Investment Criteria

Grow Forward identifies capable partners whose projects can benefit from growth expertise, operational insights, and capital.


The continued success of Grow Forward’s companies is proof that responsible, sustainable food practices isn’t just good for the community—it’s good business. Grow Forward is focused in the renewable energy, food, agriculture, health, and education spaces.

Food / Agriculture

HandCut Foods

Founded: 2014
Jobs Created: 85

HandCut Foods will prepare and serve nearly 1,000,000 made-from-scratch meals to students in 2017.

HandCut Foods provides made-from-scratch meals for schools, businesses and institutions. Leveraging its commissary kitchen and central location, HandCut provides on-site foodservice with responsibly sourced ingredients to institutions with or without on-site cooking facilities. HandCut exists to make eating at work or school better.

Local Foods

Founded: 2013
Jobs Created: 49

Local Foods has donated or composted over 15,000 pounds of food so far this year.

Local Foods is a wholesale distributor and specialty grocer offering exclusively Midwestern products for the greater Chicago area. Inside Local Foods, you’ll find Chicago’s first sustainable, all whole-animal butcher shop, The Butcher & Larder. Local Foods also features Stock, a farm-to-table café, that celebrates fresh midwest fare with a daily-changing menu. Local Foods is open every day (Weekdays 11am-8pm, Weekends 9am–6pm).


Founded: 2014
Jobs Created: 79

MightyVine has sustainably grown more than 120,000 pounds of tomatoes this week alone.

Using next generation farming techniques, MightyVine produces the midwest’s freshest, most sustainable tomatoes all year long. Grown in a 15-acre, state-of-the-art greenhouse, MightyVine’s premium, vine-ripened tomatoes go from farm to table within hours—not weeks—of the harvest. MightyVine tomatoes are locally (and proudly) grown in Chicagoland.

Other Companies

Carbon Green BioEnergy

Founded: 2009
Jobs Created: 45

Current production capacity is 55 million gallons per year.

Continuous incremental improvement, that’s the idea that guides Carbon Green BioEnergy. It’s not enough to produce ethanol and offer a price advantage to Michigan corn producers who sell their corn. CGBE wants to do everything better—always conscious of its obligation to the corn producer, to the consumer, and to the environment.

Harper Health

Founded: 2016

150 new patients in under a year

Harper Health’s mission is to help its members take charge of their health with a holistic approach to primary care. With customized plans designed for each patient’s lifestyle, capabilities, and wellness goals, Harper Health makes it easier for patients to achieve better health. Unlike many primary care providers, the team of physicians at Harper Health has the time, desire and expertise to care for the complete person, bringing attention back to the patient-physician relationship.

MightyVine tomatoes are a huge part of our menu and help us offer great Italian dishes year-round.

— Chef Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde

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