Insights Lifestyle

From Farm to Foodie: Attending the Everything Food Conference

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This is my excited and inspired face!

From May 2 to 4 in the Salt Lake City area, I attended the fourth annual Everything Food Conference, an event that caters to food bloggers. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Would farming be well represented in the foodie arena? Would there be a lot of misinformation and misleading marketing in the food space? As farmers, we see it all too often where food companies use fear-based marketing or slander against the competition to try and gain market share.

When I first heard of the conference though, it sounded really attractive. As a blogger myself, I am always interested in learning how to monetize, grow my brand, and all around be a better small business owner (what the conference caters to.) But with a somewhat last minute price tag of $600 (it’s priced lower if you book in advance) to attend along with flight, hotel, and travel expenses, this just didn’t seem feasible for me to go. So I got creative.

When I checked out the sponsors of Everything Food, I noticed one of my favorite apple and biotech brands was one of them! They’re called Arctic Apples, and if you haven’t yet heard of them, the articles I’ve written about them here and here help explain. As the first and only GMO apple on the market, they’ve created apple varieties by silencing the PPO enzyme to generate this revolutionary non-browning apple. This will help more people eat apples, cut down on food waste, and make it an easier snack to take on the go — and they’re SO delicious and juicy with a lot of the latest environmentally friendly orchard practices. Plus I love their staff. Say hi to Jodi!

Michelle Miller
Images courtesy of Michelle Miller

Apbitz and deliciously juicy pre-sliced apples, Grannys and Goldens, are available in some states grocers with Fuji, Gala, and other varieties on the way.

arctic goldens

I’d like to thank Arctic Apples for sponsoring my travel costs in exchange for some social media publicity and time spent in their booth. As an outspoken proponent of biotechnology, I had a great time educating the public on the benefits of GMOs and we had some prominent and productive conversations with the food bloggers and other vendors!

Arctic Apples were there representing biotech, but I must admit I was blown away with what a great job agriculture did to represent overall. Yes there were food companies, cookware, digital apps, photography, and YouTube business consultants there, but “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” was one of the biggest sponsors! With a virtual reality farm and feedlot tours, panelists, dietitians, farm bloggers, etc., as a beef cattle farmer myself I was happy to see their booth front and center at the trade show. Dr. Sara Place also led a great breakout session about beef sustainability and debunked a lot of myths surrounding beef production, specifically with regards to the environmental footprint.

A few other booths representing farmers were California olive growers, the Lamb Board, C.K. Mondavi wines, the Idaho Potato commission, Eatwheat.org, Mann’s vegetables (shout out to them for removing their “Non GMO” labels!), and so many more.

Speaking of non-GMO, this farmgirl’s heart was overjoyed and pleasantly surprised to notice there was no one there promoting misleading labels like non-GMO, organic, no added hormones, and antibiotic free, among others. Some of the products had the occasional label, but from what I saw, no one was talking about it or using it as a sales pitch. Without diving too deep, many of these labels can paint a misleading picture to the average consumer, so I thought it was wonderful that the conference focused on just plain good food! Recipes, cooking, and photography, and a wealth of bloggers, podcasters, and other experts in the realm of online influencing and blogging. Working with online influencers really is the future for genuine advertising and promotions for modern branding.

Everything Food Conference
Image courtesy of Everything Food Conference

The value of info I gained from this conference was astounding. It was a great overall balance of info from the food space as well as the positive image created for America’s farmers through an event that felt like a big family. The knowledge gained from the speakers was vast, diverse, applicable, and I have tons of great notes to look over and apply to my everyday life. To learn more about the conference and this year’s speakers, check it out here. A big thanks to the folks of Everything Food for putting this together and giving a positive voice to agriculture, and you can check out #EFC2019 on social media to learn more. If you get a chance to go in upcoming years, I highly recommend!

 

Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker, and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm, which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.