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2010 marks the 5th Anniversary of the FamilyFarmed Expo, a three day celebration of local and organic founded by Jim Slama,  It was an for Eli’s Cheesecake to be part of the first Financing Farm to Fork Conference which was an outgrowth of the Conference held at the University of Chicago Business School last year.

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The Financing Farm to Fork Conference included a panel on “Taking Food & Beverage Businesses to Scale.” Moderated by Daphne Mazarakis of Tula Foods,  Eli’s Marc Schulman was joined by top Chicago Food Entrepreneurs, Matt Weinstein of Homemade Pizza Company and John Hall of Goose Island Beer.LifeCycle_Task

Daphne Mazarkis asked each of three  entrepreneurs to present a graph on the Life Cycle of the Business and its Products. In Eli’s case, the history and brand equity dates back to 1940 when our founder, Eli Schulman, opened his first restaurant on Chicago’s West Side.  Eli’s Marc Schulman discussed the important dates of Eli’s Growth in the restaurant and then Cheesecake & Dessert Business.

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The Financing Farm to Fork Conference was an outgrowth of the Farm to Fork: Innovations in Chicago’s Food Business that was held by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the Chicago Booth Business School for the University of Chicago. Our thanks to Linda Darragh, Professor at Chicago Booth, who was the driving force of both Conferences. Attendance was very high as more entrepreneurs want to enter and grow in the food business.

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The Financing Farm to Fork Conference brought together leaders and visionaries in the agriculture and food industry. The Conference finished with a presentation by Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture who shared the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative.” Earlier in the day, Merrigan toured and spoke at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.