This weekend I’ll be attending Localicious and the Good Food Festival and Conference hosted by FamilyFarmed.org taking place at UIC Forum in Chicago. If you’re looking for an alternative to the drunken debauchery of St. Patty’s day in Chicago and you love food, this is the perfect event for you!
This year the Good Food Festival and Conference is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a family-friendly day of inspiring speakers, DIY workshops, chef demos featuring Rick Bayless, Paul Virant and Erling Wu-Bower, an interactive Kids Corner and exhibitor floor, all designed to grow the Good Food Movement! FamilyFarmed.org, the organization behind the Good Food Festival, mission is to expand the production and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.
The fest begins Thursday with the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference helping food and farm businesses scale up to meet the burgeoning demand for local, sustainable, and artisanal food. The learning continues on Friday with the Good Food Festival's Trade Show, School Food, and Policy Conference.
On Friday, March 14th you can start your weekend off with a bang with Localicious, a party to celebrate the farmers who grow our food and the chefs who transform it. Presented by FamilyFarmed.org and The Nosh, the Localicious party Friday evening unites Chicago’s premier chefs such as Marc Bernard (Big Bowl), Sean Sanders (Browntrout), Eric Mansavage (Farmhouse), Joseph Heppe (Untitled), among others, for an evening of delicious food, the best of local wines, beers and spirits, and a live Bluegrass band. This year will also debut a Preview of The Band of Farmers CSA Farmer Talent Show.
My top picks for the event on Saturday from the Good Food Festival highlights press release include:
- The Expo Floor: Attendees can meet farmers and artisanal producers and sample their goods on the show floor, in the Good Food Court and at the CSA Pavilion. (Saturday, 10am-5pm)
- Good Food Master Class: Best-selling author Michael Ruhlman and chef/charcuterie professor Brian Polcyn will break down a whole hog from Gunthorp Farms, and demonstrate techniques from their books, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (2005), and Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing (2012). (Saturday, 9am-12pm)
- Urban Ag Bus Tour: Festival goers can tour four of the leading farm sites, community programs, and sustainability incubators in Chicago: Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest, Growing Home’s Wood Street and Honore Street Farms, Growing Power’s Iron Street Farm and urban food business incubator, The Plant. (Saturday, 9am-12pm)
- The Locapour's Cocktail Bar Workshop: Preservation expert Kevin West, author of Saving The Season, will teach making your own infusions, syrups and bitters from the garden and farmers. (Saturday, 12:30pm-1:45pm)
- Food Co-ops 101: What You Need to Know to Start or Join a Co-op: This roundtable discussion includes representatives from five of the local food co-ops and will explore what co-ops offer that other grocery stores do not; what it takes to start one; what it means to be own a co-op share; and how best to get involved. Featuring Chicago Cooperative, Dill Pickle Co-op, Edible Alchemy, Sugar Beet Co-op and Prairie Food Co-op. (Saturday, 3:30pm-5:30pm)
- Good Food Commons: Cultivate your curiosity at the Good Food Commons, a collection of 20-minute micro-workshops curated by our partners in the Good Food Community. Commons sessions offer festivalgoers quick, focused, expert instruction on everything from composting to container gardening, preserving farmers market bounty to kombucha mocktails. Plus the kids can cuddle baby chicks! (Saturday, 11:00am-3:50pm).
Some events cost more than others, full ticketing information can be found here.
Hope to see you there for a fun-filled foodie weekend!