Calendar of Events
Arrive early and connect with Good Food leaders over refreshments provided by official coffee partner and sponsor Columbia Street Roastery
An overview of Regional and National initiatives to Finance and Expand Good Food Businesses.
FamilyFarmed and other Good Food advocates believe that the fast-growing market for local and sustainable food can fuel economic growth in general, and can have an especially positive impact on the revitalization of economically struggling urban communities. Leading experts in the Chicago area will share their views on how urban farms and food businesses can promote prosperity with the assistance of venture capital, other private funding, corporate programs abetting entrepreneurship, and public policy initiatives.
We are pleased to present FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Business of the Year Award to Seed 2 Growth (S2G) Ventures — a venture fund investing in transformative food and agriculture companies — and its managing directors: Victor E. Friedberg, a 20-year veteran of investing in innovation, global development and sustainability; Chuck Templeton, acting chairman of Impact Engine, founder and former CEO of Open Table, and founding chairman of Grub Hub; and Sanjeev Krishnan, who has 15 years of experience in venture and private equity investments, including a focus on agriculture and food companies.
Leaders from urban farms and indoor growing operations discuss Chicago’s emergence as a national model for urban farming.
Fellows from the Good Food Business Accelerator and other Good Food Entrepreneurs present their businesses to prospective investors and stakeholders who can help them grow their business. This session will be moderated by Bram Bluestein of the Bluestein & Associates LLC investment firm.
Introducing FamilyFarmed’s new logo and branding for the organization and the Good Food Festival & Conference, and the organization’s strategic plan to initiate a national dialogue about Good Food.
The afternoon Financing Fair provides a dynamic environment where innovative farms and food businesses seeking capital can engage with funders, pitch their business plans, and forge new partnerships! More than $30 million in business investments have been raised by past participants in Good Food Festival Financing Fairs and the Good Food Business Accelerator.
Farmer’s Fridge, which sells delicious, super-fresh salads in recyclable jars from customized vending machines, got a big boost from its participation in the Good Food Financing Fair. Marc Schulman, CEO of Eli’s Cheesecake, is a co-chairman of the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference.
A number of conventional food companies have moved into the Good Food space by either launching new products or buying up companies that market sustainably produced food. Many people view this positively as a sign that the growing consumer demand for better food is being acknowledged in our corporate food system, but there are concerns about Good Food products being “dumbed down” or used as window dressing. This panel of experts in this area is bound to be compelling.
This meeting will bring together organizations providing sustainable farmer education in Illinois and Wisconsin to discuss improvements that can be made in this area. This will include identifying unmet needs in sustainable farmer training, identifying how to extend the reach of conservation messaging, and exploring possible collaborations
- Angelic Organics Learning Center
- Illinois Stewardship Alliance
- Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
- Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
- Oregon Tilth
- Routes to Farm
- The Land Connection
- University of Wisconsin-Madison/OGRAIN Organ
ic Grain Resources And Information Network
If you would like to be included in this meeting, please email email@example.com.
An exploration of new programs, strategic initiatives and business models that are bringing innovations to the way food products go to market.
Enjoy food and craft beverages while engaging directly with funders, investors and attendees. Open to all Thursday attendees.
The current list includes:
Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery
Skyline Kitchen Inc. (TeaSquares)
More partners are being added daily!
Routes to Farm is a collaboration of farmer alliances in the regional foodshed of greater Chicago dedicated to training the emerging generation of local and sustainable farmers.
Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance launched the Beginning Farmer of the Year award in 2013 in order to celebrate and promote new farmers growing for our local and sustainable food and farm economy. The winner of this award selects the Mentor Farmer of the Year, honoring an experienced farmer who generously provided mentoring at some time during their first 10 years of startup.
Pecha Kucha is a trademarked presentation format in which people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplined provide fast-paced, visually driven talks about their areas of interest. FamilyFarmed, for the first time ever, will present its own Pecha Kucha, with presenters from across the Good Food movement spectrum.
For many years, the Good Food movement and the Local Food movement were virtually synonymous. But the growing consumer demand for food produced sustainably, humanely and fairly has, for some products, outstripped local supply capacity. This panel will explore whether “local” is crucial, or whether the Good Food movement should be thinking globally while acting locally.
Despite the growth of direct market platforms in recent years, well more than 90 percent of the food Americans eat still goes through wholesale channels. Businesses seeking to reach buyers in or through the wholesale market will benefit for the expertise of the panelists in this session.
