Thursday, December 5th
Move-in: 6:00 - 8:00 PM (for Tradeshow and Festival Exhibitors)
Friday, December 6th
Move-in: 7:00 - 9:30 AM (for Tradeshow and Festival Exhibitors) *Booths must be set up by 9:30 am.
Tradeshow schedule (see more information here: https://www.local-feast.org/tradeshow2019)
7 am check-in/booth setup 8 am Breakfast, networking 9 am Welcome 10 am - 2 pm Buyers' Expo, booths must be staffed 12 pm Lunch 2 - 3 pm Buyers Panel 3 - 4 pm Support Services intros & networking 4:15 - 5:15 pm Marketing Panel 5:30 - 6:00 pm Awards Ceremony
Saturday, December 7th
Move-in: 7:00 AM - 9:30 AM - (For Festival Only Exhibitors) *Booths must be set up by 9:30 am.
10 am Festival opens, booths must be staffed
Lunch is on your own, please plan accordingly
4 pm Festival Closes
4 - 6 pm Load out
Volume Three —now available!
This consumer magazine-meets-trade journal explores the ins and outs, successes and challenges, of the local food movement in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Find it at grocery cooperatives in the tri-state area, or contact us to find copies near you.
Digital version coming soon!
Can you help fuel the resilient local foods revolution?
Interested in being a part of Vol. 4?
Contact Elena Byrne
Volume Two (Fall 2019)
Volume One (Fall 2018)
Click on logos to go to their websites!
For a closer look, see the Feast! blog for write-ups on a sampling of businesses.
For a map of exhibitors, click the thumbnail image at right.
The Feast! Local Foods Network also supports small businesses in the food industry with peer networking meetings. Regional local foods entrepreneurs get together and share ideas, struggles, and successes.
“The demand for local foods in our region is increasing,” said SMIF Vice President of Economic Development Pam Bishop. “We see growth in the local foods sector as a great economic development opportunity for our region. However, for businesses to step up and meet this demand, they need a range of business support. This peer network is one tool to help strengthen these local foods enterprises and our regional economy as a whole”
If you have any questions regarding the Peer Network, please contact Pam Bishop at PamB@smifoundation.org or 507-455-3215.
The Grow a Farmer Fund provides small-scale sustainable farmers low interest loans to help them improve their operations and increase their bottom lines.
WHY IS THIS FUND NEEDED?
While we all love the idea of small and mid-sized farms growing great food for our tables, the reality is that small-scale farming is hard work and it is challenging to make a decent living. On top of that, small-scale farmers are the folks that have the hardest time securing bank financing because they often lack collateral, are too small, or are trying something new (and thus are too risky for traditional lenders.) A handful of programs do provide small loans and grants to these type of farmers, and this program will complement those funds.
WHO IS BEHIND THIS?
The Grow a Farmer fund builds on years of work by many businesses and organizations (including natural food co-ops, farm-to-table restaurants, non-profit organizations, and farmers!) that are working to improve our food system and reshape the local food economy. These are people who care deeply about improving the food system, helping farmers, and preserving the land. The Grow a Farmer Fund is one step in the bigger vision that has been emerging – a vision where farmers who are committed to growing good food while being good stewards of our natural resources are able to make a respectable profit.
This initiative is one part providing accessible financing to small farms and one part giving good food citizens a means to invest in the kind of farms we want more of: those that contribute to a healthy food system and thriving local economy.
While a number of organizations and individuals have been involved in getting us this far – a core group began this work: Renewing the Countryside, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the Sustainable Farming Association, Shared Capital Cooperative, Feast Local Food Network, and Regeneration Partnership. We continue to add additional partners such as Mill City Farmers’ Market, Impact Hub MSP, the Food Building, and Birchwood Cafe. We hope to be able to add your name to the list!
WHERE DID THE FUNDS COME FROM?
