Shop, eat, learn, network and grow the Good Food movement at FamilyFarmed’s 14th Annual Good Food EXPO in Chicago on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Rd.)
FRIDAY, MARCH 23
The Good Food Trade Show: Production, Policy & Industry Exchange kicks off the two-day Good Food EXPO on Friday, March 23 (8:30 a.m.–7 p.m.), focusing on key business and policy issues affecting the Good Food market. The Trade Show features the Good Food Marketplace, at which exhibitors will participate and where buyers and sellers make valuable contacts. That evening, attendees will have the chance to build business relationships at the Good Food Industry Networking and Meet the Buyers Reception (5-7 p.m.).
- Good Food Trade Show: Production, Policy & Industry Exchange will include an Opening Symposium focusing on organic and regenerative agriculture, which advocates farming techniques that build soil health, prevent erosion, and sequester carbon in soil to reduce global warming.
- FamilyFarmed presents its Good Food Business of the Year Award to Arran Stephens, Co-founder and CEO of Nature's Path, the largest organic cereal company in the world.
- The Policy Conference features a panel discussing the new Chicago Good Food Purchasing Policy, with participants who played key roles in persuading city officials to enact the law, as well as a panel on the pending 2018 federal Farm Bill.
- A Thursday pre-conference On-Farm Food Safety & FSMA workshop and a Friday Wholesale Success farmer training workshop will be held as part of programming. Both farmer training workshops are led by organic farmer Atina Diffley, who has provided best-practices instruction for 14,500 farmers in 43 states as part of FamilyFarmed’s Farmer Training program.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24
Saturday, March 24 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) is the Good Food Festival & Marketplace, a family-friendly day of inspiring speakers, tastings from food artisans, DIY workshops on the Organic Valley Good Food Commons, chef demos at the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of IL Chefs at Play Stage, an interactive Purple Asparagus’ Kids Corner, and the Good Food Marketplace, a show and sales floor featuring more than 150 farmers, artisanal food producers, retailers, other vendors, and nonprofit organizations — all designed to grow the Good Food movement.
FamilyFarmed strongly believes in instilling Good Food values and habits in the youngest eaters. The organization is allied with food education and school gardening programs - Pilot Light, Gardeneers, and Big Green (formerly The Kitchen Community) - who are doing remarkable work with children, most of them living and learning in underserved communities. Representatives of each of these programs will participate in a panel discussion on Saturday afternoon, followed by a joint demo about grain, flour and bread presented by Pilot Light and members of the Artisan Grain Collaborative.
- Saturday kicks off with a Master Class on the culinary uses of vinegar featuring Michael Harlan Turkell, author of Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar, and Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Chicago’s Fat Rice restaurant. Paid tickets are required. Turkell, who has perfected the art of making vinegars at home, traveled the United States, Japan, Italy, France and Austria in search of the world's best vinegars. He and the Fat Rice team will share recipes that show the myriad of ways in which vinegars can be incorporated into your own cooking.
- Sarah Grueneberg of Chicago’s Monteverde restaurant — fresh off her 2017 James Beard Best Chef Great Lakes Award — will receive FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Chef of the Year Award and do a cooking demo at Saturday’s popular Blue Cross & Blue Shield of IL Chefs At Play stage.
- Other chefs lined up for the Festival include Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurants; Jason Vincent and Ben Lustbader of Chicago’s Giant and City Mouse; Tom Van Lente and Melissa Graham of Purple Asparagus; Breakfast Queen Ina Pinkney; Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia; and Judson Todd Allen, a Chicago native whose flavorful spice-forward cuisine is well-known to TV audiences.
- Saturday’s Good Food Festival includes FamilyFarmed’s new series, Good Food Is Good Medicine, a public-focused program to promote the connections between Good Food and good health.
- The Organic Valley Good Food Commons features 30 minute micro-workshops organized thematically by resource centers, each focusing on important topics within the Good Food movement such as growing food, raising animals, learning culinary skills, and composting as well as testing your own where attendees are invited to bring in a sample of their backyard soil for testing.
- Saturday’s Good Food Festival will again be family-friendly with FREE admission and programming for children including the Purple Asparagus' Kids Corner and Scavenger Hunt