Food Entrepreneur Conference coming to Clanton

Published 9:42 am Monday, March 27, 2023

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System Food Safety and Quality Team will host the 10th annual Food Entrepreneur Conference at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center this year. The event will feature a variety of special entrepreneurial guest speakers. Each speaker will give a unique talk on educational topics, such as how to get started in creating a business, Health Department regulations, food testing and labeling, personal success stories and tips for marketing. This annual event, which is usually hosted at other venues around Alabama, frequently connects attendees with other entrepreneurs that share resources and collaborate on distribution routes.

Attendees “will meet like-minded business owners in the same field and can learn from other’s business experience,” said Christy Mendoza, food safety & quality regional extension agent of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

With Alabama’s agricultural roots, food processing is a natural way to grow the state’s economy. This conference will help Alabama’s food entrepreneurs position themselves where they can capitalize on the nationwide trend to eat more locally-sourced foods and locally-produced products.

Some of the guest speakers from previous years include entrepreneurs from Chicken Salad Chick, Wickles Pickles, Conecuh Sausage and Gadsden Brewery.

“In years past, most of the focus was placed on manufacturing, but this year we are expanding the conference with information for those who want to open a restaurant,” said Mendoza. “We will also have information for those that are currently operating under the Cottage Food Law but want to expand into a ‘brick & mortar’ business location.”

The conference will be April 11 and12 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost for attending is $150, which includes entry for both days and lunch.

To register, please visit or contact Mendoza at 205-217-4695.

Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center is located at 1850 Lay Dam Road, Clanton.