Chef-Farmer Mixer Registration Now Open!

Chef-Farmer Mixer Flyer Vertical

Are you a farmer looking to expand your markets? Are you a chef or restaurant manager in search of high-quality produce or new ways to make sourcing locally work for your kitchen? Join Illinois Stewardship Alliance and our partners at one of four Chef-Farmer Mixers in central Illinois this March, bringing together local chefs and farmers to create new partnerships and promote the use of locally grown food. This year’s mixers will feature two separate workshops – one for farmers and one for chefs – followed by a one hour networking session (see more details on workshops below). Local wine and appetizers will be served. Attendance is free, but registration is required. Register Here!

Dates and locations
March 2, 5- 8 p.m. – Peoria, Illinois Central College
March 9, 3 – 6 p.m.  – Champaign-Urbana, Urbana Civic Center
March 16, 3 – 6 p.m. – Bloomington-Normal, Epiphany Farms Restaurant
March 23, 3-6 p.m  – Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College

Free of cost, but registration required. Register Here!

Workshop for Farmers: MarketReady Training

While the demand for local food is growing, for farmers, the challenge of producing and marketing for wholesale buyers and restaurants can be daunting. Many farmers are hesitant, or unprepared, to meet the requirements of wholesale buyers and restaurants with regards to food safety, insurance, product quality, and traceability risks. The MarketReady program addresses the market development risks and relationships small farmers must manage as they seek to develop supplier relationships with restaurants, grocery, wholesale and foodservice buyers.

Market Ready training will be conducted by University of Illinois Extension Small Farms and Local Food System Educators (LFSSF).  The LFSSF Educators provide research-based information and educational programs for farmers, community members, decision-makers, and others involved in local food systems. LFSSF Educators develop educational resources for small farm producers, outreach to communities on issues related to local food systems, and team-based outreach efforts. They also work collaboratively in the development of initiatives and programs with other organizations in the area of small farms and local food systems. Learn more:

Workshop for Chefs: The Socially Responsible Chef with the Fiscally Responsible Bottom Line

For many chefs and food service professionals, the idea of sourcing locally or implementing sustainable practices may seem overwhelming and/or cost-prohibitive. Many chefs want to implement sustainable practices within their foodservice operations but are unsure as to what methods will achieve the most optimal results. In learning to create and lead a sustainable kitchen, Chefs can increase profits, lower operational costs, and attract new customers. In this interactive workshop, participants will jump into the hows and whys of socially responsible foodservice practices by learning how to capitalize on the demand for local/organic food. Chefs will learn how to implement sustainability best practices that create cost-effective purchasing practices. Many chefs believe that local farm foods are more expensive and therefore cost prohibitive to the menu. This workshop is designed to teach chefs some simple methods for implementing food waste monitoring systems and the menu marketing strategies that allow for and create the ability to maximize profits with farm, local, and fresh foods.

The Socially Responsible Chef Workshop is presented by Chef Greg Christian of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners. Greg Christian is a sustainable foodservice consultant, chef, author, and entrepreneur. His company, Beyond Green: Sustainable Food Partners, offers measured strategies and solutions for organizations interested in developing sustainable foodservice programs. Greg is the recipient of the 2013 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award and a B-Corporation Founding Member, with 32 years foodservice management and consulting experience. Greg is also the founder of Organic School Project. Learn more here:

Register Here

This event would not be made possible without the support of our sponsors:

American Culinary Federation Heart of Illinois ChapterBeyond Green PartnersDowntown Bloomington AssociationEpiphany Farms EnterpriseIllinois Central CollegeLincoln Land Community CollegeThe Land ConnectionUniversity of Illinois ExtensionUrbana’s Market at the Square, Peoria Riverfront Association