By Marissa Dwyer
This Sunday, Fair Food Philly and the Pennsylvania Association for Agriculture (PASA) are teaming up to host the first ever Philly Farm & Food Fest. Both non profits work to create a more sustainable local food system, linking farmers and consumers via a “farm to fork” mentality.
The Fest includes a number of workshops, presentations, and activities, all held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex in Philadelphia. It aims to bring together farmers throughout the region, sustainable food businesses, food-focused organizations, and consumers, strengthening ties within the region’s food system. This event marks the start of the growing season, when consumers will now have abundant opportunities to buy local products.
Over 100 exhibitors will be participating. The list includes everyone from suppliers of earth-friendly potting soils and all-natural cleaning products to organic farmers’ co-ops and organic coffee roasters. This celebration of local goods and agricultural products highlights the strength of the area’s local food system, as well as the opportunities for its further growth both in the region and in other areas throughout the country. Exhibitors will be available to answer questions about their work, offer samples of their products, and there will be the opportunity to connect with farmers to sign up for community supported agriculture (CSA) memberships.
Admission to the Fest includes free entrance for all activities. These include an informative workshop by the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, a class on artisan cheese tasting, and workshops where participants can plant seeds in reused containers. The Fest also includes an educational component. There will be a seminar on land use policy where the report Transforming Open Space to Sustainable Agriculture in Urban and Suburban Regions, commissioned by the Green Space Alliance and the William Penn Foundation, will be presented, followed by a panel discussion consisting of local leaders in food issues. There will also be presentations on saving seeds, tea infusions, and other food topics.
Following the Fest, there will be a Buyer’s Reception from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. This “industry-only” portion of the event provides the opportunity to connect with a large number of local farmers and food producers.
This event addresses the need to strengthen ties between consumers and farmers. Supporting local food systems can provide benefits for all, resulting in less strain on the environment for transport costs, lower prices and fresher products for consumers, and a higher value placed on producers, leading to a more ethical food system.
Marissa Dwyer is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.