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.
Spending time with leading Good Food business executives — at a gorgeous suburban Chicago home or a yacht cruise on Lake Michigan — sounds like reason enough to bid on two of the headline prizes in the Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration’s online silent auction. But if you have Good Food business interests and want to learn more about this fast-growing sector that is building a better food system for America, how can you pass up the opportunity to learn from (while partying with) three giants of the Good Food industry: Bill Weiland of Presence Marketing, Brandon Barnholt of KeHe Distributors, and Tony Olson of SPINS, the leading data analyst for the natural and organic products industry.
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.
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. Josh Katt, chef/owner of a company that prepares and delivers delicious food from sustainably produced ingredients to homes and catered events in the Chicago area, shares his experiences as an exhibitor.