From the farm ...

An interview with Conor Butkus from FamilyFarmed.org at Green Festival Chicago 2013.One of the places we stopped by at this weekend’s Green Festival was the FamilyFarmed.org booth … the folks who produce the Good Food Festival and Conference (which Ed attended a few weeks back). It’s hard to pin down in a few words exactly what they’re about, however, as they’re a part of another organization, and have different projects which are under their umbrella … here’s a bit from their site:

FamilyFarmed.org began as a project of Sustain, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. One of Sustain’s most significant victories was the Keep Organic Organic Campaign … This passion for the organic and local food movements inspired the Sustain board to consider developing a “Buy Local” campaign to encourage consumers to purchase locally grown, responsibly produced food and vegetables. After examining the marketplace, researchers concluded that there was very little organic food being grown locally. … FamilyFarmed.org is a sophisticated system designed to connect local food producers with trade buyers and consumers on a regional level. FamilyFarmed.org helps consumers and trade buyers develop trusting relationships with farmers and artisanal food producers by sharing information about their values and production methods.

Their mission statement reads: “FamilyFarmed.org 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.”, which sort of puts them in the role of facilitators in the greater organic/locally-produced/etc. food niche. We spoke with Conor Butkus there, and this was what he had to say:

Again, there are quite a number of programs that they run, which include the following:

  • Good Food Festival & Conference
  • Food Hubs
  • Market Development
  • Good Food Business Accelerator
  • Farmer Training
  • Good Food Financing
  • Food Safety
  • Farm-to-School
  • Food Access

Aside from all the above, they also put out a guide (in cooperation with The Local Beet group) of where to find farmers offering CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture packages), which is certainly handy, given how quickly these tend to get totally booked with the increasing popularity of local agriculture!

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