FAIRfest Local Food Summit | FAIRfest Hosts Food Symposium Sept. 2-4

Food activist Raj Patel is the keynote speaker at the Local Food Summit.

Have you heard what’s going down over Labor Day weekend in Fairfield? FAIRfest 2016 not only promises to be the music festival of the season, but also a big jump and shout for the local foods movement. Where else could you groove to the likes of Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Buddy Guy and Donovan alongside international food activist Raj Patel?

So what’s behind this buzz about the local food movement, and why does it matter? To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton: “It’s the taste and nutrition, stupid!” If you don’t know what I mean by that, get yourself down to your local farmers’ market, get to know some of the farmers producing real food picked that same day, and try it out in your favorite pasta sauce, quiche, or grilled vegetable medley. Not only will you make new friends, but your taste buds will tingle and your body will thank you.

As we start supporting our local food economy, all sorts of good things begin to happen in our communities. Making investments into local food, farming, and finance infrastructure enhances employment opportunities. Restaurants committed to farm-to-fork relationships have an edge in developing unique menus that attract people from out of town. As we eat more freshly harvested and nutritious meals, lo and behold, our health and vitality improves. Now that is something to celebrate!

FAIRfest 2016 is not only about throwing a better party with top-notch musical talent but also about waking up to the huge opportunity we have in Iowa to get back into the local food business. We used to produce about 90 percent of the food we eat right here in the state. Now we import 90 percent of our daily menu. We can get that equation back in balance and have a heck of a good time doing so.

The Planetary Local Food Summit will have an early start on Thursday afternoon, September 1, with a local foods dinner and Investment Roundtable to showcase some of the business ventures that are popping up in support of our local food economy. On Friday afternoon, September 2, the public is invited to a symposium on the Future of Food with expert panelists discussing this exploding sector of the American economy.

On Saturday, September 3, festival goers will be able to join the Local Foods Celebration and Showcase of local foods businesses at the FACC from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will include the option of sitting down to a delicious luncheon hosted by our very own Southeast Iowa Food Hub. Topping it all off on Saturday at 2 p.m. will be a keynote presentation by international food policy activist Raj Patel.

If that was not enough to fill your FAIRfest plate, festival goers will have the option to jump on the tour bus Sunday 1:30–4 p.m. for a Local Foods Tour of some of the innovative models for growing organic food and harvesting renewable energy in our very own backyard.

FAIRfest 2016 will not only be the best music extravaganza of the year but will also will delight your tummy and mind as you glimpse how a local food renaissance can deliver a better party for all! Keep checking FairfestIowa.com for updates on the Local Food Summit events.