There was a common theme Sunday afternoon at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston: eating and sourcing local foods. The ninth annual Boston Local Food Festival brought together nearly 100 vendors, some from as far as Vermont, to support local business and to promote habits of responsible eating.
The festival kicked off at noon on a radiant day with opening remarks from the coordinating director of the Northwest Alliance, Niaz Dorry. Dorry emphasized the importance of treating animals with dignity, and she also talked about the need to pay fair wages and consume foods that are healthy and nourishing for our bodies.
Nicola Williams, a board member of the Sustainable Business Network, concluded by thanking “the village of volunteers” that made the food festival possible and so special.
After welcome ceremonies, visitors scrambled to visit and taste foods from the four unique zones that lined the Greenway. These included a Family Fun Zone, the New England Village, the Seafood Throw Down, and the Chefs Demos Stage.
There was no shortage of diversity at the festival as vendors offered up foods from all four corners of the world. Vendors who sourced organic goods from nearby farms served up delicacies such as apple walnut salads and fried Korean Fusion Mandu. Visitors queued up in long lines waiting for bowls of poke, spicy ears of Mexican Street Corn, and refreshing cans of sparkling water made with squeezed fruit.
Everywhere, there was a sense of urgency as participants wanted to visit as many vendors and try as many foods as they could with their limited time. Families, college students, and even toddlers enjoyed pork and rice, street tacos, and oysters served up by the local businesses. There were even vendors selling sriracha maple syrup and organic agave marinades, sourced from Vermont and Connecticut respectively.
Despite the wide range of foods and services offered by the festival, a common theme united the vendors and festival organizers: health and sustainability. All around, there were signs advertising GMO-free foods, vegan foods, and organic foods.
Even the trash cans located around the festival promoted sustainability. All trash stations were manned by a volunteer who educated visitors on the differences between compost, recycling, and trash.
Vendors at the festival touted produce sourced from as near as Brookline. It is this focus on locally sourced organic foods that makes the Boston Local Food Festival special, explained Jeff Barry, a vendor from the local delivery service, Boston Organics.
Barry added that his motives behind eating sustainably are environmental.
“By promoting and supporting sustainable agriculture, you are helping to support overall sustainability,” he said. ”Organic farming practices pull in carbon from the atmosphere.”
Barry argued that eating sustainably is in everyone’s best interest, and that doing so is easier, because the actual cost difference between non-organic and organic foods at supermarkets s getting smaller.
Featured Image by Lorenz Chen / For The Heights