The funds for this program were donated by individuals and organizations during a campaign we launched in 2016. This donation-based fund is a step on the road to creating more pathways for good food citizens to invest in the kinds of farms and food systems that we want to see flourish. In the future, we expect to have investment options in addition to donation options.
With the Grow a Farmer Fund, we are supporting farmers and also learning more about the needs and challenges both to farmers and with this type of lending. This will serve as a proof of concept for broader Slow Money initiatives.
We are looking to people like you and me – who love good food and understand the financial challenges that small-scale sustainable farmers face – to support this fund. We are organizing to meet these challenges using a Slow Money approach to keep local money in the community and build a thriving local economy.
WHO MANAGES THE FUND?
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with Slow Money Minn. and Feast Local Food Network, houses the Grow a Farmer Fund. SMIF is a well respected and established community foundation that serves the twenty counties of southeast and south central Minnesota. SMIF has generously agreed to donate their time and expertise to manage this fund. SMIF manages a number of loan funds and has extensive experience working with small businesses. An advisory team, with expertise in small farms businesses, will work alongside SMIF staff to assist in reviewing applications and ensuring the process works for small farms.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Small farms using sustainable practices who can demonstrate that a small loan can improve their operations and increase their bottom lines. In this phase of the project, we will focus on farms that are located in the FEAST Local Foods Region, which covers the 20-county service area of the fund administrator, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. These counties are: Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Le Sueur, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona. If all goes well, we’ll work to expand this initiative to other regions of the state.
HOW DOES THE LOAN PROGRAM WORK?
The Grow a Farmer Fund provides loans of up to $15,000 to small farms for projects that will improve their operations and increase their bottom line. The eligible projects are broad because every farm business is different. Examples might include building a winter greenhouse to extend the growing season, automating systems that increase efficiency (think watering systems for veggies or livestock), or covering start-up costs for perennial crops that are great for the environment, but don’t start paying back for a few years.
The process is straightforward and transparent. Farmers will fill out a user-friendly application form, provide references, and provide financial paperwork. A lending committee comprised of SMIF lending staff and small farm advisors will review the applications based on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. The review committee will also look beyond collateral and credit scores in making a determination. A key factor will be demonstrating a viable business plan with market opportunity. Repayment terms and loan interest will vary and will be determined by the discretion of the loan review committee.
As these farms grow, the fund recipients will repay their loans. That money will then go back into the loan fund and be available for other farmers. This way the money will continue to circulate in the community providing enduring support for small-scale sustainable farmers!
Why do we need a loan fund for small-scale farmers?
Surveys, interviews, and focus groups with Minnesota farmers have identified accessing financing as a challenge to business growth. While there are lenders that provide loans to farmers (and even a few who provide grants), many small-scale farmers do not fit the criteria required by traditional lenders because they lack collateral or are engaged in production systems that are outside of the norm. Furthermore, a number of farming systems – such as perennial crops – require patient capital – and most lenders are not set up to provide those sorts of terms. This fund does not replace the programs that are out there, but complements them, expanding options for farmers.
Why is small-scale farming not very profitable, when I pay so much for my local foods?
Though the costs for local or organic food can seem high, compared to other countries, most of us pay a much smaller percentage of our income on food. The margins for these farms are thin. This has to do with scale, subsidies (that most small farmers don’t qualify for), the risky business of running a business dependent on the weather, consolidation in food systems infrastructure, international trade laws that bring in cheap food imported from places where workers get paid very low wages and where environmental regulations are lax.
Why $100,000? Is it enough to make a difference?
We’ve started with $100,000 because it’s enough money to gauge how small loans to farmers can meaningfully boost their businesses. With $100,000 we can provide loans to at least 10 farmers and maybe more and we’ll be able to evaluate the impact of these investments and work out any kinks in the process.
What is the Slow Money Minnesota?
