Monday, October 4, 2010

Locally Featured: Boston Local Food Festival

Over the past year it seems as though Boston has been taken over by a new craze.  Everywhere, all over town and the surrounding areas, menus have been dotted with new information.  Now, in addition to mouth watering descriptions of the dishes being served, menus list where the produce, and often the proteins come from.  Lists of supplying farms read like a map of Massachusetts, spelling out appreciation for the tremendous farm land we've been blessed with.  Of course, utilizing locally sourced ingredients isn't a "new" idea, it's one of the oldest in the books, but for so long many, and that is not to say all, but many restaurants in the area were conditioned to order from large distributors missing completely the opportunity to support the local farms.

Of course,supporting local farmers is not the only reason that the Local Movement, as it has come to be known, has caught on with such vigor in the past year.  I believe that the reasoning is a few fold.  America's attention to pollution and our environment has increased.  We are now looking for new ways to cut down on gas emissions, and reduce out carbon foot print.  When looking at this discussion it only stands to reason that the next question would be- why are we buying apples from Fiji, and paying to transport them all the way here, when we have perfectly good apples in our backyard?  Doesn't that seem silly?  As this discussion grew, it became more and more logical for cities, towns and states to look to their own producers to find the solutions.  Less travel time, less pollution and happier farmers.  Finally, there is, of course, the taste of local produce as it compares to the mass distribution.  The benefit of locally produced fruits and vegetables doesn't stop at lesser emissions, though there are those, but with lesser emissions comes the idea that the food is traveling shorter distances and therefore is getting to your table quicker.  The less time between the tree or the field to your hands results in fresher, cleaner tasting products.  The result- tasty, nutritious food, easier for anyone to obtain, and for restaurants to showcase as the seasons change.

This past weekend the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston hosted the first annual Boston Local Food Festival.  It's mission in bringing together hundreds of different suppliers and vendors with the general population in this free festival was:
  • Generate increased demand for local and sustainably produced food through education and promotion.
  • Support the growth and development of local farms and locally owned food-related businesses.
  • Increase the availability and access of healthy local food to urban communities.
  • Facilitate collaborations between local food farms, businesses, and public and non-profit organizations.
Over 30,000 people attended the event held on Saturday under brilliant sunshine in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood of Boston.  The feeling of the event was laughter and enjoyment, but a trained eye could see the education that was taking place as well.  Everywhere you looked young and old alike were talking with chefs, volunteers, farmers, producers, and movement leaders learning the benefits of eating local, as well as discussing the challenges.  Successful is a  word that can be used to describe the event, though it is grossly under describing it if you ask me.

And now- my photographic journey through the festival!
View from the Congress Street Bridge Approaching- A Sea of Tents
Arthur,a friendly greeter from the Children's Museum, welcomes the crowds
The festival had a zero waste policy, attendees were encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle and fill up at these sinks

Summer Produce mingled with the Fall Produce- friendship!
Founder of Local In Season Jon, with bloggers Lara and Katie

Amazing pastries from Canto 6

Local Rock Stars Rachel and Leigh, owners of Nella Pasta
Greg and JoAnn, owners of Burnin' Love Sauces



Lara @ GoodCookDoris said...

Great photos! It was wonderful to see you and explore some of the delicious treats together!

Delicious Dishings said...

Nice recap of the event! Loved looking at your photos.

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

What a great recap of such a fun day! Love the grilled cheese picture too...for obvious reasons :)

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