We are proud to present the finale of our three-part series of food and farm entrepreneur stories that underscore the impact you can have by making a tax-deductible donation to FamilyFarmed. Today, we feature our Farmer Training program, built around our Wholesale Success and Direct Market Success manuals, that has provided workshops for more than 13,700 farmers in 43 states on best practices in farm operations, handling, food safety, and marketing.
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.
Imagine a school teaching Chicago children from kindergarten through 12th grade on a seven-acre campus — three of those acres devoted to urban agriculture — designed by famed architect Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang. Imagine this school incorporating local citizenship, sustainability, Good Food, social justice and other values into its curriculum… serving organic, locally sourced, made-from-scratch food in its cafeteria… and producing more energy than it uses. Then imagine this school is not in an upscale Chicago neighborhood or tony suburb, but rather on the industrial, mostly Hispanic, mostly low-income Southwest Side. That is the vision for the expansion of the Academy for Global Citizenship — for which the charter school’s foundation will raise money at its 5th Annual Chefs Playground on June 9 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
We at FamilyFarmed are proud of all of the written content that we have provided on Good Food on Every Table. But people have been asking us, “Why don’t you do videos? People love videos!” So in the spirit of giving the people what they want, we present “Bob Goes To The Farmers Market,” the premiere of our FamilyFarmed At Play video series.
Visiting Growing Home’s urban farm would be a great field trip for FamilyFarmed wherever it was located. But Growing Home’s location, at 5814 S. Wood Street, and the social mission that it entails is what makes this nonprofit organization truly amazing: It is in the heart of West Englewood, a neighborhood of about 35,000 residents — nearly all African American — that has suffered from decades of job and population loss, economic decline and high crime rates.
The organizers who produced the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration took a bit of a gamble by preceding the highly anticipated, chef-driven tasting event with a Good Food Forum. Given that most in the audience were anxious to eat, drink and be merry, the hour-long symposium could have be a buzzkill. But the enlightening, engaging and passionate discussion among five Good Food activists and leaders, deftly moderated by Peter Sagal of NPR’s popular program “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” turned out to be a perfect set-up for the food and frivolity that followed.
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 demand for better grains, flour and bread is fueling a market surge that is benefiting grain growers in the Midwest and across the United States. Some of these producers are more deeply rooted than others — and one of these is Illinois organic grain farmer Brian Severson, whose family has been growing in east-central Illinois for more than 150 years. Brian Severson Farms/Quality Organics will be an exhibitor at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Trade Show on Friday, March 17 and the Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 18.
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.
Chicago is home to some of the most innovative and inspiring urban agriculture projects in the United States. And FamilyFarmed is providing the opportunity to visit three of these sites on a curated Urban Ag Bus Tour — taking place on Saturday, March 18 during our Good Food Festival.
Chicago is a national leader in the urban agriculture movement, and FamilyFarmed recently conducted a bus tour of four of the leading sites that are growing food — and jobs — on the city’s South Side.
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.
Farmhouse Chicago, located at the west end of downtown, is a genuine farm to table restaurant that sources most of its ingredients from the states that border on Lake Michigan: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Since its opening five yeas ago, Farmhouse Chicago also has been a friend of Family Farmed. So it is no coincidence that an event scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 3 — at which Farmhouse will introduce its five new proprietary hard apple ciders — is also a fundraiser for our nonprofit, which will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the tickets sold.
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 U.S. Senate may act this week on a GMO labeling bill that would impose a federal labeling standard less transparent than the Vermont right to know law — scheduled to take effect Friday (July 1) — that anti-labeling advocates have been seeking to block. Sustainable Food News provides the details in this article, re-published with permission.
Sourcing locally is a commitment that is both rewarding and frustrating for a chef. But metro Chicago’s White Oak Gourmet
is committed, even if it means chasing chickens (okay, chicken delivery trucks) around the city. Read Chef Tom Leavitt’s reflections on building relationships with farmers in this contributed column.
The Organic Center (TOC) has released the 10 most important organic findings of 2015, revealing scientific breakthroughs on the environmental and human health benefits of organic food and farming — from improving soil health and supporting water quality, to reducing our exposure to pesticides and mitigating climate change. Sustainable Food News reports in this republished article.
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.
You would be hard-pressed to find a business that is more local, more community-based, and more dedicated to revitalizing economically challenged neighborhoods than Chicago’s Urban Canopy.