Senator Durbin and Governor Rauner Talk Importance of Locally Grown Food

Senator Durbin and Governor Rauner

Senator Durbin and Governor Rauner Talking About Local Food

Congratulations to Jim Slama and the FamilyFarmed team for hosting another amazing Good Food Festival and thanks to all the exhibitor companies for showing off their phenomenal products! This year’s event was extra special with visits both from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner; and Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin.

In his talk, Governor Rauner emphasized the importance of locally grown, sustainable, responsible, and healthy food. He recognized the innovation and leadership of the local farm movement that creates jobs and helps all residents lead stronger and healthier lives. The Governor also highlighted how local foods help make our environment be more sustainable. Governor Rauner recognized that agriculture is the backbone of Illinois’ economy. He stated that the presence of the local food community at events like the Good Food Festival is a demonstration of the transformation taking place in the food industry.

Senator Durbin acknowledged the growing demand of local foods and stressed that this development has the ability to lessen the expanse of the supply chain, thereby reducing emissions for an increasingly carbon conscious world.

Senator Durbin highlighted the significant rise of diabetes in America and deemed it the “Hurricane Katrina of healthcare.” The Senator reported that currently, one out of eleven Americans has been diagnosed with diabetes; with a projection of one out of every three Americans having the disease by mid-century.

As local food movements continue to grow, such as the Good Food Festival, Senator Durbin noted the increased opportunity to educate school children on the importance of high quality food. He recalled a Chicago school principal telling him most of school’s students consumed “Flaming Hot Cheetos” for breakfast. Hopefully, the continued success of the local food movement will counteract such unhealthy food choices.

As Senator Durbin stated, “the lesson here is that when you have a leader or leaders who can identify a purpose that people will engage with and choose to do it for their own benefit, and for a greater social benefit, there’s no reason why it can’t happen again and again.”

Governor Rauner and Matthew Botos, ConnectFood

Governor Rauner and Matthew Botos, ConnectFood

Jim Slama of Family Farmed talks with ConnectFood about Local Food and the Good Food Festival

Jim Slama, President of sat with Matthew Botos, CEO of ConnectFood and Richard Shell of Wagner&Shell to talk about Local Food and the upcoming and exciting Good Food Festival Some of the highlighted sections of the interview include:

  • The great events scheduled for the Good Food Festival
  • A discussion of what local food means for the greater Chicago area.
  • Annual programs, food safety, and food hubs
  • Power of web based technology for the food industry
  • Economics of Local and Organic Foods

The Good Food Festival at the UIC Forum in Chicago:

Food Safety, Security, Sustainability, and Connectivity at the CSIFT Dinner Meeting

Food Companies and all of their various components are going to be affected by and responding to the FSMA; this includes such diverse food activities, including food manufacturing, production, and sales from Farm-to-Fork.

ConnectFood was honored to be able to present at the Chicago Section of Institute of Food Technologists (CSIFT) February 11 Dinner meeting regarding the recent changes in the Food Modernization Safety Act (FSMA).

The importance of food companies working together was discussed to assure the safety and quality of the food chain, which is built on three pillars:

  • Food availability: having sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
  • Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
  • Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

Many different tools are available that tie industry, academia and government together in an efficient and synergistic manner. The greatest challenge will be in the standardization of these tools so that companies can supply safe products in the most well-organized fashion. The food industry is one of the largest and most established in the world and we are starting to learn and share information across many different mediums. It is estimated that up to 80% of all food companies have less than fifty employees and these small to medium size companies are suppliers to some of the largest companies in the world. Therefore, establishing ‘connectivity’ between these companies is crucial as the latest changes of FSMA begin to take effect.

Ultimately, we believe that food safety is one of the facets that the food industry should not compete on. ConnectFood believes that a connected community can ensure the most innovative and economical ways in which to continue to keep our food supply safe.

A CSIFT Thank You

A Chicago Section of Institute for Food Technologists Award