The Need

Local and organic food is a fast-growing multi-billion dollar industry, and the market for Good Food is expanding rapidly. To take full advantage, food entrepreneurs need help developing skills and access to resources that foster the success of their enterprises.

The Goal

The Good Food Accelerator provides selected Fellows with mentoring, strategic support, and access to capital to launch and expand profitable Good Food businesses. With access to FamilyFarmed’s network and resources, Fellows further develop their knowledge and skills in marketing, operations, financing, and strategy in order to thrive commercially and have a powerful ripple effect on the local economy.

The Impact

Good Food is a good investment! Successful farm and food businesses have the potential to be profitable investment opportunities while sustaining livelihoods, re-circulating dollars locally, creating jobs and fostering new start-up businesses. Upon graduation, GFA Alumni have seen an average increase of 148% in FTEs (full-time equivalent employees) 176%  in Markets, and  41%  in Sales. Regional Good Food clusters can stimulate overall economic growth and revitalization in underserved rural and urban communities.

Accelerator Fellowship

Program at a Glance



  • Intensive curriculum focuses on the key components of a well structured business: Entrepreneurial Financing, Leadership, Operations, Go-to-Market Strategy, Fundraising
  • Emphasis on optimizing CPG (consumer packaged goods) and food service business aspects
  • Free work space and resources at 1871, Chicago’s innovation hub
  • Opportunity to be showcased at the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference, with introductions to large scale customers
  • Introductions to public and private sources of capital: angel investors, the SBA, banks, and many more!


  • A robust mentor network delivers real-world advice, valuable introductions, and targeted referrals
  • Super-Mentors — leaders from top-tier food and finance businesses — provide one-on-one mentoring and help fellows get to the finish line with their deliverables: a sound business plan, market development plan, polished investor pitch, and solid grounding in business best practices
  • Peer-to-peer learning with other Fellows and as part of the 1871 community



  • Network with leading regional trade buyers including Whole Foods Market, UNFI, KeHE, Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Local Foods, Treasure Island, Natural Direct, and Compass Group
  • Pitch at FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference where businesses have raised more than $38 million
  • Connect with more than 7,500 trade buyers, investors, NGOs, policy makers and consumers at the Good Food Expo, the premier Midwest local and sustainable food trade show, policy summit, and food festival.