Slow Money Minnesota is an emerging network that connects people interested in building a better local food system. Together, we intend to increase the flow of knowledge and capital in support of local food makers and farmers. The network got off the ground through organizing by Renewing the Countryside, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Sustainable Farming Association, Shared Capital Cooperative, and the Feast Local Food Network and was supported through a grant from North Central SARE. The network has since expanded to involve other organizations and individuals, and we anticipate that it will continue to expand as we welcome others to join us.
What is the Slow Money movement?
The concept of Slow Money is about investing in the sort of future we want and doing so closer to home, with a focus on food systems. A national movement of over 31,000 people is working to bring Slow Money to communities across the US. The term Slow Money was coined by Woody Tasch. To learn more about Slow Money, visit https://slowmoney.org.
Is this an “investment”?
The Grow a Farmer fund is an investment in more prosperous farms and in a healthier food system. By donating to the loan fund you can sit back and watch your money “Grow a Farmer!” That said, we know people are eager for the type of investment model where you get your principal back with interest, or own a share of a company. Those models are in the making, but we don’t expect to see them emerge for at least a year. The Grow a Farmer fund was launched as a first step along the path to preferred Slow Money investing options in Minnesota. This pilot project will do more than help farmers, it will allow a community of donors to learn along the way.
Why do applicants have to be from the 20 counties of southeast and south central Minnesota?
The Grow the Farmer Fund originated out of the work of the FEAST Local Foods Network and is inspired by Slow Money Minnesota. The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), with their great financial team, understanding of loans and small business, and ability to accept donations, stepped up to manage the fund and have provided their services as a donation. Because of the way SMIF is organized, the funds must be focused on southeast and south central Minnesota, the communities where SMIF does its work.
Our vision is that this effort will grow and as it does we'll be able to partner with other entities like SMIF, that serve different regions so that we cover every corner of the state, maybe even expanding into Wisconsin – as we have many farmers across the border who are key to our local food system.
Have a question? Contact us!
Stay tuned for 2020 tradeshow information!
Sunday, December 6th, 2020
Stay tuned for more information!
Many thanks to our premier sponsors:
Interested in becoming a sponsor for 2020? Please contact Alissa at the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation at AlissaB@smifoundation.org or by calling 507-455-3215 ext. 107.
This unique FEAST! festival features local farms and foodmakers from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin that make our region special. They're part of a vibrant local foods culture and economy, adding richness to our landscape through land stewardship, job creation, and social benefit practices.The FEAST! event allows businesses the opportunity to expand their customer relationships and increase their wholesale markets. Sponsors of the event are making all of this possible. Can you help to fuel the local foods movement?
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Contact Pam at the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation:
Heartfelt thanks to the following 2019 sponsors for their generous support!
Silver Tablespoon Sponsors
Bronze Teaspoon Sponsors
Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)
D & S Gardens
REAP Food Group
Shopwise Magazine Rochester
Small Business Sponsor
Historic Hutchinson House B&B
Saint Peter Food Co-op
Save the date for the 6th Annual
Saturday, December 7th, 2019
10 AM - 4 PM | Rochester Mayo Civic Center
Directions and Parking
- Sip, sample and stock up on locally-made foods, from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
- Discover new flavors made with local ingredients to stock your pantry or gift your favorite foodie
- Spring for a VIP wristband to sample locally-crafted beer, wine and hard cider
Besides the market, you'll also enjoy...
FEAST! People's Choice voting
Rochester Downtown Farmers Market vendors within the festival
Wine and hard cider sales allowed for wristband ticket holders (6 bottle limit)
Online: beginning in October
At the door: $8/adults, $2/kids age 2-12, $25/VIP Wristband (includes admission, must be 21 with ID)
*Coupons will be available at the following locations:
- All participating FEAST! Restaurant Week venues (see the list)
- Minnesota Children's Museum Rochester
- People's Food Co-op, Rochester and La Crosse
Farmers, brewers and food makers are also marketers, accountants, managers, educators and more. In order to grow, it helps to have outside perspective and some subject matter experts on your side. The Feast! Smart Start Initiative was a one-year pilot program beginning in 2017. It supports farm and food entrepreneurs through technical assistance and customized, transformational coaching.
