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.
‘Laine’s Bake Shop is an artisan bakery with a social mission. “Our mission is to be a catalyst for revitalization in urban communities, beginning in the South Side of Chicago,” said Rachel Bernier-Green, who co-founded the company with husband Jaryd Bernier-Green in 2013. That social mission is why she will be sharing her experiences on a panel titled Urban Impact Investing and Community Revitalization on Thursday morning, at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference at Chicago’s UIC Forum.
There are no guarantees for entrepreneurs launching new food ventures. But success can come amazingly fast when a food startup hits the sweet spot — or the sweet and savory spot in the case of Simple Mills, the Chicago-based company that produces a variety of nutrient-dense, grain-free baking mixes and crackers (and will be exhibiting at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Trade Show and Good Food Festival.
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.
Until recently, dried meat jerky was none something most people associated with Good Food. But one sign of the growing influence of the movement is that many products not normally seen as part of a well-balanced diet are being adapted into healthier and more sustainably produced versions — such as Think Jerky, the subject of this article.
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.
Chicago has a bounty of incredible restaurants, but it’s no easy task to provide a meal exactly how it has to be for each customer. Ryan Jones of Gotta B Crepes strives to do just that, though: Custom-make each crepe the way it’s gotta be for each person. In fact, Gotta B is the official crepe maker for Green City Market, the city’s premier farmers market, during its outdoor season in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the very few good things you can say about hard times, such as the recent Great Recession, is that they tend to unleash a lot of entrepreneurial energy. That was certainly the case for the owners of Spark of the Heart, a company that produces dry bean-based soup, salad and sides mixes, who will tell their story at the Good Food Business Accelerator’s Demo Day.
The rapid growth of the Good Food movement was reflected at FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Festival & Conference, which took place last Thursday through Saturday — not only in the big attendance turnout, but in the intensity of interest among the general public in eating better foods and, in many cases, making those better food themselves at home.
Rob Levitt, who co-owns Chicago’s popular The Butcher & Larder meat shop with his wife Allie, was very generous with his time prior to his charcuterie workshop at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival Saturday. It turns out that Rob is also very generous with recipes.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference kicked off a packed three-day schedule Thursday with its Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. The program featured an introduction to the nonprofit organization’s new Good Food Business Accelerator.
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.
Promising businesses in the Midwest’s local and sustainable food sector have raised $11 million from investors over the past three years by participating in FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference. Not surprisingly, this year’s event — coming up on Thursday, March 19 — has another lineup of outstanding entrepreneurs.
Eli’s Cheesecake has been serving up its sweet treats in Chicago for decades. As a local artisan producer that uses as many locally produced ingredients as possible, Eli’s has a prominent place at the Good Food movement’s dessert table. But the company’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity and social welfare through food is much broader than that.
The stories of immigrants achieving success by making the foods of their native lands are parts of the history and social fabric of the United States. But Jenny Yang of Chicago’s Phoenix Bean tofu has an immigrant food story with a modern twist. While millions of people have come to America to escape poverty or oppression, Yang first came to the U.S. from her native Taiwan a quarter-century ago in pursuit of higher education.
The schedule for this year’s 11th annual Festival & Conference, which takes place March 19-21 at the UIC Forum on the campus of University of Illinois at Chicago, has been released. We hope the details will whet your appetite for the event and persuade you to join this celebration of the fast-growing Good Food movement.