Mission: Familyfarmed is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food,in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.
Programs: Market development: creating new markets for family farmers is key to building local food systems, as more than 99% of agricultural products consumed in america are purchased through wholesale channels. The organization's current market development initiatives include: 1. Farmer training: familyfarmed has played an important role in helping farmers succeed with a comprehensive program and manuals that have trained more than 12,500 farmers in 42 states. The program includes our wholesale success and direct market success manuals and our food safety binder, and is designed to help small and mid-acreage fruit and vegetable farmers with one of the biggest challenges they face: growing their businesses. This program gives farmers the resources and tools they need to make sure their produce is of the highest quality, to manage food safety and other risks, and to nurture the relationships with customers that they need to be successful. Each training workshop can be customized to meet local grower needs. 2. Local food procurement: familyfarmed works to build the overall supply chain of local food by providing technical assistance to farmers, connecting wholesale buyers with producers, and helping to create infrastructure that supports the growth of these systems. Familyfarmed works with many leading buyers of local food, including whole foods market, chipotle, treasure island, local foods, us foods, kehe, unfi, mariano's, illinois restaurant association, fortune fish & gourmet, central grocers, anthony marano company, compass group, chicago public schools, mccormick place convention center, testa produce, aramark, farmlogix, midway airport, lettuce entertain you, and natural direct, plus many other supermarkets and restaurants, to connect them with local food sources. Mccormick place, the largest convention center in america, announced its intention to buy good food at the organization's trade show and now buys more than 40 percent of its food from local and or sustainable sources. 3. Organic grain promotion initiative: the organic grain promotion initiative ("ogpi") will support farmers in producing and selling organic grains, milled flours and legumes in the midwest region. Ogpi will connect buyers to producers in order to increase local production, infrastructure, supply and purchasing, as well as support farmers in increasing existing organic acreage or transitioning to organic.
good food business accelerator: the good food accelerator, launched by familyfarmed in 2014, provides competitively selected fellows with a six-month curriculum, mentoring, strategic and technical support, networking opportunities, and access to providers of capital or loans for new or growing good food businesses. Fellows participate in a program that builds business skills, pairs them with industry-leading mentors, and connects them to potential customers and investors. Nine businesses participated in each of the accelerator's first three cohorts 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. All 27 completed the program successfully, and all have cited benefits from participating in the program. The next cohort will participate in the program from november 2017 through april 2018.
good food expo & financing and innovation conference: familyfarmed's major annual event to advance the good food movement began in 2004 as the local organic trade show, the first event of its kind. The event has been foundational in building local food infrastructure and creating lasting relationships that have helped push the good food movement forward. A decade and more later, the demand for local food is greater than the supply, everyone is more conscious of where our food comes from, and large buyers including grocery stores, distributors, and institutions are rushing to keep up with the rapidly changing marketplace. This impactful event connects all parts of good food movement: it provides in-depth programming that helps grow local food procurement capacity; educate the public about the importance and impact of good food; engage local school districts; and discuss local, statewide, and national food policy. Now the oldest and largest gathering focused on locally and sustainably produced food, this event has been rebranded as the good food expo after running for several years as the good food festival & conference, and will next be held in chicago march 23-24, 2018. In addition, the good food financing & innovation conference which previously made up a third day of the good food festival & conference and includes a financing fair and business pitches for food and farm entrepreneurs is being spun off as a stand-alone event in june 2018.
food safety: familyfarmed's on-farm food safety project gives small to mid-acreage fruit and vegetable farmers the tools to comply with best practices in food safety. Growers have access to a free easy-to-use online tool developed in partnership with the usda, fda, and a wide range of national partners that guides them through the steps necessary to create a personalized food safety plan. By implementing their plan, farmers have the foundation in place to get gap-certified, a key requirement of most wholesale buyers. This tool is available in english and spanish at onfarmfoodsafety. Org. The website is undergoing a major technological update that will include information to help farmers conform with the requirements of recently implemented regulations under the federal food safety modernization act.