FamilyFarmed’s Trade Show & Industry Conference on March 25 — the middle day of its three-day Good Food Festival & Conference — has an exciting new feature: “Recipe for Change: How the Culinary Community is Creating a Sustainable Food System” is a panel moderated by James Beard Foundation Vice President Kris Moon and featuring four of Chicago’s top chefs and Good Food champions. In this contributed column, Moon details the rising tide of chef activism and how the James Beard Foundation has responded with its Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change.
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.
One of the biggest challenges in the Good Food supply chain is getting products from farm and processor to market and consumer in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner. Suzanne Ma, co-founder of the Routific route optimization company, explains in this contributed column how software can help producers deliver their products more effectively.
Many young people are strongly interested in improving the U.S. food system, and are helping to accelerate the already-fast growth of the Good Food movement. And no small number are working to advance the cause by taking on activist roles on college campuses around the nation. Now the Plate of the Union campaign, staged by three Read more about Plate of the Union Campus Challenge: Win Money to Promote Good Food[…]
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.
Make a small, charitable donation this week to help deliver delicious and healthy food from leading Chicago restaurants and other food servers to nonprofit organizations that distribute it to people in need. Get a voucher for a treat from one of dozens of participating outlets. Sound good?
Just four years ago, Main Street in the small city of Corbin, Kentucky looked and felt like most downtowns in rural America: Vacant buildings. Empty sidewalks. A few surviving businesses. Today, though, there are thriving businesses and it’s hard to find a parking space on the mile and a half of Corbin’s Main Street. And local food is the engine driving this community’s revival.
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.
SAAGE Culinary Studio in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, is a shared-use commercial kitchen providing startup food businesses with access to all the commercial grade equipment that they need to make their products. Owner Gayatri Borthakur discusses the philosophy behind the business, which will be a participant in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference.
Many organizations and companies are working hard to untie knots in the supply chain for local and sustainable food in the Chicago area, the nation’s third most populous consumer market. Now the effort is getting a big boost from the Food to Market Challenge, a newly launched competition that will bestow a $500,000 award on the winning concept.
The new federal dietary guidelines and label recommendations are both still being heavily contested by lobbyists in Washington.
Even so, the word is getting out around the world that sugar is a major cause of the obesity epidemic and the chronic diseases with which that epidemic is often associated.
FamilyFarmed’s 12th annual Good Food Festival & Conference is scheduled for March 24-26 at Chicago’s UIC Forum, and exhibitor registration is open. Robin Schirmer, project coordinator for the Chicagoland coalition of CSA farms, shares her experience working with and attending the event.
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.
FamilyFarmed has launched a fundraising campaign — titled “Help Us Grow Young Farmers!” — to support the latest expansion of its extensive efforts to train farmers across the United States so they can achieve sustainable success. The campaign, staged on the IndieGoGo crowd-funding site, is titled “Help Us Grow Young Farmers!”
Farm Aid publishes a series of profiles on its website of “Farmer Heroes.” Their most recent profile is of Darius Jones, a young Chicagoan and friend of FamilyFarmed, for whom the “hero” title is apt. A troubled youth that resulted in him being incarcerated also set him on the path to the cutting edge of urban agriculture in his hometown.
A report by the National Young Farmers Coalition, titled Farming Is Public Service: A Case for Adding Farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, shows that student loan debt is one of the key barriers preventing more would-be farmers and ranchers from entering agriculture.
Next to Wal-Mart on the edge of rural Viroqua, Wisconsin, a 100,000-square-foot abandoned industrial building is now bustling with new businesses and jobs from an unconventional source: The local food and farming sector.
Farm Aid’s effort to assist family farmers and expand the Good Food movement continue year-round, so the organization started by big-hearted music legends isn’t just about the music. But Farm Aid’s annual benefit concert is what made it famous. And the 30th anniversary concert they staged in our hometown of Chicago on Saturday was one hell of a show.
As always, the Farm Aid concert held Saturday in Chicago was one of the entertainment events of the year, featuring founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, fellow Board member Dave Matthews, and numerous other great performers. But as this photo essay by Good Food on Every Table shows, Farm Aid is about much more than the music.
Farm Aid’s website includes a number of stories about “Farmer Heroes,” and one recent post featured Living Water Farms — which just happened to be one of the nine businesses that participated as Fellows in the first year (2014-15) of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator.