose pioneering effort to raise grass-fed beef for the nearby Chicago market was the basis for a short film Wilhelm produced shortly before Morgan’s death.
Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder began his culinary career with the aim of becoming a top chef. But he developed an expertise in charcuterie that ultimately piqued his interest in the art of butchery, and four years ago, he and wife Allie opened the Butcher & Larder and quickly developed it into one of Chicago’s favored spots among meat lovers. Now they are preparing for a big step up.
There is plenty of diversity among the Fellows in FamilyFarmed’s new Good Food Business Accelerator program. But they share a drive to succeed a commitment to expand the Good Food movement.
Concerns about the routine use of antibiotics in livestock production is rising among consumers, prompting an increase in both market demand and supply of meat labeled as “antibiotic-free.” And efforts to get the attention of policy makers to this issue are increasing.