The 11th Annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on November 6 was a dazzling success… thanks to our attendees, speakers, panelists, sponsors, hosts, chefs, food and beverage providers, Pitch Slam contestants and judges, and Financing Fair exhibitors. FamilyFarmed, its Good Food Accelerator, and Naturally Chicago are so grateful to everyone for their participation, support, and dedication to a bigger and better food and natural products business ecosystem.

The 11th annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference is the Midwest’s premier gathering for thought leaders, innovators, stakeholders and entrepreneurs across Chicago’s booming Good Food and Natural Products landscape. If you are involved in any facet of the business of building a better food system, do not miss the Conference!


Keynote Speaker

Once Upon a Farm-Photo by Brian Bowen Smith

Seth Goldman, Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, Founder of Honest Tea

Keynote speaker Seth Goldman is Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, whose plant-based burgers, sausage and other meat alternatives are transforming people’s dining habits. Beyond Meat had a hugely successful IPO this spring. Goldman’s role at Beyond Meat segued from his earlier big success, as founder and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea, which he sold to Coca-Cola.

After his keynote speech, Goldman will be joined for a panel discussion with investors including Pete Speranza, who runs General Mills’ 301 Inc. venture capital group, and Christina Rohr of Seed to Growth (S2G) Ventures. Carlotta Mast, Senior Vice President of Content & Insights for New Hope Network and the Naturally Products EXPOs East and West will moderate.

Pete Speranza

Cristina Rohr

Carlotta Mast

Fireside Chat

Kimbal Musk

Once Upon a Farm-Photo by Brian Bowen Smith

Kimbal Musk is a chef, restaurateur and philanthropist. He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of three real food companies that are rapidly scaling across the U.S. The Kitchen Restaurant Group serves real food at every price point, and sources food from American farmers, stimulating the local farm economy to the tune of millions of dollars a year. His non-profit organization, Big Green, builds permanent outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools across America, reaching more than 350,000 students every day. And his tech-enabled urban farming company, Square Roots, grows hyper-local real food — year-round — while empowering the next generation of farmers.

Dave Donnan

Once Upon a Farm-Photo by Brian Bowen Smith

Dave Donnan is Partner Emeritus with the A.T. Kearney Global Management Consulting Firm. He was the longtime Global Food and Beverage lead, and is widely recognized as an industry leader with a diverse background who actively speaks and writes on topics of importance to the agriculture, food and beverage, retail, and restaurant industries. Dave has presented at a variety of industry conferences for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Restaurant Association, and the Retail Council of Canada. His latest ventures include serving as a board member of Rubicon Organics, a Canada-based cannabis company, and as investor/adviser to Chicago’s Spiral Sun Ventures.

Additional Highlights

Big Food + Good Food: Building Strategic Partnerships…  Breakthrough Entrepreneurs Talk Innovation… Naturally Chicago Pitch Slam Competition (with $100,000+ prize package)…  Financing Fair… Chefs for Change Fundraising Reception with great food and a Successful Exits Panel 


Featured Speakers

Stephanie Morimoto

Owner & CEO, Asutra

Luke Saunders

Founder and CEO, Farmer’s Fridge

Kurt Seidensticker

Founder and CEO, Vital Proteins

Katlin Smith

Founder and CEO, Simple Mills

Brigette Wolf

Head of SnackFutures Innovation, Mondelēz International


Pitch Slam & Financing Fair

11 Compete in Pitch Slam — $100K+ in Prizes!

Click to meet the 11 entrepreneurs competing in the 2019 Naturally Chicago Pitch Slam at the Conference. The prize package, valued at over $100,000, includes a booth and opportunity to pitch at Expo East 2020! 

Learn More about the Pitch Slam

What is the Financing Fair?

Entrepreneurs will gain visibility and connect with investors, funders, lenders, and service providers who can help them grow their businesses. Spark new relationships, network and exchange ideas!

Learn More About the Financing Fair

Chefs for Change Fundraising Reception

Help support the business-building and community-building work of the Good Food Accelerator and Naturally Chicago by joining the Chefs for Change Fundraising Reception, immediately following the Financing & Innovation Conference at Morgan Manufacturing. Savor delicious food from six of Chicago’s renowned chefs: Chefs for Change co-chairs Carolina Diaz of Terzo Piano and Charlie McKenna of Lillie’s Q, plus Paul Fehribach of Big Jones, Goat Group Catering by Stephanie Izard, Devon Quinn of Eden, and Jenny Yang of Jenny’s Tofu. The highlight of the evening’s program will be a panel on Successful Exits (see below). Visit the Chefs for Change page for all details.

Successful Exits Panel at Chefs for Change Reception

The highlight of the evening’s program will be a panel on Successful Exits. It will describe the experiences of founders of regional companies that have sold to larger entities. Panelists include Andrew Friedman, founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn; Tera Johnson, founder of Tera’s Whey; Matt Matros, founder of Protein Bar; and Scott Mandell, founder of Enjoy Life Foods. Laird Koldyke of Winona Capital moderates.

A separate ticket is required for the Chefs for Change fundraising reception and panel. Click the button below to purchase.

2019 Conference Presented by Presence Marketing

Conference Supporters





Good Food Accelerator Lead Funders

Food & Beverage Partners

Media & Promotional Partners