Entrepreneurs, industry leaders and problem solvers come together to drive visibility, connectivity and growth for Minnesota’s food and agriculture sector.
Registration is open for the second annual Food | Ag | Ideas Week in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., October 10-15, 2019. This event uniquely convenes entrepreneurs, for-profit and non-profit leaders, growers, investors and others to create a more interconnected, dynamic and competitive ecosystem for food and agriculture entrepreneurship and innovation.
"Through the support of our partners, we have created a highly accessible networking and educational event with events at low to no cost for problem solvers in food and agriculture. We need attendees at all levels to participate to cultivate a thriving ecosystem."
Food, Ag, Ideas Week features six days of panels, speakers, tours and demo showcases hosted in inspiring spaces with a build-your-own schedule format. This year, sessions are designed to offer perspectives from a cross section of the ecosystem from startups to Fortune 500 companies. The event breaks from the traditional conference model, offering individually ticketed events and sessions with dedicated networking time at low to no cost, to connect attendees from the ground up to the C-suite.
"It's an extraordinary time to be in the food and ag industry, and a critical time for Minnesota to spotlight its leadership," says Lauren Pradhan, founder/managing director of Grow North. "If we're intentional about increasing connections across the sector through events like Food, Ag, Ideas Week, not only will we help secure Minnesota's rightful place on the innovation map, but also accelerate the growth of ideas and businesses that will positively impact our food system."
A sampling of new events this year include:
From Field to Glass: Innovation in Brewing and Distilling, October 10 - A networking event dedicated to discussing opportunities to further use local ingredients in craft brewing and distilling. Led by AURI, BevSource, Renewing the Countryside and AgriGrowth.
Entrepreneur Education Day, October 11 - A full day for entrepreneurs to focus on scaling their businesses and maximizing their impact. Led by Grow North and partners.
Farm Tour to the Main Street Project, October 11 - A half-day tour of the 100-acre regenerative agriculture demonstration farm in Northfield, Minn.
Indigenous Peoples' Day Reception, October 14 - A networking reception featuring Chef Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef. Led by the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis.
2019 speaker sessions will address a variety of topics across sustainable agriculture, food innovation and tech, and food and society, such as:
Big Data and On-Farm Realities.
Keeping Good Food from Going to Waste.
How E-Commerce is Shaping the Future of Retail.
Innovation in Regenerative Agriculture.
Investing in Growth: A Conversation on Capital in Food and Agriculture.
Featured speakers from across the state and country will include:
Jeff Harmening, CEO and chairman of the board, General Mills.
Joan Gabel, president, University of Minnesota.
Danielle Gould, founder, Food + Tech Connect.
Sean Sherman, Creator/CEO, The Sioux Chef.
Leaders from General Mills, Land O'Lakes, Google, Shipt, SPINS, Seed 2 Growth Ventures (S2G) and more.
Entrepreneurs from Pipeline Foods, LocalCrate, City Girls Coffee, A Dozen Cousins, Conservis, Bushel, Yost Farm, Stoney Creek Farm, Olson Organics, Continuum Ag and more.
Bringing Everyone to the Table
"In Minnesota, we believe cultivating new ideas is a team effort, and we need to remove barriers to participation," Pradhan says. "Through the support of our partners, we have created a highly accessible networking and educational event with events at low to no cost for problem solvers in food and agriculture. We need attendees at all levels to participate to cultivate a thriving ecosystem."
Last year, more than 1,000 unique attendees from all over the country convened at the inaugural Food, Ag, Ideas Week. The event will coincide with Twin Cities Startup Week 2019 to fuel the region's collective effort to propel entrepreneurship and innovation.
Adds Angie Bastion, cofounder of BOOMCHICKAPOP® and a speaker at last year's Grow North event, "It's really exciting to see Minnesota's community for food and agriculture come together during Food, Ag, Ideas Week and spotlight innovators, entrepreneurs and experts from here and across the country."
Events will be led by Grow North, as well as AURI, the Canadian consulate general of Minneapolis, Esca Bona, The Good Acre, the Maker to Market local food accelerator and Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator. Support partners include presenting partner General Mills, Compeer Financial, Lazard, the Bush Foundation, Land O'Lakes, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the McKnight Foundation, Schwan's and more.
The Food, Ag, Ideas Week schedule is available at foodagideas.com. All sessions are open to the public and limited scholarships are available for Grow North events by application. Ticket prices vary. Grow North will offer complimentary on-site childcare by reservation, quiet spaces and mother's rooms.
Grow North is an initiative to accelerate and connect Minnesota's growing entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem for food and agriculture. Through education and connectivity programming as well as large-scale events, Grow North works to create an interconnected, sophisticated, invested and equitable ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate business growth, food system impact and make Minnesota a known leader in food and agriculture entrepreneurship and innovation. Grow North is an initiative of the Holmes Center of Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.