Jim Slama has a proven track record of identifying opportunities to support the development of the natural products industry and the public good. He does this by creating innovative platforms to support entrepreneurs and the industry ecosystem including: Good Food Accelerator: In partnership with Whole Foods Market, created America’s first food focused accelerator to support early-stage entrepreneurs to scale up and get financed. The Accelerator has 50 graduates, 41 of which are still in business, with most thriving. A major focus on the Accelerator is supporting woman and BIPOC owned businesses. Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference: In 2009 created the first major food financing conferences in America in partnership with the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Participating businesses have raised over $150 million in capital. The 2021 conference lineup included Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, tennis star and Asutra Chief Brand Officer, Venus Williams, retail giant, Bob Mariano, and Brandon Barnholt, CEO of KeHE, a leading Natural Products distributor, and more. Naturally Chicago: Co-founded this network with CEO’s of KeHE, SPINS, and Presence Marketing to help make Chicago a epicenter of the natural products industry and to support emerging entrepreneurs. It has strong membership, great history of events and strong leadership network. Jim is also on the board of the Naturally Network which includes affiliates in Chicago, Boulder, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, New York, and San Diego. Wholesale Success and Direct Market Success: Created the leading training publications for small farmers, training over 15,000 farmers in 43 states in food safety, post-harvest handling and more. Books have sold over 20,000 copies. Good Food EXPO: In 2004 created the first sustainable local foods trade show in America in partnership with Whole Foods Market and other industry leaders. Chicago Public Schools and McCormick Place both launched their local sourcing programs at the EXPO. Vendors have sold hundreds of millions in new products as a result of relationships they developed at the show. Keep “Organic” Organic Campaign: Created a multimedia advocacy campaign to prevent the USDA from gutting the integrity of organic food standards in partnership with the Organic Trade Association. The campaign generated 282,000 comments to the USDA demanding that they re-write proposed organic standards, which if enacted would have allowed genetically engineered, irradiated food, grown in sewage sludge to be labeled as organic. As a result of the victory, organic advocate Kathleen Merrigan was appointed to oversee the organic program in the USDA.