Family Farmed Expo in Chicago

I have to admit, I’ve been really glued to the television and any news media outlet to catch updates on the situation in Japan.  It was hard for me to write about food or develop recipes when all I could think about was the hardship and suffering of the Japanese people and how the nuclear radiation could affect the entire world.  Currently, they are even running out of bottled water as radiation has leaked into the tap water as far away from the failed nuclear reactors as Tokyo.  Radiation has been detected in spinach and even in their milk supply.  I haven’t even heard about radiation levels in the fish and other marine life—I don’t want to think about it.  The first focus is on the people themselves—how will this affect the people of Japan, its neighbors and the rest of the world?

Last Friday and Saturday I had an incredible two days attending the Family Farmed Expo: Good Food, Good Know-How, Good Fun right here in Chicago at the UIC Forum. I needed the break in my daily routine and wanted to be surrounded by people who are doing something to change the tide of our national {and global} food crisis by providing alternatives to dependency on unsustainable farming and consumption habits. This was definitely the place to be for that.

Family Farmed is a non-profit organization that stands to ‘expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities.’ What a great mission.

At the expo, there were so many different sessions to attend, mainly focusing on farm to school issues and solutions, the development of wholesale markets for family farmers, food safety, food system leadership, the promotion of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture programs) and access to food for all communities.

It was hard to decide what to attend and I did miss some things I was hoping to attend, but I had to make some choices.

On my agenda were to attend the following things:

  • School Food Focus Presentations followed by an interview with Under Secretary of the USDA, Ann Wright (soon to be published)
  • Further sessions on school food changes and how to make those happen, as well as examples of those who are implementing great changes in schools
  • Lecture on Nourishing Traditional Diets: The Key to Vibrant Health by author Sally Fallon, followed by a personal interview with her (soon to be published)
  • Lecture on Raising Backyard Chickens
  • Growing Fresh Food Year Round

All were valuable in the information provided and affirmation of what I’ve thought to be good common sense and the basis of what Islam also teaches us about caring for our planet, our loved ones and each other. Now it’s just important to share all of it…

During my free time, I visited the market area which had a lot of interesting vendors, including farmers, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), Organic Delivery Services,  food and farm activists, Vegan/Gluten-free bakeries,  fair trade coffee vendors and so much more.

Here’s an example of just a few whose products and/or missions I found particularly interesting and couldn’t wait to share with you. Enjoy!

Backyard Chickens

Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting

Jennifer Murtoff

225A Washington Blvd., 3W

Oak Park, IL 60302

(708) 524-5038

(708) 259-6877


Backyard Chicken Run– Home delivery for the urban organic farmer and pet owner. john@backyardchickenrun.com


Crop to Cup– Family Farmed coffee. Great tasting coffee with a responsible, eco-friendly mission behind their business.


Bron’s Bees at the Heritage Prairie Farm – Raw honey from local hives as well as assorted bee products (bee pollen and beeswax candles). Site lists where the products can be purchased and which restaurants use their raw honey.

2N308 Brundige Rd.

La Fox, IL 60119

(630) 443-8253

Food & Water Organizations

Food & Water Watch – Provides list of sustainable fish-consumption practices and informs the public about the state of our food and water.

Jams & Preserves

Rare Bird Preserves

35 Chicago Avenue

Oak Park, IL 60302

(312) 714-6190

Learning Centers

Angelic Organics Learning Center– a non-profit organization offering various classes on cheese making, home preserving, starting a farm and more. Mission is to help urban and rural people build local food systems.  Various locations throughout IL (Caledonia, Chicago and Rockford). learn@learngrowconnect.org

The Land Office

907 Summit Street

Downers Grove, IL 60515

Victoria Nowicki, Principal, offers gardening classes on how to restore soil and grow edible products as well as how to preserve them to last through the winter. Visit her website at www.libertygardens.com

Purple Asparagus–  non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the family back to the table by promoting and enjoying all things associated with good eating

1824 W. Newport Avenue

Chicago, IL 60657

Weston A. Price Foundation– Incredibly fascinating website full of information about why we need to get back to a traditional way of eating.  Join for a small fee and receive updates on conferences and seminars which continue to teach the public about navigating the current food system’s maze of labels and often harmful ingredients.

PMB 106-380

4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20016

(202) 363-4394


Micro Greens, Sprouted Beans and Grasses

The Indoor Garden

4459 W. Division St.

Chicago, IL 60651

(773) 772-5858


Organic Food Delivery Services

Door to Door Organics

(877) 711-3636


Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks

Urban Agriculture News

SeedingChicago.com, a blog run by Cassandra West (local Chicago writer)

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Azteca (bulk sale)

Bob White, President of Food Service & Industrial Sales

(708) 563-6678

(708) 417-6942


Stay tuned for upcoming posts where I’ll soon be publishing my interviews with USDA Under Secretary Ann Wright and author and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon.

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  1. Wow I didn’t know japan was running out of bottled water. This is big.

    Also I really hope the family farmed expo gets more well known. It would be great to
    “expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities”.

    As of now I like to think of myself of doing this, I raise my own chickens for eggs and I find it quite enjoyable.

  2. I see that you where trying to give lectures on raising backyard chickens. I think that is awesome as I try to spread the word. My husband has a chicken blog at http://www.kernschickenfarm.com which helps newbie chicken owners. It nice to hear that other person loves chickens as much as we do.

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