FoodCon Provides Taste of Sustainable Food Industry

affordable-healthy-foodA student-led conference at NC State University aims to raise awareness of and support for the business of sustainable food.

Hosted by the student Net Impact Chapter at NC State, FoodCon 2016 comes Nov. 11 to Talley Student Union, where students, community members and business professionals will gather for a series of workshops and presentations on sustainable food topics including supply chain, entrepreneurship, finance, local food economies, food safety, healthy food access, workers rights, food waste and more.

“We want to talk about food because of the far-reaching impacts that the food industry has on our economy, society and environment,” said Shannon O’Shea, an NC State Jenkins MBA student and co-chair of the conference planning committee.

O’Shea and fellow Jenkins MBA student Graham Givens lead planning for the conference in collaboration with students from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, which hosted FoodCon in 2014, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which hosted FoodCon in 2015.

FoodCon 2016 kicks off with an opening keynote from entrepreneur Kirsten Saenz Tobey of fast-growing healthy meal company Revolution Foods, which Fast Company named one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies in 2015.

Workshop sessions follow with many of the dozen options featuring NC State’s unique perspective and expertise in sustainable agriculture, supply chain, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The conference concludes with a conversation on farmworker rights with Lucas Benitez, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Cheryl Queen, who directs communication and corporate affairs for Compass Group — one of the largest food and support services companies in North America.

“We hope FoodCon 2016 attendees will learn about the many sustainability challenges and opportunities in the food industry and make connections with students, community members, and industry professionals that have a shared interest in creating solutions,” O’Shea said.

Learn more, buy tickets or sign up to volunteer at

FoodCon 2016 sponsors include Poole College of Management’s Business Sustainability Collaborative and Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State and Irregardless Cafe.