Green City Market and the City of Chicago to host Chicago Farmer Forum

1/20/2010

Note: This event is open only to farmers, market vendors/producers and chefs interested in buying direct from farmers.

Green City Market and the Mayor's Office of Special Events present the Chicago Farmer Forum, Saturday, February 6, 2010, at Kendall College, 900 North Branch (just north of Chicago Ave. on Halsted Street, FREE parking lot), sponsored in part by Country Financial.

This event promotes local food and farms by helping farmers, market managers, and chefs connect. In addition, farmers can learn how to become part of Green City Market and the city markets, as well as improve their direct sales and learn how to better market their products and services. Pre-registration is required, call 312-744-9493 by February 4th to register.

The Farmer Forum begins at 9am and ends with a networking session at approximately 3pm. More than 100 farmers, producers and chefs are expected to attend this highly anticipated industry event. In addition, farmers can meet with insurance specialists on-site to learn more about risk assessment and management as well as about financial planning and meeting insurance needs.

After the keynote address from Francis Thicke, dairy farmer and winner of the 2009 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture, two simultaneous panel discussions will take place.

The first will be a chef panel (moderated by Peggy Ryan, chef instructor at Kendall College) with Paul Virant (Vie), Rob and Allie Levitt (Mado), Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe and Nightwood). Chefs will be discussing the direct farmer relationship, and what works and what doesn't.  Share success stories of farmer relationships, talk through challenges of deliveries, pricing, how much info do you put on the menu and discuss how to educate restaurant staff.

The second will be a farmer panel (moderated by Amy Cox from Slow Food Chicago) with Vicki Westerhoff (Genesis Growers), Portia Belloc-Lowndes (Heritage Prairie), Deb Hansen (Simply Wisconsin Farmer's Co-op) and Ted Richter (Heritage Prairie). The panel will discuss how to diversify and increase revenue on the farm throughout the whole year.  Farmers will discuss starting co-ops, CSAs, hosting special events on the farm and season extending strategies.

To find out more, call the Mayor’s Office of Special Events 312-744-3316.

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