Past Events

Here's what we've been up to.

We are constantly working to iterate, and improve our events to better serve our community. Stay up to date with upcoming events here. 




MN Mingle @ the Winter Fancy Food Show

January 21, 2018

We had over 100 Minnesotans and friends attend our happy hour and networking event in San Francisco, CA. This casual opportunity led attendees to meet and connect with Minnesota's growing and dynamic startup ecosystem including the food start-ups, large food and agriculture manufacturers, retailers and broader food community that all call Minnesota home.

This event was sponsored by Westrock, Insignia and Compeer Financial.


Canadian Food Labelling and Market Access

December 6th, 2017

Canada is a top entry point for U.S. food products and understanding the regulatory requirements can be a confusing for those just entering the market or figuring out changes to the system.  We heard from a Canadian-based regulatory affairs specialist and others who helped us navigate the regulatory hurdles required to gain market access. Many Minnesota food startups export their products to Canada - take advantage of this opportunity to expand your business.

This event was developed in partnership with the MN Dept of Ag.

China E-Commerce for Food Products

December 1st, 2017

China is now the largest e-commerce market in the world and setting the benchmark for the future of global retailing.  Since 2013, policy reforms in China have encouraged the online sale of foreign goods in the country that included duty tax reductions on cross-border e-commerce. Online companies like Alibaba’s and Beijing-based are streamlining operations with international shipping and payments making it easier for Chinese consumers to buy from overseas companies. The food sector increased 82% in 2016 with projected sales of nearly USD 35 billion by the end of next year. 


TCSW: food manufacturing in the Twin Cities: a guided tour

October 11th, 2017

There is a whole world of manufacturing happening in the Twin Cities built to enable food startups to grow and scale their ideas. Attendees were able to experience it first hand on a guided bus tour designed to give them an inside look. Our tour guide was Jim Costello of Costello Solutions with surprise guests.

Stops included The Good Acre and the Local Food District Commercial Kitchen space in NE MSP.


tcsw: Hooked on 'Ponics: Aquaponics, Aeroponics and the Evolution of food production

October 11th, 2017

This panel featured leaders in aqua and aeroponics as they spoke about the changing world of agriculture, consumer preferences and the strategic partnerships that are enabling them to scale faster. Panelists included Dave Augustine, CEO Living Greens Farms, and Michael Ziebell, President and CEO, trū Shrimp, Dave Roeser, Garden Fresh Farms and moderated by Jeremy Lenz, strategy consultant and water expert.


TCSW: 'Crash the Networks' happy hour and networking event

October 10th, 2017

Food entrepreneurs, brewers, distillers, farmers, marketers, supporters, investors and many others came out to meet and mingle! We raised a glass, reconnected, discovered new resources, and met someone new. 

The event was hosted by Grow North and Phillips Distilling Company with additional support from Compeer Financial, Westrock, Midwest Pantry, and MN Craft Brewer's Guild!


TCSW: dynamic duos: corporations investing in food startups

October 10th, 2017

We brought together corporations and startups to answer questions like: What does a partnership like this actually look like? How do the two companies work together? What does a large corporation look for in a startup and vice versa?

Speakers included leadership from General Mills’ 301inc and Rhythm SuperfoodsLand O’Lakes, and Schwans and trū Shrimp.


TCSW: Maker to Market Demo Day: A New Food Accelerator Developed by Lakewinds Co-Op and The Good Acre

October 10th, 2017

A first of its kind Food Accelerator program launched in the Twin Cities, Maker to Market to not just offer personalized food business consult, from container shape to culinary support, but also elevate the commercialization process by pairing selected startups with local, small and disadvantaged farmers, subsidize their shared commercial kitchen production time, and guarantee six months on shelf at Lakewinds Food Co-op's three Twin Cities area stores.

We met and heard from the leaders behind the Maker to Market Food Accelerator Program as well as the food startups that participated. Program partners also released details on the 2018 cohort including application release date and some new program offerings!


TCSW: Lunch and learn: innovation and solving the problem of food waste

October 10th, 2017

As part of the Food & AG track during Twin Cities Startup Week, JoAnne Berkenkamp, Senior Advocate for NRDC, dove into how solving the problem of global food waste starts with local communities and involves integrated solutions throughout the entire supply chain. Startups and organizations participating included ReinviaSofi Taste Kineto, the Cleantech Open’s recently launched Food and Ag vertical, JavaCycle, as well as the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI).

Lunch was made by local chefs, creating something delicious utilizing products normally thought of as food waste inspired by Dan Barber’s WastED


TCSW: Meeting at the table - food as a tool for social justice

October 10th, 2017

Grow North and Impact Hub hosted a panel and discussion moderated by  Jeff Dykstra, Co-Founder/CEO Partners in Food Solutions, and featured Michelle Horovitz, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Appetite for  ChangeMarcus Owens, CEO/President of NEONTricia Nelson, Sales Development and Community Relations, FINNEGANS SBC, and Patsy Noble, Senior Program Director, of Urban Roots

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301 INc. Food/ag/beverage pitch slam

August 24, 2017

MN Cup and 301 Inc. of General Mills hosted the 2017 MN Cup Food/Ag/Beverage (FAB) Division semifinalists and other entrepreneurs from the community. Exhibitors included: 5 Infused VodkaBare HoneyBurning Brothers BrewingFarm Vision Technologies IncFresh BarGet Bizzy Inc.K-Mama SauceKakookiesKinoSolMidwest Elderberry CooperativeMinneapolis Cider CompanyNourishToom DipsWholeMe


WE* Talks: Janet Johanson

August 9th, 2017

We got together for WE* Talks, a new series that highlights successful women entrepreneurs from Minnesota by providing a platform to share their entrepreneurial journey. Our first WE* Talks event featured Janet Johanson of BevSource, an integrated provider of beverage development, production, sourcing, and logistics solutions to new and established beverage companies. Janet shared lessons learned and insights over a 15 year career of building her own company in an industry where women are the exception not the rule.


