Congratulations to the Feast 2017 Buyers' Choice award winners!

Iowa: Agri-Cultured Foods

Wisconsin: Alsum Sweet Corn

Minnesota: Grandma's Gourmets


And thank you to the Buyers' Choice award sponsors:

Ag Ventures Alliance, Something Special from Wisconsin (TM), and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture!

For a glimpse of the 2017 event, take a look at this gallery:

Feast! 2017 Tradeshow



The focus of the tradeshow day is the exhibitors and buyers. New for 2017, we have opened registration to aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to attend educational sessions and observe the expo floor in action: click here for general tradeshow admission registration. Registration is also open for technical assistance providers to network with food businesses.

Starting at 8:30 am, the Food Entrepreneurs Forum will offer a keynote address, a range of workshops, access to technical assistance booths in the Support Services Mini Expo, and plenty of opportunities for networking. Growers and foodmakers will gain information on expanding sales, accessing new markets, and scaling up their oper­ations. Buyers will get a chance to meet established, new, and up-and-coming food makers in advance of the 2018 season.

There will be a break for a networking lunch, followed by a buyers panel and some time for networking and consultations, and then the tradeshow expo floor will open for buyers and producers from 3 - 6 pm.  

Friday evening we will host a buyer and exhibitor reception with music and local food and drink starting at 6 pm.

View the Feast 2017 Tradeshow Program HERE.


Featured collaboration for 2017:

Registered Feast! exhibitors are eligible for FREE REGISTRATION to attend the Midwest Food Products Association Convention, Wednesday, Nov 29 - Thursday, Nov 30 at the Mayo Civic Center!

Peruse the exhibits of 150 businesses that service the food manufacturing industry and attend breakout sessions offered by the Artisan Food Products Network especially geared towards small- to mid-sized regional businesses.

Read more and register HERE.  



2017 Schedule: Food Entrepreneurs Forum and Tradeshow








Exhibitor setup & registration



Exhibit Hall & Auditorium 



Support Services mini-Expo opens









Feast! planners






Keynote: Tough Love for Big Dreams


Tera Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Extension Food Finance Institute






Strategies for Financing your Business


Al Zeitz, Timberlake Orchards; Eric and Lisa Klein, Hidden Stream Farm

Sai Thao, Compeer Financial; Jude Conway, Ag Ventures Alliance 


McDonnell Room




Best Practices for Engaging Buyers


Tera Johnson, Food Finance Institute; Tony Saarem, GoMacro;

Jami and Christine Stoen, Mama Stoen's






Strategically Investing in Your Brand


Rita Katona, So Good, So You; Sarah Wangler, Sweet Marketing Success;

Emily Stickler, Curb Crowser


McDonnell Room




Entrepreneur Essentials


Tony Saarem, GoMacro;

Jami and Christine Stoen, Mama Stoen's




12:00 Networking Lunch*    Auditorium





Buyers Panel


  Mike Byrne, People's Food Co-op; Mindy Hauge, Whole Foods;

Ali Shouman, BUILD Sales Management, John Byom, Classic Provisions




Networking break*





3:00- 6:00 


Tradeshow Expo Open



 Exhibit Hall


6:00  VIP Reception 


 Rochester Art Center (North end of Mayo Civic Center)

 *Food safety consultations are available by appointment for the period of 12:00-3:00. Consultants listed below. Schedule online HERE.

*Entrepreneurs are encouraged to tour the Support Services Mini Expo during the networking breaks.

For specific questions about the Tradeshow schedule, email [email protected].


2017 Speaker & Consultant Bios


Tera JohnsonTera Johnson

Keynote Address: Tough Love for Big Dreams, 9am

Got big dreams for your business? You should, and Tera Johnson can give you some good reasons. From her background as founder of tera's whey to her current passion of helping entrepreneurs succeed through her work as Director of the UW-Extension's Food Finance Institute, her journey will inspire. She'll present her unique view of current trends in the food space, and remind you that you need to be tough in the face of the changing world. Tough enough to face the finances that will determine your longevity in the marketplace.

Tera Johnson is a serial entrepreneur whose mission is to create the next generation of environmentally and economically regenerative food and farming businesses. The founder of teraswhey®, Tera participated in the full arc of creating a successful investor-financed company. Now the founder of the Food Finance Institute at UW Extension, Tera is a frequent speaker, teacher, and financial consultant to sustainable food and farming businesses, social venture funds, and investors. 


Tim Jenkins, James Roettger, Lou Cha, Keri Plude

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Food Safety Specialists 

Jim Roettger has been with MDA for 34 years. working in compliance, enforcement, plan review, and inspection. He can answer most questions concerning the law and regulations., ie labeling, licensing, exemptions, special processes, HACCP. He's currently the licensing liaison and help desk staff for FFSD.


Lou Cha has worked for MDA for 10 years. As an Agriculture Advisor in the Manufactured Food Program, he conducts food manufacturing and food storage facility inspections. He also performs field training work with new inspectors. He is based in Rochester, MN. When he's not working he enjoys the outdoors and stays busy with three young sons. 



Keri Plude has worked for MDA for 10 years. As an Agriculture Consultant in the Manufactured Food Program, she performs inspections and handles training development and presentations along with specialized inspection work. She is based out of Chatfield, MN. When she's not working she enjoys spending time with her young daughters and showing horses.




