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August 3, 2018

Minneapolis, August 1, 2018 – Grow North is launching the first-ever Food, Ag, Ideas Week on October 8-12, 2018. The event will convene diverse perspectives and communities to create a more interconnected, dynamic and competitive ecosystem for food and agriculture entrepreneurship and innovation. Panels, speakers, startup showcases and experiences will address industry-leading topics across sustainable agriculture, food innovation and tech, and food and society.

The event theme, “The Time Is Now,” serves as a catalyst for Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, growers, innovators, investors and nonprofits to come together as a community to be at the forefront of a rapidly changing industry.

“The pace of change and incredible increase in entrepreneurship across food and agriculture makes this an extraordinary time to be in the industry and a critical time for Minnesota to take a leadership position,” stated Lauren Mehler Pradhan, founding managing director of Grow North, an initiative of the Carlson School of Management focused on accelerating Minnesota’s ecosystem for food and agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship. “With the number of companies and perspectives across food and agriculture, as well as our collaborative spirit, Minnesota is truly an epicenter of possibility. The time is now to bring these voices together, get involved and elevate our community.”

Events and programming will be led by Grow North as well as Techstars Farm to Fork, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), The Good Acre, the Maker to Market food accelerator, The Bell Museum and Finnegans. Support partners include presenting partner General Mills, lead partners Schwan’s and Lazard, and community partners the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Lakewinds Food Co-op, the City of St. Paul, Compeer Financial, McKnight Foundation, McKinsey & Company and more.

Topics will include:

  • The future of retail

  • Indoor agriculture

  • The continued rise of small food brands

  • Agriculture innovation and craft beer

  • The future of farming

  • Innovation in Agtech

  • Re-imagining school food

  • Changing the face of food and ag in 2018

  • And more


Featured speakers come from across the state and country will include:

  • Jeff Harmening, Chairman and CEO of General Mills

  • Eric Ryan, founder of Olly and Method

  • Rachel Vegas, chief merchant of Brandless

  • Angie Bastian, founder, Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP

  • Pat Christie, founder and President/CEO, Conservis

  • Entrepreneur leaders from Puris, Revol, MN Craft Brewers Guild, Learn to Live, MN Farm to

    School, Union Kitchen, Purely Elizabeth and Farmhouse Culture

  • And many more


Food, Ag, Ideas Week overview:

  • What: Food, Ag, Ideas Week powered by Grow North

  • When: October 8-12, 2018 during Twin Cities Startup Week

  • Where: Minnesota History Center, Guthrie Theater and various locations across the greater Twin Cities.

  • How: Website will go live on August 1, 2018 at 1pm. Tickets will be released on a rolling basis starting August 1 and prices will vary. All events are open to the public and scholarships will be available for individual events.


Highlights and Partner Events:

  • 12+ speaker and panel discussions led by Grow North

  • Curated “meet + eat” networking lunches led by Grow North

  • Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator demo day

  • Maker to Market accelerator demo day

  • You are What You Eat: the Nexus of Food and Health Forum hosted by AURI and Larta


  • The NICK (Network of Incubator + Commissary Kitchens) SUMMIT hosted by The Food

    Corridor and The Good Acre

  • “Crash the Networks” Happy Hour hosted by Finnegan’s and Lazard

  • More to be announced over the coming weeks

Attendees and partners include:

  • Attendees: entrepreneurs, professionals, innovators, investors, and nonprofit and for-profit companies interested in growing and engaging with Minnesota’s food and agriculture entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem.

  • Founding presenting partner: General Mills

  • Lead partners: Schwan’s and Lazard

  • Community Partners: McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, City of St.

    Paul, Compeer Financial, Lakewinds Food Co-op, McKinsey & Company, Consulate General

    of Canada, Bremer Bank and more

  • Marketing partners: Kohnstamm Communications and Colle McVoy

  • Design and print partners: JT Mega, Tommy Pop and Insignia Systems

Grow North is a resource and connection hub and ecosystem navigator for Minnesota’s growing entrepreneurial community in food and agriculture. Through education, mentorship, networking programming and large-scale events, Grow North works to create an interconnected, sophisticated and supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate business growth and make Minnesota a known leader in food and agriculture entrepreneurship and innovation. Grow North is an initiative of the Holmes Center of Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.


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