Increasing profitability through seasonal ingredients, plus local sourcing via distribution channels and farm direct.
Ken Bair started in the grocery business in Hesperia, California at Albertsons in 1991 as a bagger. He quickly began moving up the ranks and became a store manager at the young age of 25. From there, Ken took on more responsibility in regional roles and then on to marketing and merchandising in Chicago, Illinois for Jewel-Osco. He then become Director of Grocery for A&P in the New Jersey area. Before taking on his current role of store manager for Bridge Street Market at Meijer, he held the position of Director of Operations for a family owned company in Northwest Indiana called Strack and Van Til.
Kevin Vos is the Senior Director of Hospitality Support Services for Spectrum Health Delivery System. He is responsible for the strategic planning as well as the oversight of high quality patient and guest services functions across our nationally awarded integrated health system. Whether Kevin is concentrating on disrupting the typical “institutional” food chain or coming up with unique solutions to help change nutritional behavioral, Kevin’s goal is to improve the health of the community through nourishment, education and wellness.
Zenobia started canning as a way to eat local and support farmers; this practical habit turned into a passion culminating in her business Cellar Door Preserves. In addition to making artisan preserves Zenobia teaches canning and cooking classes in Grand Rapids and throughout the country.
Jerry founded FarmLink after starting West MI Co-Op, one of the first online farmers markets in the country twenty years ago. FarmLink now connects almost a hundred local farmers and producers with restaurants, commercial food establishments and households in West Michigan.
Ben is a 12 year vegetable grower from Lowell running field and greenhouse operations at Heidi’s Farmstand. A hydroponic greenhouse and open field grower that pushes the edges of the growing season to keep a variety of high quality local vegetables available to customers in the Grand Rapids area. Educated as an entomologist and agronomist; motivated by meeting challenges/opportunities of growing for West Michigan.
MODERATOR: AMY SHERMAN
Amy Sherman has over 20 years of experience as a chef in the Grand Rapids area, was a founder of the West Michigan Slow Food Chapter, and was host of the television show "The Great American Brew Trail" and the radio show "Behind the Mitten". She is a graduate of Aquinas College, and currently works at MLive as a statewide reporter on the Michigan's Best team.
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