Social Media 2.0 Workshop at The Lynhall

August 8th, 2017

In this interactive workshop, we put two MN Cup companies in the hot seat, The Twisted Shrub, and Mississippi Mushrooms, as real life examples - using their current social media channels as our case studies. Shruti Acharya, Digital Communications Manager and Jen Smith Social Content Designer from General Mills served as our guides as they asked questions, provided feedback and shared best practices. Meet the speakers here...

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sampling event at Minneapolis Taste of the Nation Hotlist 

June 22nd, 2017 

Grow North partnered with No Kid Hungry to host a food entrepreneur sampling section at the Minneapolis Taste of the Nation Hotlist event. The event included food and drink by the Twin Cities 30+ top chefs and bartenders as a fundraiser to end child hunger in America. Grow North hosted Bare Honey, Five Vodka, K'ul Chocolate, Maddy & Maize Popcorn, Mama Stoen's Gluten-Free Treats, Midwest Elderberry Association, Triple Crowne Organic BBQ Sauce, and Velvet Bees Gourmet Honey Butter while they sampled their product to the event attendee's. 100% of entrepreneurs found this event helpful as they build their business strategy.  


sampling and mentor event at land o' lakes 

June 20th, 2017

Grow North partnered with Land O' Lakes to host six food/agriculture/beverage entrepreneurs for a morning of sampling and mentoring. Participating companies included Hoyo Sambas, Kakookies, Mama Stoen's, RSVTea, So Good BrandsThumbs Cookies. 96% of Land O'Lakes employees said they would recommend participating in this event to a colleague, and 100% said they'd participate in another Grow North event. 

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Brand design workshop at Lunds & Byerlys, Ridgedale

July 18th, 2017

Grow North partnered with Ultra Creative, Capsule, and Lunds&Byerlys to develop an interactive workshop to help entrepreneurs bring their vision to life, and get the most out of working with a designer/agency. This workshop was led by Sharon Gorney, Vice President of Ultra Creative and Kitty Hart from Capsule. 93% of entrepreneurs found the speakers useful as they build their business.


Food entrepreneur showcase at FULTON GRAN FONDO

May 6th, 2017

Grow North partnered with Fulton Brewing to host 9 food startups at the 4th annual Fulton Gran Fondo bike race. The event included 1500+ bike racers that stopped for samples from our MN food companies along their ride. Participating companies included Bare Honey, Buddy's Nut Butters, KaKookies, Maddy & Maize, Nots!, Mixmi, Red Head Creamery, Superior Switchel, & WholeMe.

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Food ENTREPRENEURS Showcase at 2017 MN Cup Launch Party

March 20th, 2017

MN Cup and Grow North partnered together for the first MN Cup Launch Party, featuring  30 food entrepreneurs sampling, and pitching their products to over 400 members of Minnesota's entrepreneur community.


Investing in Food Start Ups Angel Investment Panel
with Gopher Angels

March 15, 2017

Gopher Angels and Grow North hosted a panel discussion for 30 angel investors on investing in food start-ups including two food investors in the space, Mary Kosir (Wholeme), and Kirk Sabiston (M&A for General Mills who worked on both Annie's and EPIC acquisitions). 


Minnesota Mingle happy hour at Expowest

March 10, 2017

Grow North, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Greater MSP, and Minnesota Department of Economic Development hosted a happy hour for over 200 guests at Expowest. This was a casual opportunity for the 50+ Minnesota companies + friends of Minnesota to meet and connect with the food start-ups, large food, agriculture manufacturers, retailers, and the broader food community that all call Minnesota home.


Growing Your Business Series: Get on Shelf & Grow Sales, A Buyers Panel

February 1, 2017

Midwest Pantry led, in collaboration with Grow North, a panel of diverse buyers from the buyer community. Attendee's heard from panelists representing Lakewinds Co-op, Market Distributing, Seward Co-op, Wedge Co-op and Whole Foods.


SHOWCASE and Mentoring SESSION at Land O' Lakes

January 27, 2017

Land O' Lakes, a Grow North sponsor, hosted 7 entrepreneurs at their headquarters for an afternoon of sampling to employees, a luncheon with R&D executives, and mentoring from Land O Lakes specialists. 100% of employees said they would participate again and 80% of entrepreneurs surveyed said that the employees helped them solve a critical problem.

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"Start the New Year with Traction" A Panel for Food Entrepreneurs

January 19, 2017

There are many entrepreneurs in the food community using Traction, a practical guide of business practices that help run your business and have seen great results. Our panel shared their stories with the broader community, which included: