How to Start a New Career in the Food Industry: Educate Yourself Part 2

Last week we started Part 1 of Educate Yourself, which featured newsletters, books, websites, movies and podcasts you can turn to to educate yourself as you transition to a career in food. This week we have compiled a list of events and symposiums that are worth attending if you’re just starting out. Events are an excellent place to network and hear from industry leaders. We also have gathered a list of podcasts and movies that can help to further empower you as you continue to learn about the major topics and issues within the food industry.

Don’t miss part 1 of this series here.

Are we missing anything? Share additional resources here.

 Looking to launch a career in food? Check out exciting food tech, design, management, operations, development and food science positions at Food+Tech Jobs.


Food+Tech Meetup: Each month Food + Tech Connect hosts a meetup that gathers food innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and more for informal networking and idea exchange. The Food + Tech Meetups in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Bologna, Italy are an excellent way to meet people working in every sector of the industry and seek out opportunities.

Local Meetups: Head over to to see if there is a Meetup in your town.

Food Tank Summit: Held on both coasts, Food Tank Summit connects top journalists with food industry leaders, chefs, policy makers, farmers and more on interactive panels with the goal of bettering our food system through collaboration.

Seeds&Chips (Milan): Seeds&Chips is the first international food tech conference and exhibition bringing together startups, big food companies, academics, investors, media and the public to explore the “Internet of Food.” The most recent Seeds&Chips featured Barack Obama as the keynote speaker.

Cherry Bombe Jubilee: The annual Jubilee is a celebration of women leaders in the food world. Female chefs, authors, and entrepreneurs gather for panels, workshops and networking over lots of delicious food.

The JBF Food Conference: The James Beard Foundation may be famous for its celebrated restaurant awards ceremony, but the annual conference focuses on the challenges of building a healthful and equitable food system.

Young Farmers Conference: Held at The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, hundreds of beginning farmers gather at the Young Farmers Conference every December to learn from agricultural luminaries in the form of inspiring speeches and hands-on workshops.

The Smart Kitchen Summit: SKS is an industry-focused summit that connects visionaries, disruptors, leaders and makers from the culinary, CPG, appliance and delivery spaces for an exciting look at how innovation is changing food. SKS also provides a platform for startups who would like to showcase in front on an audience and judges.

Food IT: Food IT differentiates itself from other food conferences with its focus on technology and innovation. Events such as Solution Harvest aim to connect those who are feeding the world with those who are changing it through IT innovation.

Just Food: Based in New York City, Just Food advocates for a healthy and fair food system. Through training programs and resources, individuals can become community chefs, community organizers and project leaders.  Additionally, Just Food provides support to communities who want to start CSA’s and hosts an annual conference each year.

Journee Events: Journee is a membership-based community geared towards improving the lives of restaurant industry professionals. Events such as salons, conferences, suppers, townhalls, summits and roundtables gather individuals for thought-provoking discussions and delicious dialogue.

Food Book Fair: Founded in 2012, FBF celebrates the intersection of food culture and food systems. The annual weekend-long event features book signings, lectures, panels, dinners, a food periodical fair and much more.

FAB: Fab is a 2-day educational/inspirational workshop created by women, for women in the hospitality industry. There are two different tracks available to help women reach their goals: one for those working in the hospitality industry who may be interested in one day owning a business, and one for female business owners. The next conference takes place June 11-13 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Food Loves Tech: Produced by Edible Manhattan. FLT will link multiple immersive installations, technologies, tastings, leadership panels and dining experiences to explore and celebrate the future of food through technology and innovation. The second annual Food Loves Tech event will take place November 3 and November 4 at Industry City in Brooklyn.

Online Courses:

FAO E-Learning Center: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) offers online courses in topics ranging from Food and Nutrition Security Analysis to Right to Food.

IFT.Org: IFT has created an online forum where individuals pursuing a career in the food sciences can take online courses ranging from Fundamentals of Sensory Science to Incorporating Food Safety in Product Development.

edX.Org: edX offers online food & nutrition courses that have been verified from universities. Self-paced classes such as Sustainable Food Security and The Science and Politics of the GMO are part of a diverse offering that include some courses in Spanish.

Escoffier Online: Endorsed by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, Escoffier Online is a great option for those looking to improve their culinary skills and earn an accredited Certificate in Culinary Arts. a 13-month certificate program in baking and pastry is also available.

Food+Tech Ed: Food + Tech Ed can teach you how to grow your food business with expert-taught online (and in-person) business, marketing and tech courses. Learn how to launch a crowdfunding campaign from someone who’s raised over $1.3 million on Kickstarter or make your brand stand out with Food Startup Branding 101.

Coursera: Coursera is an online resource of over 1800 courses from the world’s top universities and industry partners.  We recommend starting with An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health and Standford Introduction to Food and Health from Stanford University.

The Food Business School: The Culinary Institute of America has broadened its commitment to education and food industry leadership with the launch of The Food Business School, its new center for executive and graduate education. Online courses include Tech, Trends, & Policies and Food Venture Lab.


Organizations to Familiarize Yourself With:

Slow Food USA: Slow Food’s mission is to ensure good, clean and fair food for all. Through tastings, workshops, social opportunities and more, Slow Food explores how we can collectively can prioritize wholesome living over convenience.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture: This New York State-based non-profit farm trains new farmers through its Growing Farmers Initiative. Its intensive Apprenticeship Program, workshops, Technical Consultancy Program, National Young Farmers Conference, and the Virtual Grange are designed to equip the next generation of farmers with the knowledge and hands-on experience to create economically viable and ecologically resilient farm-business enterprises.

Food Policy Action: Co-founded by Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action holds elected officials accountable for their votes on issues that affect food and farming. By educating the public on policy issues and providing transparency on the voting records f of their officials, Food Policy Action aims to change the national dialogue on food policy.

Food and Water Watch: Started as a Grassroots Movement in 2005, Food and Water Watch is on the frontlines fighting corporations and government policies that threaten the safety and health of our food and water.

Toklas Society: Toklas is a network of women in the food and hospitality industry. It hosts panels, workshops and networking events in Seattle, New York and Boston and recently launched a mentorship program that provides professional support to help women advance in their culinary careers, as well as financial support for women looking to launch their own food businesses.

Change Food is a grassroots movement working to create a healthy and equitable food system. Events such as dinner series, festivals and salons bring together specialists and experts from different disciplines and backgrounds for serious food for thought.

Food Craft Institute: Based in Oakland, California, FCI offers a plethora of resources for aspiring food artisans and business owners. From courses in fundraising & pitching to The Business of Craft Beer, FCI offers support for those looking to turn their food business dream into a reality.

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