Who doesn’t love a morning trip to the local farmer’s market? It’s a chance to not only support local economy but also meet the people who grow and harvest or produce the freshest food around. Ever wonder what it takes to be a local farmer or food producer? The 2nd semi-annual Local Food Entrepreneur Showcase will give you an insider’s glimpse of how you can team up with the local food movement.
The Local Food Entrepreneur Showcase, coordinated by Don Hall, the Founder and Executive Director of Transition Sarasota, will host several local food producers, farmers and vendors to inspire and educate others about the local food movement going on right here in Sarasota. “We did our first showcase last October during our annual Eat Local Week,” says Hall. “We had such a great response to it so we decided to do it regularly.” Hall has about seven years of experience working with the Transition movement, five of the most recent he spent here in Sarasota getting this sustainability-focused organization up and running. “I think it’s been picking up momentum each year,” Hall says. “We’ve started to see more partnerships throughout the community.” These very partnerships are part of what has made the Local Food Entrepreneur Showcase possible.
The showcase will feature “TED-talk” style presentations from local food entrepreneurs, speaking on topics of interest to the localfood movement community. For those who may be interested in what it takes to start your own food-based business, you won’t want to miss Christine Nordstrom’s presentation. Nordstrom is the owner of RISE Kitchen, a food entrepreneur incubator, where she rents out her commercial kitchen to up-and-coming food artisans and food-based business owners to test and perfect their recipes and menus using the appliances and convenience of a commercial kitchen. “She gives them the opportunity to start small, build up, figure out their successes, and take their business to the next level,” says Hall.
Samples from local food vendors, live music and a special screening of the short film, “Food for Thought, Food for Life” will round out this multi-medium event, which takes place April 19th from 4pm to 8pm at the Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center.
When discussing the local food movement, Hall likes to emphasize that “face certification” is just as important, if not more so, than USDA Organic certification. “The showcase will be a great opportunity for people to interact with local farmers and producers,” says Hall. But the showcase isn’t just for mingling with your friendly farmer. “The ultimate goal is to encourage investment in local food sources rather than Wall Street.”
Don’t have the skrilla to invest in a business but still want to help the local farming community thrive? Besides buying local and taking the 10% Local Food Shift pledge, you should check out the Monday morning Gleaning program through Transition Sarasota. Volunteers assist in harvesting excess produce at Jessica’s Organic Farm so it can be donated to All Faiths Food Bank. Over the past five seasons of the program, approximately 150,000 pounds of food has been donated to local food banks, thanks to the harvesting help of caring community members. Help out your local food community and get your good karma on!