Shannon M. Coleman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist, Food Safety, Iowa State University

Shannon M. Coleman is an Assistant Professor and State Food Safety and Consumer Production Extension Specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University (ISU). Dr. Coleman’s teaching, research and outreach efforts at ISU focus on improving food safety along the local food system which includes projects on best practices for home food and bakery operations (cottage foods), small (start-up) food manufactures, farmer’s market vendors, and gardeners.



Carol Johnson, RS, MSCarol Johnson

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Food Safety Specialist

Carol Johnson is a Food Scientist with Wisconsin DATCP working in the Food and recreational safety Division.  Carol works with food businesses assisting them with the licensing process, plan review and code interpretation.



Jude Conway, Ag Ventures Alliance

Strategies for Financing your Business, 10am

Jude has been involved with seed/venture funds for the past 30 years, currently with Ag Ventures Alliance out of Mason City, Iowa where he manages a fund that is fostering twenty-one companies from across the central United States from Minnesota to Texas. His background in food innovation includes founding the American Food Venture Forum, a conference to bring together the nation’s food technology companies and venture capital funds, held in conjunction with the World Food Prize. 


Lisa and Eric Klein, Hidden Stream Farm

Strategies for Financing your Business, 10am

Eric and Lisa Klein are the owners of Hidden Stream Farm LLC, a family operated farm and small local food distribution company in Elgin MN.  Just this spring they also opened Dover Processing a USDA inspected meat processing facility located in Dover, MN.  Eric and Lisa have been in the local food scene since 1999 when they started their very first farmers market with new baby in tow.  18 years and 6 kids later they still continue with farmers markets locally and provide local food distribution for their own products and other famers in a 100 mile radius.  They distribute primarily to the regional SE Minnesota and Twin Cities markets offering deliveries twice a week.  


Sai Thao, Compeer Financial

Strategies for Financing your Business, 10am

Sai Thao is lending officer of Mission Financing at Compeer Financial. Sai has worked with many entrepreneurs, helping them with a full range of services, including creating business plans, and guiding them on how to obtain financing for their businesses. Sai’s interest in agriculture and local food stems from growing up working at his family’s fruit and vegetable farms in California and Washington State.


Al Zeitz, Timberlake Orchard

Strategies for Financing your Business, 10am

Raised on a farm in Southern MN, Al served in the Marine Corps on Active duty for 9 years. He attended Southwestern Technical College and has worked in the wind industry for almost 24 years, currently at Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative as Renewable Energy Services Manager. He purchased Timberlake Orchard in October of 2015 and has plans to grow and expand the business.


Christine & Jami Stoen, Mama Stoen's

Entrepreneur networking track, 10am & 11am

Christine was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2009. After her diagnosis she was concerned about the shift in lifestyle and food choices for herself and her family. For 6 years she worked on creating a Gluten Free product that not only tastes great and is Gluten Free, but also excluded the top 8 allergens as well. The Stoen Family has enjoyed sharing their Mama Stoen's products with individuals who are in need of Gluten Free/Allergen Free products, and have taken a gloomy situation and found great pleasure in helping others. 


Tony Saarem, GoMacro

Entrepreneur networking track, 10am & 11am

Tony is Director of Operations at GoMacro, a vegan nutrition bar company based in Viola, WI. Tony joined GoMacro in 2011 when the company had 5 employees and manufacturing took place in a converted milk parlor. Since then, GoMacro has grown to over 70 employees, and sales have expanded by 2500%. Managing this rapid growth and business expansion has given Tony the unique experience of building a staff, a high-volume manufacturing process, a benefits program, workplace policies, and a nationally recognized brand, from the ground up.


Emily Stickler, Director of Strategy, Curb Crowser

Strategically Investing in your Brand,11am

Determined dreamer. Question asker. Insights lover. Adventure seeker, ultra runner & wannabe chef.

More specifically, a strategic marketing and communications leader with a passion for insights-driven strategy and creating programs for brands that deliver at market. With expertise in brand building, digital and social strategy, internal and external communications, executive communications, and media relations, Emily brings a diverse background of retail, non-profit, start-up and higher education work to her role at Curb Crowser.


Rita Katona, So Good, So You

Strategically Investing in your Brand,11am

Rita built on 12+ years in corporate retail, merchandising, e-commerce and procurement to launch her company, So Good So You, in 2014. Originally a cafe called "Juice So Good," the brand now includes additional cafe locations and three product lines that are carried by TARGET, Whole Foods, Kroger and specialty grocers. From her early childhood in Hungary she was instilled with a love for wholesome, pure foods—now translated into her company's mission. 


Sarah Wangler, MBA, Sweet Marketing Success

Strategically Investing in your Brand,11am

Sarah works for Sweet Marketing Success, specializing in food marketing and branding. Sweet Marketing Success nurtures business growth for iconic brands and start-ups (the next iconic brands) by helping companies create new brands, food packages, shipping/display cartons, websites, marketing/sales materials, and digital marketing. Sarah has an MBA in Food Marketing and is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional (CDMP), both from the University of St. Thomas. She is President of the Institute of Packaging Professionals-MN Chapter and past-president of Food & Consumer Science Professionals.



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