“Farm to table” dining may have become commonplace on Chicago’s restaurant menus. But Chef Paul Virant was in the vanguard of the movement just 13 years when he opened Vie restaurant in the suburb of Western Springs. And he is all about giving back to the community. Within a recent three-day span, Paul did a cooking demo with the Gardeneers audience for schoolchildren in Englewood, then was the honoree for Angelic Organics Learning Center at their annual dinner.
Most of what we do at FamilyFarmed, and most of what we write about on Good Food on Every Table, is pretty high-minded, focused on our efforts to build a better food system. This FamilyFarmed At Play article — about a boozy fruit salad — isn’t quite so lofty. But we can virtually guarantee that it will make your summer eating (and picnicking) better.
LocalLocal.com is an online directory of restaurants, farms and food retailers that sell locally sourced food. By displaying the connections between retailers/restaurants and the farms where their food comes from, LocalLocal verifies that food is authentically local. LocalLocal founder Reed Shelger contributed this latest installment in Good Food on Every Table’s “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
Variety is the word for the field of five finalists in the Food to Market Challenge. This competition will award $500,000 to the team deemed to have proposed the best solution to a problem affecting the supply chain for local and sustainable food in the Chicago region.
Cleetus Friedman, the executive chef of Chicago’s Caffè Baci restaurants, began his food journey busing tables in his native Baltimore about 30 years ago, when he was in his teens. Yet the road leading to his place at the cutting edge of the local and sustainable food movement had some twists and turns.
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.
There are few people in the restaurant business who have kept farm to table real better — or longer — than Chicago’s Helen and Mike Cameron. They opened Uncommon Ground in 1991 and ever since have been blazing trails in providing diners with locally and sustainable produced food. Read about their ahead-of-the-curve experiences and their 25th anniversary events in the latest installment of our “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
“Minimizing food waste is the next round of work that we have to do, both in the farm to table movement and in our food culture generally,” says Abra Berens, chef of Stock Cafe at the innovative Local Foods market in Chicago. Read about her devotion to locally and sustainably sourced food, and to not letting any of it go to waste, in the latest installment of our “Farm to Table: Keeping It Real” series.
There is a strongly held belief in the Good Food movement that local food can spur both urban and rural revitalization, and that vision is getting clearer in the state of Kentucky. Louisville has led the way with a strategic focus on finding and connecting entrepreneurs along the regional supply chain from farm to table.
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.
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.
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.
Foods and beverages carrying a “local” label appear poised to become the leading symbol of trust and transparency to consumers as the authenticity halo of such terms as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ lose momentum, claims market analyst The Hartman Group — as reported by the FoodNavigator-USA.com website.
Chicago is one of the nation’s top cities for great food and drink. Each year folks here are presented with an array of big tasting events to choose among. But there are both good food and Good Food reasons why hundreds of people choose to attend the annual Chef BBQ event at Green City Market in Lincoln Park.
T.J. Callahan, the founder and owner of the Farmhouse Tavern restaurants in downtown Chicago and suburban Evanston is a bit wary of the “farm to table” label, which some critics say has been overused to the point of becoming a cliche. “Farm to table, it’s such a nebulous kind of concept,” Callahan said in an interview with Good Food on Every Table. “So we’ve called ourself, from day one, a ‘Midwestern craft tavern.'”
What would you pay to welcome the glorious arrival of spring with one of Chicago’s best annual food and drink tasting events?
Most sampling events these days will set you back three figures. But Localicious — on the evening of Friday, March 20 at Chicago’s UIC Forum — is a great night of eating and drinking great local products, for just $80.
The new Local Foods store being built in Chicago may turn out to be something of village square for the local Good Food movement, bringing together and helping to boost the kinds of small food businesses people used to frequent. And it could, just possibly, serve as a template for the supermarket of the future.
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.
There is hardly a bigger Good Food movement success story than that of Whole Foods Market. So Michael Bashaw — president of Whole Foods Market’s 48-store-and-growing Midwest region — had a very attentive audience when he spoke Monday (Feb. 2) to entrepreneurs, financiers, and others associated with FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator program.