Edible-Alpha® Live! brings food and ag impact investing to the center stage

MADISON — The Food Finance Institute (FFI) has rescheduled Edible-Alpha® Live!, a one-day event showcasing national leaders in the food and ag industry for podcast interviews and up-and-coming entrepreneurs for early look presentations focused on impact investing and innovation in the food and ag sector.

More like a live TV show than a conference, Edible-Alpha® Live! will be all virtual Dec. 9. The event, postponed in April due to the COVID-19 shutdown, will be hosted by FFI Founder and Director Tera Johnson, who started the Edible-Alpha® podcast in 2016 as a source for actionable insights into making money in food.

Johnson will interview pathbreaking innovators whose companies show us how impact investing can change our food system, to be aired as future episodes of the podcast. The audience will be invited to participate in an interactive Q&A. Curated early stage companies will also be presenting between interviews.

“There is a growing interest in how to leverage impact investing in food and ag, but not a lot of knowledge about how to do this effectively. This confusion is getting in the way of capital flowing to projects with high potential impact.” Johnson said. “Edible-Alpha-Live® brings together founders, innovators and stakeholders to hear what is possible in food and ag.”

Our interviews include:

  • Paul Willis, founder of Niman Ranch, a national brand whose network of U.S. family farmers and ranchers raise livestock humanely and sustainably to deliver the finest tasting meat in the world;
  • David Miller, founder of Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, an organic farmland investment company that provides farmer-friendly leases and mortgages to the next generation of organic farmers; and
  • Gary Zimmer, founder of Midwestern BioAg, whose focus on soil health helps farmers increase yields, grow more nutritious food and forage, and achieve greater profits

Some of the Early Look Presentation companies include:

  • Sean Lenihan, founder of The Honest Bison, whose mission is to bring trust back into today’s food system through unprocessed, humanely raised, quality meats;
  • Mike Costello & Amy Dawson, founders of Lost Creek Farm, a revitalized historic farmstead that functions as a culinary destination, an educational facility focused on preserving Appalachian foodways and a heritage foods incubator program creating economic opportunities for Appalachians in the region’s re-emerging food and farm economy; and
  • Brianna Warner, CEO of Atlantic Sea Farms, the first commercially viable seaweed farm whose goal is to diversifying how our coastal waters are used and providing a domestic, fresh, healthy alternative to imported seaweed products

To kick things off, a $15 preview event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 — an interactive hour of food storytelling brought to you by Costello and Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, followed by an hour of networking. Lost Creek Farm has been featured in local, regional, and national print publications and was highlighted on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Season 11.

General registration is $40; valued farmer/producer friends can receive a discounted price of $25. The first 75 people to register will receive a complimentary sample box that includes products and coupons from an array of program participants. Go to

Event sponsorships remain available. Contact Penny Molina at 608-720-2085.

About Edible-Alpha®

Edible-Alpha® is not just a podcast. It’s also a digital resource hub providing entrepreneurs and our collaborative network with actionable insights, training, resources and tools that empower them build and fund the next generation of profitable food, beverage and value-added farm businesses. Edible-Alpha® includes free educational content about the best financial practices of food, beverage and value-added farm businesses. Edible-Alpha® also includes premium content, digital training courses and access to a community of practitioners who can help the next generation of food and beverage businesses get profitable and raise money.

About Food Finance Institute

The Food Finance Institute (FFI) works with entrepreneurs, farmers, and a network of technical assistance providers to build and fund profitable businesses in the food, beverage and value-added agriculture sector. Through training, resources, tools and mentorship, FFI fulfills its mission of making sophisticated financial technical assistance available to growing enterprises. FFI is part of the University of Wisconsin System Administration’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.

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