CHICAGO — Good Food EXPO is literally putting money where its mouth is this year.

It is offering 20 scholarships to specialty growers to attend the March 22-23 expo that celebrates local and sustainable food with the industry and the public in Chicago, one of the largest food markets in the nation.

“We’d love to see as many growers as possible to attend as exhibitors,” said Jacob Horn, who works on farmer training for FamilyFarmed, the Chicago-based organization hosting the two-day gathering.

The scholarships come courtesy of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that targets specialty crop growers who would like to exhibit and sell products, Horn said. The scholarship allows a discounted exhibitor rate.

“The big thing with the Good Food EXPO is that it facilitates relationships between farmers and buyers,” he explained. “We want to help farmers find more and more ways to through to new markets.”

Anyone interested in a scholarship can contact Horn at

Celebrating its 15th edition this year, here’s what else to know about the conference:

  • The conference has a taste of everything agriculture — a trade show, farmer and consumer workshops, farm policy discussion, tastings, demonstrations and more. What’s more it attracts a diverse audience any grower would want to meet: expert speakers, chefs, farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, buyers, sellers and even DIY enthusiasts.
  • Among the guest speakers are some folks already familiar to Illinois growers, including University of Illinois ACES Dean Kim Kidwell, Illinois Farm Bureau’s local foods expert Raghela Scuvuzzo, Illinois Extension staff, USDA officials and more.
  • Programming includes sessions on regenerative agriculture, industrial hemp, the Artisan Grain Collective, organic farm conversion, marketing farm products, dealing with wholesalers and more.
  • FamilyFarmed is nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing supply and demand for food produced as locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices.

Karen Binder can be reached at 618-534-0614 or Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Binder.


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