The Food Craft Institute (FCI) is a new educational institution that works to create and improve the viability of small and medium-scale value-added food businesses in rural and urban America.
The Food Craft Institute teaches traditional food production methods and techniques as well as giving real world business advice so graduates can launch their own artisanal food businesses.
Unlike traditional culinary institutes, FCI is focused on reinvigorating the art of food craft, restoring dignity to the profession and helping new businesses succeed. FCI teaches traditional food crafting methods and techniques as well as real-world business analysis and business planning skills. With this training, FCI graduates can launch and improve their own food businesses or obtain high-level jobs in existing food businesses.
With a unique combination of professional food craft training courses steeped in traditional techniques, practical business skills training and entrepreneurship the Food Craft Institute seeks to invigorate the creation and success of artisan food craft businesses throughout the United States.
Who is FCI for?
Current food professionals, students and entrepreneurs who want to create or work in a business producing and selling hand-crafted, artisanal foods that are made using traditional skills.
Running a food craft business requires entrepreneurial spirit, manual skills, wisdom, and a deep understanding of primary ingredients. Unlike traditional culinary institutes, FCI is focused on reinvigorating the art of food craft, restoring dignity to the professions of food craft, and helping new businesses launch.
What is “food craft”?
FCI defines food craft as the transformation of raw ingredients into finished food products by using techniques that change and build flavor, make foods last longer, and increase the impact of land and place on taste. Many food-crafting techniques date back centuries or millennia, while others are recent innovations. Food Craft businesses produce these products on a commercial scale. Due to the nature of these products and their inputs, they are best suited for small- and medium-scale production.
What types of courses does FCI offer?
Visit Courses for an updated listing of our upcoming courses.
Who teaches FCI courses?
Food Craft Institute instructors are all professionals who occupy different places in the food space so you will receive broad and deep exposure to a whole range of experts, preparing you in every way, to launch a successful food craft business.
Curriculum has been specifically developed for aspiring food practitioners and is taught by the best in the business. As a student at FCI, you will have the privilege of spending multiple days with uncontested leaders in artisan food, learning hands-on techniques and practitioner skills but also personal details about their successful businesses taught in their actual shops, kitchens and warehouses.
Where is FCI located?
Our classroom is located at 478 25th St, Suite D, in Oakland CA. Most of our courses involve off-site class sessions throughout the Bay Area (and beyond), with hands-on learning taught by expert food crafters in their personal production facilities.
Our classroom is accessible by public transportation via BART and multiple AC Transit lines.
What is the connection between Eat Real Festival & FCI?
Eat Real Festival is the premier educational program of FCI. Launched in 2009 by FCI founder Anya Fernald, Eat Real was initially a continuation of her work organizing Slow Food Nation and became the eventual inspiration for FCI. After seeing a need among the vendors and entrepreneurs, Anya founded FCI as an educational resource where passionate business owners could also learn the business skills necessary to last for Eat Real Festivals to come. Today, many Eat Real vendors and workshop instructors are also students and alumni of FCI. Anya continues to serve as FCI Board Chair and is the CEO of Belcampo Inc.
How do I register for a course with FCI?
To register, you will need to fill out our online application. Once we have your information, we will be in touch to discuss payment options. After payment is received, your course registration will be finalized.
See our Enrollment page for complete instructions.
What do Course Fees cover? Are there other expenses involved?
Please refer to individual course listings for a definite list of what is covered. In general, course fees cover all days of the course, any required equipment and class materials, snacks, lunches and a graduation reception.
Do you offer accommodation for out-of-state students?
At this time, we are unable to offer lodging or hotel discounts for out-of-area applicants. All students are expected to cover their own accommodation and transportation for all days of the course, unless otherwise mentioned in the individual course listings.
What type of aid is available?
As a not-for-profit organization, the Food Craft Institute is committed to providing accessible resources for entrepreneurs at all income levels. Funding is available to subsidize tuition for low-income applicants. Please see our Financial Aid section for more information and a link to our application form.
Am I qualified for Financial Aid?
Our general criteria to define “financial need” is an individual making less than $31, 650/year or an couple with a household income of less than $45,150/year (these figures are factored for the cost of living of Bay Area residents).
However, we review all Financial Aid applications on a case-by-case basis and will take your personal circumstances into account whether or not the above criteria are met. If you require Financial Aid in order to attend one of our courses, please complete an application and explain your situation as fully as possible.
Are there any other options for discounted tuition?
From time-to-time, the Food Craft Institute hosts one-day info sessions on topics related to food entrepreneurship. Past events have included a Cottage Food Law Info Session and a Fermentation Workshop. Please see our Events page for a complete list of past programming and upcoming events.
Do you offer any online courses?
Unfortunately at this time, we don't have the ability to support any online courses. Moreover, at least 50% of our course curriculum is dedicated to on-site tours from successful practitioners in the area, where our students get to see a range of facilities and methods of production. These behind-the-scenes tours do not translate well to electronic media.
Can you recommend any other resources for food entrepreneurs?
Please see our Resources page for further opportunities for entrepreneurs and links to relevant partner organizations.
How can I stay in the loop about FCI courses and events?