Join us in a wide-ranging discussion that will increase your local grain vocabulary and appreciation. Understand the types and varieties of sustainably-grown small grains available, the benefits these grains offer, and how to address the increasing demand for these products. From farm-fresh flour to local barley-brewed beer, we’ve got you covered.
A panel of leaders from Chicago’s urban agriculture movement will provide an overview of current policy initiatives that support urban gardens and farms, and lead a training on how to become a grassroots urban agriculture “Ward Ambassador” to effect positive change on the local level.
State and local laws play an important role in how we grow, distribute and access food. Yet many times, it can be difficult to figure out how to monitor policy changes at different levels of government and make your voice heard. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, this session will help you craft a successful plan for changing laws. We will walk through a couple of case studies, and then provide you with an activist toolkit that you can take home and adapt to your own needs.
Celebrate the successes of those leading Good Food efforts in education and healthcare institutions. Learn what has allowed them to succeed and what advice they have for implementing your own strategies.
What is the role of the food system in global climate change? This workshop will consider the reasons why food and agriculture get so little attention in climate change policy discussions and call for a more robust approach to accelerating adoption of practices that will both reduce to greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and make farms more resilient to changes.
Online selling presents a great opportunity for Good Food businesses to get their products to market. Join our expert led workshop on how to make this sales channel work for you.
Is our soil dead? Find out why soil heath is critical to plant growth, nutrition and human health. Learn techniques for how to save and grow your soil and further understand why soil vitality is critical to a sustainable agricultural system.
New food businesses are creating a new breed of entrepreneurs. Come and explore emerging food & beverage trends.
A roundtable discussion on how healthy food access and food insecurity can be overcome through community-owned and supported cooperative food businesses. The session will highlight the power of cooperatives to create resilient local food economies for communities facing barriers to access and healthy food options. Successful models will be presented, both locally and nationally.
The Chicago Food Policy Action Council will present on current and upcoming food policy efforts in Chicago including procurement, urban farmland access, urban farm licensing and commercial livestock, food access and developing a plan for expanding productive land use.
In this time of change, it is more important than ever that we in the sustainable agriculture community make our priorities clear, and that we take the opportunity to continue to shape the direction of agricultural policy for the next four years and foreseeable future. Join us for a discussion and listening session about the future of federal food and farm policy with a focus on opportunities and strategies to ensure that a diverse coalition of family farmers and ranchers, conservationists, and local and regional food enthusiasts have a place at the table over the coming years.
Join smaller and larger meat raising operations in discussing best practices in caring for animals and processing the meat they provide.
This presentation will explore how panelists have worked to expand their local food offerings and/or meet the demand for local purchasing.Challenges that have been faced during the procurement, distribution and sale will be discussed.
This presentation will explore how panelists have worked to expand their food offerings and “to market” opportunities by working in conjunction with other food producers and by creating necessary operations and distribution infrastructure.
Living off tips is precarious, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Raising the minimum wage and eliminating the tipped credit would provide a significant stimulus to the U.S. economy in tipped wages alone, providing a boost to local economies and the broader food industry, as well. We’re launching the campaign in 2017 in Illinois and the Chicagoland.
In the upcoming years, it will be more important than ever for organizations to effectively work together. This panel featuring good food leaders from across the sector will illustrate examples of successful coordination, and discuss opportunities for shared effort and discuss ways that we can be more powerful when we discover common goals and unified strategies to achieve policy wins.
Discover how the composting and donating of food can strengthen local soil and the community.
This presentation will explore how panelists have worked in tandem with producers, farmers, community organizations, non-profits and others to grow their businesses and bring Good Food to every table.
Join us in a discussion of the benefits and challenges of transitioning to organic. We’ll identify what education and ongoing support resources are available and how best to build capacity and community around organic production and transition.
An opportunity to meet and network with business leaders, buyers, and producers. Local craft beers, spirits and wines will be poured with Good Food treats and refreshments provided by local partners. Open to all Friday exhibitors, speakers and attendees; others may purchase a ticket to attend the Networking Reception only.
The current list includes:
Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery
Skyline Kitchen Inc. (TeaSquares)
More partners are being added daily!
Cultivate your curiosity and learn new skills at informal, 20-minute micro-workshops. Topics may include growing and preserving; cooking and culinary techniques; composting; raising animals; and ways to build and strengthen the Good Food movement in our communities. Come ready to learn and bring your questions! Please check back closer to the date for scheduling updates.
Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken are the co-recipients of FamilyFarmed’s 2017 Good Food Chef of the Year Award. Honey Butter Fried Chicken, located in the Avondale neighborhood, has been a star of the Chicago fast-casual scene since it opened in 2013. And Christine and Josh have received well-deserved attention for their Good Food principles, including local and sustainable sourcing, fair and inclusive treatment of their workers, and their social conscience embodied in the fact that Honey Butter was the first in Chicago to declare itself a “Sanctuary Restaurant.”
After the award ceremony, Christine and Josh will conduct a cooking demo that will kick of our Chefs at Play program on the main stage.
FamilyFarmed presents its Good Food Chef of the Year Award to a culinary star who shares our principles for a better, healthier, more sustainable and more economically productive food system. Past winners are Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurant group, Paul Fehribach of Big Jones restaurant; and Paul Kahan of the One Off Hospitality Group.
How food impacts mood, behavior and learning.
The Artisan Grain Collaborative will showcase and demonstrate the process of milling locally grown wheat — and baking a sourdough bread! We will present an up-close opportunity to see and learn the traditional methods of stone milling wheat into flour, and using that flour to bake a healthy and locally sourced loaf of artisan bread.
The best way to instill good lifetime eating habits is to start when children are very young. Experts and advocates who bring food education to classroom will discuss at an engaging panel discussion.
It is vital for consumers to factor species sustainability into their seafood choices, and programs such as Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium have greatly raised public awareness. This panel will help guide you on best choices and how to find sustainable seafood.
Chicago is recognized as a national center for urban agriculture and innovative growing practices. This panel will discuss how urban farming contributes to the economy, environment, health and culture of our cities.
Green River, in downtown’s Streeterville neighborhood, opened in 2015 and made its first splash with its mixology program. But the excellent cooking by Aaron Lirette and his team soon received the attention it deserved from diners — and from the Michelin restaurant guide, which gave Green River a coveted star. Green River‘s website says Aaron’s “culinary philosophy stems from his commitment to working with local purveyors.”
One of the most shocking statistics about our food system is that upwards to 40 percent the food we produce goes to waste. This is a rising issue of concern, and innovators — such as the participants on this panel — are developing ways to reduce this number while providing access to better food for those in need.
Medical training in the United States typically focuses on treating symptoms of illness, and has been lacking in a crucial element — the impact of food on health. But there is rising interest in “integrative medicine” and other approaches that factor food into efforts to prevent illness. This important subject makes this a can’t-miss panel.
As Hoosier Mama’s old-timey slogan goes, “Save Your Fork, There’s Pie.” Hoosier Mama Pie Company has been one of the Chicago area’s most popular bakers since it opened in 2009, in part because of Haney’s dedication to artisan ingredients. Along with two restaurants, Hoosier Mama Pie is a longtime vendor at Chicago’s Green City Market.
Maintaining the health of our nation’s soils is a vital factor in a sustainable future for our agriculture. This panel will discuss the challenges to soil health, what is being done to address them, and soil’s contribution to containing climate change
Rob Levitt studied at the Culinary Institute of America and was a highly regarded chef and restaurateur — before he shifted gears and opened The Butcher & Larder meat shop in 2011. The Butcher & Larder has become a Chicago Good Food icon a little more than five years, serving sustainably and humanely produced meat with a heaping helping of first-rate customer service. First located in a small store in the Noble Square neighborhood, The Butcher & Larder is now part of Bucktown’s Local Foods grocery store.
Rob is fresh off receiving a Good Food Award for charcuterie at a ceremony held in San Francisco in January.
Rick Bayless not only popularized regional Mexican food in the United States through his much-awarded restaurants, TV shows and cookbooks — he did so as a pioneer among chefs in the Good Food movement. He first helped small farmers from the region build a market in Chicago through his ingredient sourcing. Then, starting in 2003, his Frontera Farmer Foundation has provided what now amounts to nearly $2 million in grants to regional farmers to help them succeed.
Rick’s Frontera Farmer Foundation is collaborating with FamilyFarmed on a major fundraising event on April 30 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration will mark the 30th anniversary of Bayless’ landmark Frontera Grill. Rick also will participate on a timely panel titled “Does Good Food Need to Be Local?,” which will take place at 9:15 a.m. on Friday, March 17 during our Good Food Trade Show and Policy Conference, the middle day of our three-day Good Food Festival & Conference.