There is lots of good information here! Conferences, learning sessions, etc.  I get it as an email. You can sign up and get the email updates. (I just copied and pasted the email so if the links don’t work, here is a link to their FamilyFarmed web site.)–Amy

Fresh Local News From

Financing Farm To Fork: 

Funding Sustainable Local Food

Businesses and Farms

F2F Conf 2010Last year at the FamilyFarmed EXPO, 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, 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).

Conference Speakers


Will AllenThe 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, 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.


Whole Foods Market Partners with to Seek New Farmers

Whole Foods Market, the nation’s leading natural and organic food retailer, is seeking to increase its selection of conventional and organic produce from farmers in Illinois and other nearby states. In order to do so, the Company is deepening its local procurement partnership with

“We are thrilled to continue working with and to increase our relationships with local farms in Illinois,” says Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Market Midwest Regional President. “We’re also developing new systems to allow farmers to sell directly to the stores. This will help smaller farms increase their business with us, as they may not have the capacity to support multiple stores’ needs.”

Click here for more information including the application.


Movie showing: 

Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?

“Queen oQueen of the Sunf the Sun: What are the bees telling us?” is playing at 8:00 pm on Friday, January 28th at The Gene Siskel Film Center. 

Queen of the Sun is a profound, alternative look at the global honeybee crisis from Taggart Siegel, award winning director of The Real Dirt on Farm John. calls Queen of the Sun, “Stunning… as soulful as it is scientific, as uplifting as it is alarming.”

Queen of the Sun is being featured in the Stranger Than Fiction series which shows a diverse selection of new work that testifies to the fact that the documentary form is thriving today.

For more info on the screening click here.

For more on Queen of the Sun click here.

Truck-Farm is Looking to Expand its  

Fleet in 2011

Truck Farm Bed 

Truck-Farm is a traveling, edible farm that teaches kids how fun farming and healthy food can be, engages them in thinking about where food comes from, and gets them excited about growing food themselves. The goal for 2011 is to have 25 trucks up and running by the spring. In order to accomplish this they are seeking farmers, food educators, garden enthusiasts and others who want to participate.

For more information on the project visit the

Truck-Farm website by clicking here.

January 2011
Join Our Mailing List
Its CSA Sign Up Time!
Please help us as we finalize our Guide to Chicagoland Community Supported Agriculture for 2011! 

Farmers – need to be added? Does your current listing need to be updated?

Consumers or Businesses – interested in becoming a CSA pick-up host site?

Please let us know!

csa box

Click here to send us an email.

Click here to learn more about becoming a CSA pick-up

host site.

Click here to view the 2010 Guide to Chicagoland CSA.

2011 Southern Wisconsin Fresh Produce Workshop
Tuesday, February 8th
8am – 4:30pm
Alliant Energy Center 

1919 Alliant Energy Ctr. Way

Madison, WI 53713

Organic Conference

The workshop will feature a variety of sessions in the morning presented by UW Extension Specialists on production, disease forecasting, pest management, post harvest handling and best management practices for fruit and vegetable growers. Food Safety information will also be provided.

For more information and registration click here.

2011 Farmland Investment Fair
Rich Schell, of Counsel at Wagner & Schell, an Adjunct Instructor in food law and regulation, will moderate a panel on investing in organic farmland at the 2011 Chicago Farmers Farmland Investment Fair. 

February 5, 2011
8:00am – 2:00pm

Weitendorf Agriculture Education Center
17840 Laraway Road
Joliet, IL

Early registration discount available!

Click here for more details or to register!

Whole Farm Workshops at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
MFAI announces their 2011 lineup! 

Whole Farm Workshops bring the benefits of sustainable agriculture to beginning farmers, advanced growers and consumers.

This year learn all about the pests and diseases that affect your vegetables through our workshops on pests, diseases and weeds. We have classes on tractors and innovative ways farmers are improving their marketing. Take a grant writing class.
Maybe you’ve thought of raising chickens or goats or rabbits. Look into bio-dynamic agriculture or growing grapes bio-dynamically. What about improving your soil, the heart of your farm? We have classes on soil sampling, cover crops and enriching your soil.

Click here to view lineup
and registration.

Attention Midwestern Farmers: Frontera Farmer Foundation Grant Deadline
Frontera Farmer Foundation grant application deadline is February 28, 2011. 

Frontera Logo

The Frontera Farmer Foundation will award grants for capital improvements of up to $12,000 to small and medium-size, individually owned farms that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area at farmers markets and otherwise.

Click here for more information and to download the application.

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