FEAST! Trade Show brings local foods to store shelves!
Please Note: This is an industry-only event, attendance is limited to vendors, retail/wholesale buyers and aspiring food entrepreneurs.
Cannon Falls, MN – FEAST! Local Foods Trade Show returns to the Grand O2 Event Center in Cannon Falls, Minn., Thursday March 23, 2023. The annual, nonprofit event brings retail buyers and food makers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa together to put more local food on store shelves…and your plate.
Coordinated by a collective of Minnesota nonprofits, the FEAST! Local Foods Trade Show focuses on growing regional food businesses, which leads to stronger, more resilient communities.
“Building relationships between buyers and makers is vital to supporting local food producers,” says Elena Gutierrez Byrne, Local Foods Specialist at Renewing the Countryside, one of the organizations hosting the March 23 event. “These makers enhance their community by creating jobs and unique food products, while using business models that give back to the community.”
The trade show will feature a buyers’ expo—where vendors can showcase their products—as well as networking opportunities and break-out sessions with technical assistance providers like the Food Finance Institute, Forward Food Solutions, Brand Yourself, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), and Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The day also includes an award ceremony for exceptional businesses and an optional local foods tour of Cannon Falls.
“The show is an amazing experience,” says Britt Lindemann, Kowalski’s Grocery/Dairy/Frozen Director who attended last year’s event. “Due to the show, I was able to connect with producers I hadn’t previously been aware of. Because of those meetings, Kowalski’s has on-boarded seven new local lines so far.”
Because it is an industry-only event, attendance is limited to vendors, retail/wholesale buyers and aspiring food entrepreneurs. But consumers can still participate by recommending the event to the stores where they shop. (Yes, grocery managers listen to and value this feedback!) The public can also nominate outstanding local-food retailers for the FEAST! Local Food Champion award at local-feast.org/stores. Last, but not least, the public can fill their plates with local goodness at the 10th Annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace, a public festival filled with 100+ local food and beverage makers sampling and selling their goods, at Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center, Nov. 4, 2023.
Many past vendors, like Tasya Kelen, owner of Isadore Nut Co., have found the FEAST! Tradeshow key to making new contacts. “Not only did I meet new amazing vendors and connect with buyers from all over the region,” says Tasya who plans to return this year, “I was able to show my products to Kowalski’s, which was worth its weight in GOLD. They now carry [our products] in all of their 11 stores. If you want to grow your business regionally, commit to attending this event. You won’t regret it!!”
For Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa buyers and vendors looking to register for the March 23 event, check out local-feast.org/tradeshow2023.
The FEAST! 2023 Trade Show is hosted and organized by the FEAST! Local Foods Network, which includes the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Renewing the Countryside, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Red Wing Ignite, GreenSeam, Cannon Valley Grown, Cannon Valley EDA, and AURI. For more info, including COVID-related updates, visit www.local-feast.org and social media: @localfeastnetwork on Facebook, @Local_Feast on Twitter, and @localfeast on Instagram.
Elena Gutierrez Byrne
Renewing the Countryside
This is an industry-only event, attendance is limited to vendors, retail/wholesale buyers and aspiring food entrepreneurs. This will not be open to the public, like the FEAST event in Rochester.