by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed
We have been writing so much about FamilyFarmed‘s 11th annual Good Food Festival & Conference March 19-21, and we want to make sure that the main events designed for the general public do not get lost in the shuffle.
So… to make this as user-friendly as possible… here is our list of the top 10 reasons you should attend the Localicious food and drink tasting event on the evening of Friday, March 20, and the Good Food Festival — our celebration, for all interests and ages, of the fast-growing Good Food movement, on Saturday, March 21. [For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the event website.]
#1: LOCALICIOUS IS THE GOOD FOOD PARTY OF THE YEAR!
Localicious, on Friday evening, March 20, very simply is one of Chicago’s best annual food and drink tasting events! Sample delicious fare from top chefs who care about local sourcing, meet the farmers who provide their ingredients — and pair it all with some of the region’s finest craft beverages. A great value at $80 in advance. To read about the full lineup and to get a sneak preview of the great treats the chefs have in store for you, please check out this article on Good Food on Every Table.
#2: LEARN TO LOAF FROM TOP CHICAGO BAKERS
Come to the big Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 21, and take a Master Class in bread baking from Greg Wade, the talented head baker at Publican Quality Bread (part of chef Paul Kahan’s One Off Hospitality Group). [Read about Greg Wade and Publican Quality Bread by clicking here.]
And get even more granular at a workshop, led by Dave and Megan Miller of Baker Miller bakery/restaurant/millhouse, on milling local and heirloom grains at home. [Read about the Millers and their work bring power flour to Chicago by clicking here.]
#3: CHARCUTERIE WITH ROB LEVITT OF THE BUTCHER & LARDER
Rob Levitt, who has a devoted following at The Butcher & Larder meat shop he owns with his wife Allie, will show off his sharp skills at charcuterie-making at a Good Food Festival workshop! [Read about Rob, The Butcher & Larder, and the shop’s pending move to the new Local Foods retail store by clicking here.]
#4: MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE FOOD YOU LOVE TO EAT
The Exhibit Hall is the village square of the Good Food Festival, where you can meet and chat up the food and farm entrepreneurs who produce the local, sustainable food that nourishes the Good Food movement. Many exhibitors will have delicious items to buy and take home with you. [See the list of exhibitors by clicking here.]
#5: THE BEST COOKING SCHOOL EVER
Any Good Food lover would want to meet — and learn from — the top Chicago chefs who will present at the Good Food Festival.
Get a rare public glimpse of the innovative and exciting chef-driven Pilot Light program, which weaves food education into Chicago Public Schools curriculum, with co-founders Matthias Merges (Yusho, A10, Billy Sunday) and Jason Hammel (Lula Café, Nightwood). [Read more about the Pilot Light program by clicking here.]
And take a cooking class with Nicole Pederson of Evanston’s outstanding Found Kitchen and Social House.
#6: FAMILYFARMED IS FAMILY-FRIENDLY!
The Pilot Light demonstration is just one reason to bring your kids to one of the city’s family-friendliest food festivals. There will be a Kids’ Corner, presented by the great educational nonprofit Purple Asparagus. [Read more about Purple Asparagus and the Kids’ Corner by clicking here.] And if your children are interested in food in a hands-on way, bring them to the Good Food Commons workshops (see #7 below).
#7: DIY? FYI… YOU NEED TO VISIT THE GOOD FOOD COMMONS
The Good Food Commons (see program lineup by clicking here) has dozens of experts who will provide fun and accessible workshops on a wide range of do-it-yourself activities. The Commons is divided into tracks on how to Make, Grow, Raise, Preserve, and Compost, as well as a Community panel at which representatives of the area’s food co-op movement will discuss this blossoming market sector. [Read more about the co-op movement and the recently formed Chicagoland Food Co-op Coalition by clicking here.]
#8: FOOD FOR THOUGHT WITH GREAT DISCUSSIONS
The Good Food Festival will feature great panels with experts in the Good Food field. The Future of Food will be moderated by WBEZ‘s Monica Eng and include panelists Jan Parr of Crain’s Chicago Business, Sonya Harper of Grow Greater Englewood, Cheryl Muñoz of Sugar Beet Co-op, and Alexandra DeSorbo-Quinn of Pilot Light, and the panel on Grass-roots Food Activism will be moderated by Alex Poltorak of Urban Canopy and feature panelists Mark Kastel of Cornucopia Institute, Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now, Kerri McClimen with Pew Charitable Trusts, and Wes King of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
#9: EAT AND DRINK AND EAT SOME MORE
What would a Good Food Festival be without great food and drink? Buy lunch, snacks, and soft drinks in the Good Food Court and — new this year — enjoy some of the region’s best beverages at the Craft Drink Corner, presented by Farmhouse Taverns in Chicago and Evanston. Many exhibitors will have samples and will have delicious products you can buy and take home!
#10: SHOW YOUR COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR CSAs
Some of the region’s finest farmers run Community Supported Agriculture programs, or CSAs. Visit them at The Good Food Festival’s CSA Pavilion — and subscribe with your favorite farm to get regular deliveries of their local and sustainably raised products. [Read more about CSAs and Illinois’ Band of Farmers coalition by clicking here.]
The Good Food Festival also will play host to the Illinois Farmers Market Conference, presented by the Illinois Farmers Market Association (read about it by clicking here), and an Urban Farm Bus Tour, which will visit four great growing operations in Chicago’s rising urban agriculture sector.
Photos by Bob Benenson