Uncategorized| March 27, 2019

Crystal Vision From The 15th Anniversary EXPO

by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed

FamilyFarmed’s 15th Anniversary Good Food EXPO in Chicago, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, covered all the bases of the fast-growing Good Food movement.

The Good Food Trade Show on Friday, March 22 presented an Opening Symposium featuring the wisdom and insights of industry leaders and a preview of Naturally Chicago, an important new FamilyFarmed program; panels on Good Food business and entrepreneurship, farming, and policy; and a Networking Reception that included the presentation of the 2019 Good Food Chef of the Year Award to Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe and Marisol.

The free Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 23 featured leading culinary artists at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Chefs at Play Stage; an expanded series of Good Food Is Good Medicine panels; the Organic Valley Good Food Commons, a haven for do-it -yourselfers; and the Purple Asparagus Kids’ Corner leading the family-friendly fun.

And both days featured the Good Food Marketplace where many of the Midwest’s best farm and food producers exhibited — extending a tradition dating to the first EXPO in 2004, a trade show aimed at connecting local farmers with buyers.

“We are proud that the Good Food EXPO has been a catalyst of the growth of the Good Food movement,” said Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed’s CEO and founder. “The Board of Directors and I want to thank all of the sponsors, attendees, exhibitors, speakers, moderators and volunteers — and our hard-working staff — for making the 15th Anniversary EXPO such a success.”

Please enjoy these photos, which capture just a fraction of all that the EXPO presented.

The Good Food EXPO kicked off on March 22 with its annual Opening Symposium. Walter Robb (left) — the longtime co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and now the founder of Stonewall Robb Advisors — was interviewed by FamilyFarmed CEO Jim Slama about the growth of Good Food since the first EXPO in 2004 and Whole Foods’ role in stimulating consumer demand for better food. Photo: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
FamilyFarmed formally announced its exciting new Naturally Chicago program with a panel that included (from right) FamilyFarmed CEO Jim Slama, Presence Marketing Vice President Milton Zimmerman, SPINS President of Client Growth Solutions Anu Goel, New Hope Network Senior Vice President Carlotta Mast, KeHE CEO Brandon Barnholt, and Skinny Souping CEO Alison Velazquez. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed
Participating in the Opening Symposium’s New Markets for Local Food Producers panel were Stacie Sopinka of US Foods, Kelly Cosgrove of Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Melissa Flynn of Green City Market, Irv Cernauskas of Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks and the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance, Bill Stavrou of Foodhaul, and Jim Slama of FamilyFarmed. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed
EXPO season is also awards season. Jim Slama presented the 2019 Good Food Business of the Year Award to Luke Saunders of Farmer’s Fridge (top), a special Good Food Advocate Award to Arthur Neal of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, and the 2019 Good Food Chef of the Year Award to local farm-to-table pioneer Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe and Marisol. Photos: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
Thought leadership panels on the afternoon of the March 22 Good Food Trade Show included Women in Food, whose panelists included (from right) Jenny Yang of Phoenix Bean/Jenny’s Tofu, Katlin Smith of Simple Mills, and Kim Feil of Aspire Drinks; and Farm to Table: Keeping It Real; Panelists (from left) were Casey Cora of the Frontera Farmer Foundation, Dave Rand of Local Foods, moderator Mitchell Davis of the James Beard Foundation, Greg Gunthorp of Gunthorp Farms, and Amy Randazzo of Grani’s Acres. Photos: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed (top); Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed (bottom)
The free Good Food Festival on March 23 featured an expanded program of Good Food Is Good Medicine panels. From top, FamilyFarmed Board Chair Charlotte Flinn introduced Dr. Melinda Ring, executive director of Northwestern’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, for a presentation titled The Road to Wellness is Paved With Good Food; chef prodigy Mikey DiTomasso, a competitor in Fox’s Master Chef Junior Season 6, demoed hummus as an after-school snack as Tiffany McDowell of The Equity Institute — moderator of the Healthy Food, Healthy Families panel — looked on; and “The ABCs of CBD” panel, on the hot topic of hemp extract as a wellness tool, included Dave Donnan of A.T. Kearney (a FamilyFarmed Board member) and Jessica Hochman of SPINS. Photos: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed
The ever-popular Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Chefs at Play Stage featured Erling Wu-Bower of Pacific Standard Time (top); the husband and wife team of Spiaggia chef/owner Tony Mantuano and wine consultant Cathy Mantuano; and chef/culinary educator Alia Dalal with Dr. Derek Robinson of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, as well as Dave Miller of Baker Miller, Sandra Holl of Floriole with Melissa Graham of Purple Asparagus, and Carolina Diaz of Terzo Piano. Photos: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
The Organic Valley Good Food Commons and the Good Food Festival provided workshops for do-it-yourselfers, including one that featured a live chicken. Photo: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
The Purple Asparagus Kids’ Corner is one of the most enduring segments of the Good Food Festival. Photo: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
A sampling of scenes from the EXPO’s Good Food Marketplace. Photos: Christopher Dilts/FamilyFarmed
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Bob Benenson


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