The Rapidian

Fork Fest 2012 provides chance to get to know local food system

My coverage of Local First's Fork Fest at the Romence Gardens and some thoughts about the food system that brings us our choices.
Underwriting support from:
Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant /Chris Freeman

Tory O'Haire (The Starving Artist)

Tory O'Haire (The Starving Artist) /Chris Freeman

Amore Tratteria Italiana

Amore Tratteria Italiana /Chris Freeman

At first glance, it would be easy to think that Fork Fest was just a food fair where several restaurants were gathered at one spot for you to try their offerings. This casual observation quickly evaporates when you arrive at the venue.

Romence Gardens is a local nursery and greenhouse best known for being able to meet your gardening and landscaping needs, and less known for hosting an homage to local food.

Fork Fest is a gathering of roughly 35 local food related businesses promoting the best of what West Michigan has to offer in the way of local food.

Although this event did have many restaurant attendees like the up and coming Grove and Trillium Haven, the more conspicuous participants were the non-restaurant attendees: Torrence O’Haire (The Starving Artist) who is a local private chef who hosts a monthly supper club, Uptown Kitchen who provides space and expertise to provide culinary opportunities that might not otherwise be available, Lubbers Family Farm who provide food to many locals restaurants, and Doorganics who will deliver local organic food right to your doorstep! These are not the usual suspects at a typical food event, but they fit right into the theme of Fork Fest.

When we as people go out to eat, we are typically going there for a final product. Recently, there has been a hard push nationwide for sustainable foods. That has made many people think about not just the food itself, but the process in which it arrived at the table. Was the food locally grown? Is it organic? Why is this food a better option than commercially provided options?

Food Fest was a great opportunity for people to take a look at the whole process of what is available locally getting food from the farm to the table, and some of the unique business models that can be used to facilitate that.

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