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sustainable food discussion to innovation

First-Ever Food Ag Ideas Week


Coming up this month is the first-ever Food Ag Ideas Week, an event devoted to bringing together thought leaders from across the food and agriculture industries to lead discussions on topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to food innovation and tech. To learn more about this exciting event, AURI sat down with the week’s primary planner, Lauren Pradhan, Director of Grow North MN.

What is FAI Week?

Food, Ag, Ideas Week is October 8th-12th in Minneapolis/St. Paul and is 5 days of individually ticketed events and experiences designed to showcase and drive connectivity to Minnesota’s growing food and agriculture entrepreneur and innovation community. It spotlights some of the incredible leaders and innovators across sustainable agriculture, food innovation and tech, and food and society.

How did the idea for it come about?

Leading Grow North, I have the privilege of meeting leaders across the sector – entrepreneurs, civic leaders, non-profit, for profit, corporate. I would hear a desire to get different communities together, to be louder about what is happening here, and to create more opportunities to network collectively in our ecosystem. So we saw an opportunity to build something for those already in the ecosystem to ‘crash’ together and create authentic connections as well as be an invitation to those that are not involved but want to be.

What is the goal or mission of FAI week?

The goal is to increase exposure and connectivity to our ecosystem so that we increase engagement and investment in our community which will hopefully lead to the acceleration of business growth. This community has so much potential since we have such a legacy and world of expertise in food and agriculture, and now is the time to maximize it.

Is it considered a single event or a week’s worth of events?

FAI Week is a series of individually ticketed events and experiences. We have over 20+ events to choose from and people can build their own schedules to make it work for them. From benchmarking across the country, we knew that conferences and events like this can be very expensive with travel and ticket prices and that creates a barrier for a lot of people. So we wanted to challenge the model and make each event have its own ticket and through the incredible support of our partners, we have been able to make the price point very accessible. We also offer free scholarship tickets for non-profits, just starting out entrepreneurs and students.

Can you tell us about some of the expected highlights for the week?

We have an amazing line up of events including a free opening keynote with Jeff Harmening, CEO and Chairman of the Board of General Mills with Kerri Miller of MPR News, diverse panels on everything from The Continued Rise of Small Food Brands, Plant Proteins, Ag Innovation and Craft Beer, Reimagining School Nutrition to a Farmtech Innovation experience with Land O’ Lakes. We are also thrilled to partner with AURI as they launch their Nexus of Food and Health Forum on Thursday as well as collaborating on a panel on Hemp, MN and Creating a New Industry.

Who benefits from attending FAI week events?

This is an opportunity for individuals and leaders who are in the food, agriculture, beverage sector as well as those who are interested to come together. We have already seen people register from many of the large corporates in town, investors from across the country, entrepreneurs of all sizes, students and more. We have designed all of our events for networking, so participants will get to not only meet each other but
the panelists.

To learn more about FAI week, view an agenda of the week’s events or obtain tickets, visit