Santa Monica Farmers Market grows relationships with new food festival
In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Santa Monica Farmers Market is hosting the first-ever Southern California Good Food Festival & Conference, a five-day festival celebrating and encouraging local and sustainable food. Notable farmers, chefs, artisan food producers, thinkers and food entrepreneurs from across the nation are converging this week on Santa Monica to explore and present the issues key to developing a local and sustainable food system.
From Sept. 14 to Sept. 18, Santa Monica Farmers Market, in conjunction with these leaders and FamilyFarmed.org, is offering a range of food-related events, including a two-day street fair, speaker panels, chef demos, a financing fair, trade and consumer shows, a food policy summit, a movie screening and an outdoor “Localicious" Gala celebration on the ocean. The goal is to promote California’s family farms, educate the public on the advantages of good food and explore the complex issues facing our food system, connecting local farmers and family-operated food producers with the general public and buyers to grow sustainable relationships.
"The Santa Monica Farmers Market is pleased to bring these groundbreaking events to consumers and businesses in Southern California," Laura Avery, the market’s manager for 29 of its 30 years, said in a statement. "For the past six years, our partner, FamilyFarmed.org, has produced the most successful trade show and festival for small- to mid-size focused farmers in the country. They have a proven track record of developing farmer-focused events that play an important role in building local food systems."
As the conference is already underway, Wednesday saw a cooking demonstration using the market’s produce and a special screening of the movie “Harvest,” which eloquently depicts the struggles of farm workers and their families.
For Thursday’s event, local, state and national leaders will congregate for an anniversary party at Santa Monica High, which features a discussion with "rock star" farmers, local and national food experts, renowned chefs and key political leaders.
Friday’s main affairs are a food policy and public health summit featuring celebrated speakers, including representatives from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, and a trade show that links farms and companies with grocery stores, restaurants, distributors and school districts.
Friday night, the “Localicious” beachfront gala will serve up some culinary magic, offering fresh signature dishes from 30 of Los Angeles’ major chefs and 30 market farmers. A silent auction will offer a chance to scoop up some gastronomic-related items.
Join in the fun Saturday and Sunday at a street fair bursting with activities. More than a 100 vendors will take part in the two-day celebration, which includes workshops, music, an agricultural art show, and farmer and food producer exhibits. Purchase edible delights and products from farmers, restaurants, food trucks and other businesses, with supplies sourced from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
For attendees who want to learn how to do it themselves, the "Grow and Preserve Your Own” event teaches how to grow fruit trees, raise backyard chickens, master container gardening, keep your own beehive and more. Those concerned with the content of school lunches can attend a gathering on improving the nutrition of school meals and increasing their sourcing of local produce.
Other options for the weekend include “Chefs at Play,” which boasts cooking demos from renowned chefs, and the “Good Food for Thought” speaker series, highlighting key players in the good food movement, who will share their perspective on the future of good food.
The Santa Monica Farmers Markets is dedicated to advocating for healthy eating and sustainable food production, preserving California farmland by supplying fresh produce from small farms to urban consumers.
Check out the entire list of events at goodfoodfestivals.com.