FamilyFarmed’s most recent Urban Ag Bus Tour tour took place on Saturday, Oct. 14. Now, the weather is the one thing you can’t control when you plan an outdoor event, and it rained, and rained, and rained. But nothing will stay a local food advocate from making the rounds of urban farms. People piled into the bus, and thoroughly enjoyed the visits to Garfield Produce, Chicago Patchwork Farms and the rooftop farm at McCormick Place, the city’s (and nation’s) biggest convention center. Giant puddles be damned.
Making the food system healthier has always been a pillar of the Good Food movement and FamilyFarmed. Our organization is developing a program called Good Food Is Good Medicine, which will be bringing ready-to-use information about healthier lives through better diets to community settings, with a heavy emphasis on underserved communities with high rates of diet-related illness.
The record attendance at FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Festival & Conference in Chicago underscored important points about the Good Food movement’s growing momentum. More than 7,500 people attended the 13th Good Food Festival & Conference, held March 16-18 at the UIC Forum on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.
We often highlight the potential for Good Food businesses to revitalize economically challenged communities and improve the lives of those who live there. Few businesses combine both of those elements in one person as much as Chicago’s Westside Bee Boyz. Founder Thad Smith’s beekeeping and honey company is still quite small, but he has big dreams for the company. He views it as a platform for community and young entrepreneur development in North Lawndale and other troubled communities in Chicago.
Dr. Ian Smith is the physician developed the SHRED Diet (and SHRED POP popcorn), is a popular TV personality and author, and is the creator of the 50 Million Pound Challenge. FamilyFarmed is pleased that Dr. Smith will take part in an important panel on Food and Mood Saturday at its Good Food Festival. This panel, which will begin at 10:30 a.m., will be followed at 2 p.m. by Good Food is Good Medicine, another expert panel on the profound connections between food and good health.
The three pillars of the Good Food movement are a healthier, a more environmentally sustainable, and more economically dynamic food system that puts Good Food on Every Table. This year’s Festival will put a special accent on that first pillar — Good Food’s massive contribution to building a society with healthier, happier people and lower health care costs — with panels on Good Food is Good Medicine and Food and Mood.
The Blend is a movement emerging nationwide, and it features the craft of blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, lamb) for meals that are more delicious, nutritious and sustainable. Visit the Mushrooom Council at table 44-45 — on Friday during FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Trade Show and on Saturday during the Good Food Festival — to sample Paul Caravelli of Chicago’s Knife & Tine’s take on a blended meatball.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference reflects the values of the Good Food movement: increasing access to food produced locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices, to build a healthier, more sustainable and more economically dynamic food system. It also reflects the amazing diversity of this nation’s food and farm entrepreneurs, both demographically and in the types, styles and ethnic origins of food they produce.
FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival is holding a fundraising raffle for the first time. And we’re pulling out the stops to persuade you to participate. The Grand Prize is two tickets to The Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration that FamilyFarmed is co-producing with storied chef Rick Bayless on April 30. Second prize is two tickets to music star Jack Johnson’s June 2 concert in Chicago.
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.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken’s combination of delicious food and elevated social values merit FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Chef of the Year Award. Chef-owners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp will receive the award at our Good Food Festival at 10:15 a.m. 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.
Tim Magner works to integrate food education with fun through Chicago-based programs such as Nature’s Farm Camp. He reports that the longterm decline in the quality and nutrition in school food is being reversed, in sync with the rise of the Good Food movement. More school gardens, more cooking classes, more efforts by many administrators to find healthier choices for students. In his article below, Tim describes the positive impact that is having for our nation’s schoolchildren and our food system in general.
With the average age of farmers in the United States pushing 60, growing a new generation of young farmers is a regional and national priority. One of the most encouraging recent developments in the Chicago area is the creation of Chillinois Young Farmers — the northern Illinois chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition — which is providing a much-needed voice to this important constituency. FamilyFarmed is pleased that “Chillinois,” representing the national organization, will be participating in our Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 18 at Chicago’s UIC Forum.
The Hatchery, a food business incubator in Chicago, started up just last year with a small space but big plans. Those plans are now taking a giant step toward fruition with $2 million in economic development funding that is being provided by the City of Chicago. The Hatchery also will participate in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival & Conference March 17 and 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.
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.
“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.
Lisa Kivirist and John D. Ivanko own a farm bed & breakfast in Wisconsin, produce their own jarred products, and are the authors of several books including Homemade for Sale. They share their tips for product labeling that sells, and will be exhibiting at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival on March 18.
by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed Kitchfix, a Chicago-based company, grew out of Chef Josh Katt’s previous career preparing highly nutritious and functional meals for customers who were fighting cancer. He maintained those health-first principles as he grew his home meal delivery service and a packaged goods division centered on Paleo, grain-free granola in a variety of flavors. Read more about Good Food Vendor Kitchfix Wants You To See Right Through Its Ingredient List[…]