Founder and President, FamilyFarmed.org
Jim Slama founded FamilyFarmed at a time when few people recognized the term “Good Food movement,” and demand for locally, sustainably, humanely, and fairly produced food was still a tiny sliver of the overall consumer market. Under Slama’s leadership during more than 15 years since, FamilyFarmed has become an important catalyst in the booming, consumer-driven rise of the movement, helping to build a robust Good Food cluster in its home base of Chicago while expanding the national scope and impact of its work.
In 2004, Slama created FamilyFarmed’s highest-profile event, the Good Food Trade Show. Held each March in Chicago, the event — the nation’s oldest and biggest trade show focused on local and sustainable food — has evolved into the three-day Good Food Festival and Conference.
The Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference was launched in 2009 in partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since then more than 50 businesses have pitched investors at the conference and more than a dozen have successfully raised more than $14.5 million in debt and equity financing. More than 80 angel investors, venture capitalists, banks, and other investors are now seeking to put capital into Good Food companies in the region.
To build on this momentum, Slama created the Good Food Business Accelerator in 2014. It is based at 1871, Chicago’s center for innovation and business incubation. The Accelerator program provides competitively selected entrepreneurs with a six-month program that includes a curriculum, mentorship, technical assistance, and networking opportunities with potential investors.
These remarkable achievements stem from Jim’s belief that the surest way to change the food system is through market-based solutions. New Venture Advisors traces its roots to Jim’s vision, and we credit much of our work to his drive and determination to revolutionize the food industry.