At the 2022 event, we heard from panelists Brady Barnstable (Seven Sundays), Craig Kaiser (Cry Baby Craigs), and Sharon Richards-Noel (West Indies Soul Food) about how they share their story with customers and fans.




Following the Buyers Expo, food businesses are invited to come together for discussion and networking around specific topics, along with technical assistance providers who can offer guidance.

Bring your burning questions about your latest challenges!

Below are the technical assistance providers who will be available to share their expertise; read to find the main topic as well as their description of the scope of their work.

All five sessions will be held concurrently for session #1, then repeated for session #2, so each entrepreneur can participate in two topic discussions, if desired.





Below are the session presenters for the

2023 FEAST! Local Foods Tradeshow

Mini Sessions



Agricultural Utilization Research Institute

Jason Robinson, Michael Sparby & Lolly Occhino

TOPIC: Scaling your Food Business


AURI is a MN nonprofit corporation with a mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products.  You can think of us as a consultancy of experienced scientists, engineers, and economic developers that provide affordable and accessible service.  Our food focus area provides food/consumer science and food safety expertise and infrastructure to solve technical problems and provide guidance for food businesses utilizing MN ag products.


Brand Yourself Consulting

Tami Enfield

TOPIC: Marketing

Tell your story, connect with customers, and grow your business using social media. Tami’s session will help you think differently about how to use social media. You’ll learn what types of content will move the needle on your bottom line and create fans for life.

Tami is a brand strategist for small businesses and personal brands alike. With noteworthy certifications from the Brand Builders Group, StoryBrand, and Business Made Simple - she is highly regarded as an expert when it comes to authentically connecting brands to their customers using social media and other digital strategies.



Food Finance Institute

Peter Robertson

TOPIC: Finance - Do Pricing Right

Working with retailers and buyers can present new challenges when it comes to pricing your products. But how do you know when the price is right? Join the Food Finance Institute’s Food Brand Expert-in-Residence, Peter Robertson, to learn how to structure your pricing so that it aligns with your business’ larger financial position.

While touring Europe as a stage carpenter for dance companies, Peter Robertson fell in love—with the food of Italy. He began studying the traditional fresh pasta that was a staple of the Italian food he loved and ultimately, began making authentic fresh pasta on his own.

Robertson moved to Madison, Wisconsin and opened RP’s Pasta Company in 1995. In 2008 he developed the best fresh gluten-free pasta for a friend that was diagnosed with celiac disease and grew the business from $1 million to $5 million in 5 years. The fresh gluten-free pasta was so successful that it was rebranded Taste Republic Gluten Free and led to the sale of the company to become Tribe 9 Foods. From there he pushed the sales north of $15 million.

RP’s fresh traditional pasta and Taste Republic Gluten Free fresh pasta is distributed to hundreds of restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States.

Today Peter continues to make fresh pasta at home and consults with emerging food brands, and he’s still in love.


Forward Food Solutions

Elise Forward

TOPIC: Moving Forward with Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Questions

Join Elise Forward, President and Principal Consultant of Forward Food Solutions, to discuss your food safety, regulatory and quality questions. Elise uses her production, auditing, distribution, and supply chain experience to help companies to comply with regulations and strengthen their food safety and quality systems. She regularly helps companies on federal regulatory issues as well as getting them ready to launch into large markets with more stringent requirements.  Bring your food safety, regulatory, and quality questions and discussion topics to launch your business past these hurdles.

Elise Forward is the President and Principal Consultant of Forward Food Solutions, dedicated to helping food manufacturers, distributors, and importers in both the international and domestic markets. Elise uses her production, auditing, distribution, and supply chain experience to help companies to comply with regulations and strengthen their food safety and quality systems.  She is a member of IAFP, ASQ, IFT, and MWFPA.



Minnesota Department of Agriculture New Markets Program

Brian Erickson & Jennifer Alexander

TOPIC: New Markets

Brian Erickson, New Markets Program Manager with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Marketing & Development Division, has more than 30 years of expertise tailoring programs that provide a competitive advantage to Minnesota food and beverage companies.  Jennifer Alexander, Food Business Development Admin of Ag Marketing, brings her experience as an entrepreneur as well as her passion for CPG brand development, strategic sales and marketing to the table.  Together, they will field your business development questions as well as share State resources that can help you grow your business and expand your market reach.  Resources include:

  • Marketing Investment Cost-Share Funding
  • Minnesota Pavilion Tradeshow events
  • Other MDA resources for business development
    • Commercial Kitchen Directory
    • Co-Packer Directory
  • Other MDA grants







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