This October Grow North is hosting Food I Ag I Ideas week (FAI), an event created to elevate and connect Minnesota’s food and ag ecosystems while creating an invitation for the world to engage. The week-long event, which includes themed days and informational tracks for participants, will be held from Friday, October 1st through Thursday October 7th.
Currently in its fourth year, FAI has become a popular event for individuals, entrepreneur groups and companies throughout Minnesota and the region thanks to its diversity of topics and perspectives from across food and agriculture. Each year, FAI brings together corporate, non-profit, and civic leaders to share perspectives on industry leading topics within sustainable agriculture, food innovation, and tech and food and society.
This year’s event will be a little different from past years as there will be both in-person and virtual elements for attendees. Each track day will begin with a face-to-face networking breakfast event, where individuals can meet and discuss their backgrounds, their current endeavors and areas of interest. These will be followed by a series of virtual informational panel discussions on topics ranging from Minnesota’s agricultural ecosystem to the CPG sector of the Upper Midwest. Then, each evening will conclude with more in-person networking opportunities at various event spaces around the Twin Cities.
Serendipitous connections make the world go round and have been greatly missed,” said Allison Hohn, Executive Director of Grow North. “So, we are really excited to make those moments happen again by bringing people together in one place and giving them the platform to share ideas and discuss opportunities.”
Another difference this year is a larger focus on business and entrepreneurism across socially disadvantaged communities. Hohn said, some of the things that have bubbled up in the past year with everything that’s happened locally, nationally and globally from an equity standpoint, is people are starting to ask the tough questions and shed light on where inequities have been across socially disadvantaged communities—how can we better support and ensure programs are in place and questions are being asked?
That’s more prominent across many of the FAI conversations.
What can participants expect?
Each day offers it’s own theme and supporting virtual educational panels for attendees, as well as in-person networking opportunities in the mornings and evenings. Some highlights of the event include:
+ A Keynote conversation between Dr. Mark Steffen, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Laura Driscoll, Chief Executive Officer of Project Well
+ A minority tradeshow event for women and BIPOC community members
+ A farm tour at Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed
+ Virtual sessions on leading food and ag innovation topics
+ A live pitch event competition with cash prizes
+ Crash the Farmgate Happy Hour and TechStars demo day
The cost of registration ranges from $40 to $100 for a week-long pass to all events.
To learn more, visit foodagideas.com