|Last year at the FamilyFarmed EXPO, FamilyFarmed.org debuted a new forum to discuss an often overlooked but critical component to growing the Good Food Movement – Financing Farm to Fork. Covering the spectrum of starting or expanding a farm or food business, the day-long conference brought together local food system stakeholders such as Deputy Secretary of the USDA Kathleen Merrigan ,Woody Tasch from the Slow Money movement, regional investors, beginning and seasoned farmers as well as local food business entrepreneurs. You can view videos from the conference here.
A a result of its success, FamilyFarmed.org is happy to announce the return of Financing Farm to Fork on March 17, 2011 – day one of the FamilyFarmed EXPO.
The conference will regional farmers and food processors about various financing strategies and then link them with individuals who represent a variety of financing options that may help them grow their businesses. Business education and training are an important component of the conference and breakout sessions will help inform food producers and financiers about the opportunities and needs in this sector.
Please join us in spreading the word to all stakeholders! Join us at the conference to grow your learn vibrant, well financed food and farm businesses.
Additionally, if you know of a budding or growing business owners seeking financing, please spread the word about the following opportunities taking place at the conference:
The March 17 Financing Farm to Fork Conference offers two opportunities for local food and farming entrepreneurs to gain visibility and interact with potential financiers and complementary businesses: the Financing Fair as well as a Business Plan Competition sponsored by SLoFIG, an emerging investment network whose mission is to nurture the growth of a sustainable, local food system in the Chicago region. Fresh Taste has played a key role in developing this network and competition.
The Financing Fair provides companies a casual and dynamic environment to spark new relationships and initiate conversations about ways to grow and expand their businesses. This will be a walk-around format, with the selected companies hosting a table showcasing information about their businesses and offering product samples where appropriate. This is a juried fair and applicants will be selected by a group of food industry professionals.
The SLoFIG Business Plan Competition offers two finalists the opportunity to work with a team of experts during the month prior to the conference, improving their business models and refining their investor presentations. On March 17th, the finalists will present to a panel of industry experts and investors and receive valuable feedback. The competition is sponsored by SLoFIG (Sustainably Local Food Investment Group), an emerging investment network whose mission is to nurture the growth of a sustainable, local food system in the Chicago region.
Who should apply? Small to medium sized businesses throughout the food system (e.g. farming and food production, processing, distributing, retailing and food service) that are located within the Chicago foodshed (IL, WI, MI, IN, IA, MN).
The Financing Farm to Fork Conference features national and regional experts and investors discussing food businesses, farm financing, food access, value added businesses, and more. Confirmed speakers include Gary Hirshberg, Founder and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, Will Allen, Farmer and CEO of Growing Power, Michael Bashaw, Regional President of Whole Foods Market, Financier Andy Whitman, University of Chicago’s Linda Darragh, FamilyFarmed.org President Jim Slama, Fresh Taste Director Karen Lehman, and many more.
The deadline to apply for either the Financing Fair or the SLoFIG Business Plan Competition is February 4, 2011. Click here for more information, including the guidelines and application form.