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Let’s Talk About Food Festival

  • When: Saturday, October 5, 2013, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Copley Square, Boston, Ma
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit2: All ages
  • Categories: Outdoor, Festival | Food

Food sustains a community, creates cultural traditions, has an impact on health, affects the environment, creates jobs, energizes the economy and nourishes the next generation. Food creates memories, brings together family and friends and plays a central role in both celebration and consolation. What other single topic ties our world together as powerfully and joyfully as food?

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, celebrity chefs, farmers, writers, great food thinkers and anyone with a passion for food will gather in Copley Square for the 2013 Let’s Talk About Food Festival, the region’s largest public food festival and outdoor seminar. Presented by Whole Foods Market and produced in conjunction with The Boston Globe, the free festival will celebrate and explore all aspects of the food system.

“Food brings all of us together and impacts every part of our lives,” said Louisa Kasdon, founder of Let’s Talk About Food. “This event will explore every aspect of food, from nutrition to the environment – and we’ll do it in a way that is engaging, educational and fun. We want to spark many conversations about food and the role it plays in our community.”

From food labeling to food allergies, food science to farming, fishing and cooking, the festival aims to engage the public in participatory and meaningful conversations about all aspects of the food system. This fun and family-friendly event will offer a series of talks and demonstrations along with interactive activities, designed to engage and educate people on a series of topics, including health, nutrition, science, environment, cooking, farming and agriculture, aquaculture and fishing, sustainability, fisheries, food access, food safety and school food.

“People today are more interested in learning about food and where it comes from than ever before,” said Kimberley Rose, regional vice president for Whole Foods Market North Atlantic. “Because Whole Foods Market is committed to offering the highest quality natural and organic food, we’re proud of the opportunity to foster these important conversations and encourage everyone to come out to the event on October 5.”

The event kicks off with a town hall forum on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at Trinity Church in the Back Bay. The Forum “Can New England Feed Itself?” will focus on the issues of sustainability in New England. Presented by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, the event will feature a distinguished list of speakers including Chef and Wholesome Wave CEO Michel Nischan, U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (ME), Gregory Watson, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture, Amanda Beal, director of the By Land and By Sea Project, Brian Donohue, Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University, Timothy Griffin, Associate Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, Glynn Lloyd, co-founder of City Growers and CEO of City Fresh Foods, and John Piotti, executive director of Maine Farmland Trust. The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is encouraged at www.letstalkaboutfood.com

On Friday, October 4, at 6:00 p.m., the discussion continues with a community forum on Food, Faith and Ethics at Trinity Church. Exploring the ways that food justice, ethics and faith come together, this panel will feature Fred Bahnson, director of the Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread, Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D, the director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports and The Reverend Patrick C. Ward, Associate Rector for Worship and Communications at Trinity Church in Boston. The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is encouraged at www.letstalkaboutfood.com

On Saturday, October 5, the outdoor festival kicks off with a host of presentations and programming elements. The main stage presentations will include:
• Cooking for Geeks: The science of food and cooking presented by Jeff Potter
• Raise Your Hand for Better School Food – a discussion on why school food is so complicated and how it can be improved, featuring Ann Cooper and chef Jody Adams
• The Mediterranean Diet – exploring the relationship between flavor and health, featuring Oldways’ President Sara Baer-Sinnott, chef Ana Sortun and Kathy McManus from Brigham & Women’s Hospital
• Let’s Talk About Seafood – a discussion on sustainability of seafood featuring Barton Seaver from the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment
• How to Fuel an Athlete – learn how athletes eat for optimum performance, presented by Tara Mardigan, nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox and Steve “Nookie” Postal, former chef at Fenway Park
• An Israeli Brunch: Beyond Hummus and Falafel – Explore Israeli food with chefs Gil Hovav and Michael Leviton
• Men (and Women) in Blue – local first responders from Cambridge, Watertown and Boston will compete with area chefs in a cook-off.

Throughout the day, there will be a host of demonstrations and workshops, including chocolate making, cheese making, pasta making, knife skills, fermentation and much more. For a full schedule of demonstrations and workshops, visit www.letstalkaboutfood.com

Exploring the hunger issue is critical in any discussion about food. Project Bread, the statewide anti-hunger organization, will host A Fresh Approach to Ending Hunger at Trinity Church. Throughout the day, non-profit organizations offering innovative approaches to ending hunger will offer presentations and cooking demonstrations in Trinity Church. Organizations onsite will include City Growers, Community Servings, Cooking Matters, Dorchester Community Food Coop, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Massachusetts Farm to School, Mill City Grows, and Project Bread.

The festival will also feature The Endless Table, where festival attendees can mingle with food experts for a daylong series of conversations about the food system, including how food affects the body, the economy and the planet. Each segment of The Endless Table will host a moderated discussion on food topics, including food and obesity, school food, sustainability, food safety, urban agriculture, food labeling and more.

Other festival activities will include:
o The Edible Garden - a hands-on container garden, or series of container gardens that lets adults and children “get their hands dirty” and learn about planting and tasting edible gardens.
• The Marketplace - a food-centered marketplace for exhibitors, health and food vendors, and educational institutions and community organizations to present their wares and their works to the public.
• Ask a Chef - get all the answers to cooking and restaurant questions from a revolving roster of chefs
• Ask-a-Nutritionist – get the answers to healthy eating and nutrition questions
• Calories In, Calories Out – an interactive activity showing calories in common foods and how much activity it takes to burn the calories off
• Kitchen Conversations - a living project that captures the spirit of food in a rich, archive of first-person narratives about food memories. A recording booth onsite will allow festival goers to share their own stories

There will also be author readings, cookbook signings and more throughout the weekend. For more information about this free festival, visit www.letstalkaboutfood.com