Date(s) - June 23, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


In partnership with Lorain County Community College, the Center for Food Innovation is hosting a six-part webinar series “Food Innovation in Northeast Ohio. Why here? Why now?” The focus is on the potential for the region to gain $126 million in incremental local and state taxes in northeast Ohio through food innovation. The webinars are held on consecutive Thursdays, June 16 through July 21. Ohio Farm Bureau is a sponsor of the series.

June 23 Topic: Going local – Why do groceries, hospitals, restaurants and others want more local food?

A panel of executives representing organizations purchasing some of the largest quantities of local foods will talk about the growing demand and the broad advantages these foods bring to consumers.

Speakers: Jeff Heinen, Heinen’s Grocery; Chef Vincent Gaikens, Bon Appetit, executive chef at Case Western Reserve, lead sustainable purchases; Cullen Naumoff, co-founder at Farm Fare LLC and Lisa Roberson, Cleveland Clinic


The series is designed for entrepreneurs, public and private funders; farmers of both seasonal and controlled environmental agriculture (vertical, hydroponic, aeroponic); educators and researchers; economic development specialists; technology leaders in IoT, robotics, sensors, water systems and energy; public and private funders; investors and environmentalists.

Future webinars

June 30: How can we increase local food production?

A panel of farmers and industry experts engaged in traditional and controlled environment agriculture (i.e. hydroponics, vertical) talk about the opportunities and challenges to sustainably provide more local year-round fresh, diversified plant and animal based food.

Speakers: Larry Klco, Owner Rainbow Farms and Adele Flynn, A Flynn’s Farm and Ohio Farm Bureau state trustee

July 7: Innovation in agriculture and food – what are the opportunities ahead?

Richard Munson, author of Tech to Table, will talk about how technology is creating new startups, attracting capital and building markets with the potential to upend conventional agribusinesses’ stranglehold on the food systems of today. Learn what technologies are leading the way and what that could mean for northeast Ohio.

July 14: What are investors looking for?

A panel of ag tech investors will share how they see this market progressing and what they are looking to fund and why.

July 21: How can northeast Ohio harness new policy, research and funding to accelerate our food economy?

Visionary leaders engaged in regional policy, research and investment will discuss the emerging opportunities that can catalyze a robust food economy in northeast Ohio.

Speakers: Brandon Kern, senior director, State and National Policy at Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Bara Watts, CEO, Center for Food Innovation and Chieri Kubota, director of Ohio Controlled Environment Agriculture Center at the Ohio State University

About Center for Food Innovation

Center for Food Innovation is a nonprofit serving as a convener to cultivate a collaborative, inclusive industry cluster of food producers, purchasers, consumers, educators, distributors, innovators and entrepreneurs to grow regional jobs and prosperity in Lorain County and northeast Ohio.