Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This weekend’s Real Food Festival will feature food, activities, and speakers focusing on sustainable eating habits. The festival is a collaboration among Swarthmore College Good Food club, the Co-Op, and the grassroots sustainability group Swarthmore Sustainable Table.
According to Marc BrownGold, General Manager of the Swarthmore Co-Op, the event ” is less of a festival, and more of a symposium.” The sponsors aim to raise awareness about individuals’ food choices, and to help share lessons about how to live in a sustainable manner. The festival will include a special farmer’s market with hands-on events for adults and children alike, panel discussions on farming and sustainability, group dialogues on food choices, and sustainable meals prepared by the Swarthmore Good Food club and by local chefs.
Anthony Saufley, Art Director at the Co-Op, said that the event should serve as “one of many starting points” for supplying resources to the community. BrownGold emphasized that the festival should encourage individuals to “ask questions about their food. People should learn how the things they eat get from the farmer to their plate.”
Saturday morning, there will be a farmer’s market with special events and stands focusing on sustainability. For instance, there will be a honey-tasting sponsored by the Good Food club and butter-making activities to get kids and families engaged. “We’re trying to make it incredibly fun. That way, kids are having a good time, and we can engage the adults who are with them,” said Helen Nadel, board member of the Co-Op, said. In the afternoon, there will be a panel on food and farming in the 21st century, featuring sustainability advocates and farmers. In the evening, the Good Food club will provide a sustainable, local, humanely-raised pig roast accompanied by a discussion on sustainable meat.
“We will be serving pulled pork cooked by the Good Food club, along with turkeys and roasted vegetables provided by the Co-Op. Over a nice meal, people can start discussing issues surrounding meat, agriculture, and farming,” Sarah Scheub ’12, a member of the Good Food club, said. “The panels are trying to create an open discussion to bring up ethical and sustainable issues related to meat. We’ll discuss the life of a farmer, consumer choices about meat-eating, meat production and marketing, and anything else people want to ask about.”
The Good Food club “has two main prongs—sustainable gardening and promoting composting on campus,” Yvonne Socolar ’13, the club’s treasurer, explained. She expressed excitement over this weekend’s partnership: “Our involvement is to get ‘gown and town’ relations going strong. We’re excited to form friendships and connections.”
This will be the second annual “Meat Day,” featuring a pig roast and a discussion. “Last year it was really interesting—we had all different kinds of farmers, ranging from industrial farmers to people from tiny family farms,” Socolar said.
All those involved expressed excitement about the event. “Everyone can get behind this idea. It’s a good way to live your life and get communities together,” Socolar said. Scheub and BrownGold both expressed similar messages: that everyone should know where their food comes from and carefully consider what we eat. As Scheub said, “We all eat, we’re all consumers. Especially if you eat meat, you need to be thinking about your food choices. Consumers are able to forget about the food we eat, because we don’t have to see what’s involved in food production.”
This weekend’s festival should shed light on these considerations and begin, in BrownGold’s words, a “continuing dialogue about green, sustainable living.”
For more information about this weekend’s culinary and educational offerings, visit the Swarthmore Co-Op’s website here.