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is accepting applications from organizations to receive up to $10,000 to implement FEAST! Smart Start in their community. Up to 4 applicants will receive a total of up to $40,000 to support individual farm and food entrepreneurs through a defined, structured technical assistance and customized, transformational coaching process.
Strong food economies are dependent upon successful entrepreneurs. These individuals start and expand small scale farms, production and processing facilities, distribution hubs, and food transportation systems. This also includes small town grocers, local cafés and restaurants, caterers and food service businesses all of which specialize in including local foods on their shelves or menus.
Because these individuals who make up the food ecosystem are so important to the future of local food consumption and our agricultural economy, SMIF has created this special grant opportunity to build resources for creating a sustainable and resilient food economy for southern Minnesota. Business financing is important to success, but financing alone does not provide business leaders with the business acumen needed to develop and sell products and create jobs.
For more information, click here.
- Application Due: May 15, 2018
- Grant Awards Made: June 15, 2018
Feast is a low/zero waste event. Beyond recycling and minimizing waste, we promote organics recycling (composting) at the Mayo Civic Center. In their organics recycling program, all food scraps, soiled paper, food-service items and certified compostable foodware are placed in a single container. Waste Management picks up the waste and delivers it to a composting facility. After six to nine months, the material has been recycled into compost that is put to good use in landscaping and road construction projects.
All vendors at feast must use compostable food ware items to sample their products. This can be a simple as wooden toothpicks, paper cups and napkins. Please be aware that certain paper items, like dixie cups, are lined with plastic. Please look for certified compostable items.Compostable Sampling SuppliesHere are some good examples of compostable sampling supplies and sellers. Feast does not endorse any specific product or vendor. Contact email@example.com with questions.
Suggested Compostable Products:• Basic Paper portion cups - best for dry/cold products• Sturdy portion cups - better for hot and wetter/saucier products• 1oz PLA portion cups - can be used as shot glass for cold beverage tasting
Eli Goodwell published Feast Local Foods Network winds food stewardship award in FEAST! blog 2016-10-10 17:46:21 -0500
Bill Swanson, Lanesboro; Jane Olive, UMN SE Regional Sustainable Development Partnership; Devon Ballinger, Renewing the Countryside (RTC); Brett Olson, RTC; Jan Joannides, RTC; Tim Penny, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF); Eli Goodwell, RTC; Pam Bishop, SMIF; Neal Cuthbert, The McKnight Foundation
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., June 20, 2016 - The FEAST Local Foods Network and its partners won the Environmental Initiative Award in the Food Stewardship category on Thursday, May 26. This program, hosted by the nonprofit Environmental Initiative, annually honors projects that have achieved extraordinary outcomes by harnessing the power of partnership.
The FEAST Local Foods Network is a collaborative network across Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin of local foods advocates. The FEAST Network organizes the annual Feast! Local Foods Marketplace. Partners accepting the award included Renewing the Countryside, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), University of Minnesota Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Mayo Clinic and People's Food Co-op. The network was created to support local food producers and foodmakers by boosting access to financing, resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities...Read more
- Event Info
"Attending Feast reinforced our belief that there are many vendors we would not normally be exposed to. We understand that marketing is a big cost for vendors; Feast lets people in a concentrated way get their name out there." ~Retail grocery buyer
Are you a retail food business, foodservice business, food manufacturer or distributor? Are you interested in sourcing more local foods?
Join us on Friday, December 1st, 2017 for the fourth annual Feast! Local Foods Marketplace Tradeshow. You will have the opportunity to meet and sample products from over 100 food makers and farmers from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Don't miss the chance to participate in this event!REGISTER TODAY!Early Bird Rate - $15 on or before November 10thStandard registration - $25 (covers multiple people from one business)
Saturday, December 2nd - Public Festival