Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference

Thursday, March 20, 2015 — 8:30am to 6:00pm


Farmers, investors, and Good Food business owners:
Join us to forge new connections and learn how to grow the Good Food system!


The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference helps to address one of the biggest challenges facing the growing Good Food Movement: helping food and farm businesses gain access to investment that will help them scale up and meet the demand for local, sustainable food.

Are you a food entrepreneur interested in pitching to investors? Apply to participate in the Financing Fair! Click here to learn more any apply.

Read more about the importance of Good Food Financing on our Good Food On Every Table blog.

The 2015 Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference:




8:30-9:00 am Registration and Networking Get here early to connect with good food leaders over refreshments from Crop to Cup, Organic Valley, and Kind Bar.
9:00-10:00 am Welcome Jennifer Worstell, Natarajan Legal P.C., FamilyFarmed Board Member
Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed
Marc Schulman, Eli’s Cheesecake, Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference Co-Chair
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (invited)
Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President (invited)
Renee Michaels, Chicago Community Trust
Howard Tullman, 1871
Steve Koch, Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago (invited)
10:00-10:45 am Opening Symposium Maria Contreras-Sweet, U.S. Small Business Administration (invited)
Melody Meyer, UNFI
Galen Miller, Miller Poultry (invited)
Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Market
Jim Murphy, Local Foods
Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed, moderator
10:45 -11:00 am Good Food Business Accelerator Overview Hear from Good Food Business Accelerator participants about how the program is affecting Good Food and helping grow local, sustainable food businesses.
11:00 am -12:15 pm Good Food Business Accelerator Pitches Six finalists make 7-minute pitches followed by a 2-minute investor Q&AAndy Whitman, 2X Consumer Products Growth Partners, moderator
12:15-1:00 pm Lunch Thank you to Chipotle Mexican Grill for providing lunch.
12:15-2:00 pm Financing Fair Selected businesses have the chance to network directly with investors in the Good Food space.
2:00-3:00 pm Anatomy of a National Brand Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, Xoco, Tortas Fronteras
Manny Valdes, Frontera Foods (invited)
Tony Owen, DOM Capital
Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Farms
Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed, moderator

3:00-4:00 pm

Good Food Business Success Stories Introductions: Markus Schramm, Manna Organics, FamilyFarmed Board Member
Arsen Avakian, Argo Tea
Sonat Birnecker, Koval
Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Kefir
Marc Schulman, Eli’s Cheesecake, moderator
4:00-5:00 pm Good Food Is a Good Investment Introductions: Lauren Rosenthal, SLoFIG ,FamilyFarmed Board Member
Dave Miller, Iroquois Valley Farms
Bram Bluestein, Bluestein & Associates
Robert Dow, MS Graystone (invited)
Victor Friedberg, S2G
Greg Christoff, APCI LLC, moderator (invited)
5:00-6:00 pm  Craft Beverage Reception  Connect with investors and new businesses ready to grow at this post-conference networking session.


2015 Illinois Food Farms and Jobs Council Meeting, 1-3pm

The Good Food Festival & Conference is very happy to host the March meeting of the Illinois Food Farms and Jobs Council! The Council’s purpose is to facilitate the growth of an Illinois-based local farm and food product economy that revitalizes rural and urban communities, promotes healthy eating with access to fresh foods, creates jobs, ensures a readily available supply of safe food in an emergency event and supports economic growth through making local farm or food products available to all Illinois citizens.

This meeting is FREE and open to the public. If you intend to attend this meeting as a member of the public, and are not registered for the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, please arrive at the registration desk no earlier than 12:30. We encourage all attendees at the meeting to register for the Conference, but this is not required for attendance at the Council meeting.

The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference is sponsored by:

4-color jpeg 4-2011