Class hosts festival to highlight local foods
Local foods will be the topic at hand today in Owen Park as a group of UW-Eau Claire students hosts Food Fest. The festival, which was planned by students for their small group communications class, will incorporate many organizations and businesses from around campus and Eau Claire.
Junior Alyssa Molbeck, an organizer of the event, said the festival will be host to food samples, games and information regarding local food and farming. Event-goers will also have a chance to win a raffle prize of gift certificates to some of the participating businesses. Molbeck said there would also be questionnaires and surveys for participants to take about local food.
Local chef Doug Kruschke will also be on hand showing the benefits of cooking with local foods, including a lettuce wrap, as well as demonstrations by local businesses and organizations.
Just Local Foods, 1117 S. Farwell St., and Circle Hill Cranberry Co., are two of the businesses participating in the fair, each specializing in food local to the Chippewa Valley. Both businesses will be presenting on their own work in the local food community and how individuals can help. UW-Eau Claire Vegetarian Society and Foodlums organization will also be present and will contribute to the informational sessions at the event.
Freshman Linnea Guerin, a member of the Vegetarian Society on campus, said the event will be good to bring attention to this culture in Eau Claire.
“(We want) to educate the public on different lifestyles and how they can benefit from them and how the environment can benefit them,” Guerin said.
Molbeck said the group could choose any topic to organize their event around, but decided on the Chippewa Valley’s local food community.
“We all were really interested,” Molbeck said. “We wanted to learn about it and help others learn about it too.” She added they liked the “snowball effect” aspect of passing on the excitement people have for locally grown food.
One of the group’s goals was to promote the businesses that already push for locally grown food around the area. Molbeck said she hopes Food Fest can encourage community gardens and show citizens that there is no need for corporations in our society’s food consumption.
Molbeck said the group isn’t currently planning to make this an annual event, but they have not ruled out the possibility. She said they hope the event will be informative and fun for both the event goers and participants.