For the last five years, a special home-grown movement rooted in the fertile, pacific coast soils of Santa Barbara has blossomed into a potent movement for healthy, accessible, locally produced food. On Saturday, September 27th, the 5th Annual SOL Food Festival lands once again in Santa Barbara’s Plaza Vera Cruz Park, profiling Seasonal, Organic, Local (SOL) food and its role in creating a brighter future for all. The Festival runs from 10am-6pm across from the Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Santa Barbara, is free for all attendees, and is produced this year in partnership with Cultivate Events and Lucidity.
“What we’ve seen in Santa Barbara over the last 5 years is a proactive, solutions-based approach to some of the problems being identified by scholars researching global food justice & food security,” said Alison Hensley, SOL Food Festival co-founder. “In these times of big industrial agribusiness, the proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), and lingering unexamined belief structures left over from the ‘Green Revolution,’ Santa Barbara is emerging as a model for what’s possible.”
Last year’s festival attracted over 100 exhibitors and 5,000 people to the park for delicious food vendors and artisans, locally crafted beer & wine, kids activities, farm animals, educational workshops, and a thriving community of fellow foodies.
This year’s festival will once again feature 3 Educational Learning Zones with a variety of educational and engaging workshops. The SOL Chef Competition will feature some of our region’s most talented chefs cooking up a storm with food procured from the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. Featured again this year will be the kid-approved Hungry Caterpillar Crawl passport program as well as dozens of exhibitors representing the breadth and depth of the Santa Barbara County food world. The wildly popular Salad Eating Contest is not to be missed! Finally, the Hands On Kitchen will provide an opportunity for attendees to ‘play with their food,’ as local chefs walk festival goers through the art of preparing fermented foods.
“At this year’s Hands on Kitchen, the SOL Food Festival and Edible Santa Barbara are excited to offer ‘cook it forward’ demonstrations,” said Katie Falbo, Director of Cultivate Events. “These include a knife skills class by Williams Sonoma, a water kefir demo by Alchemy Arts Cafe, a baking demo featuring locally grown wheat by the Heirloom Grain Alliance, and more.”
The Garden of Eatin’ will again be serving up delectable delights for hungry festival goers, and for those seeking to quench their thirst and satisfy their musical cravings, “The Oasis” Beer and Wine Garden stage will feature music throughout the day, all while surrounded by 8 local breweries and wineries including Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards, Brew Lab, the Brewhouse, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Jun Brewery, Rincon Brewery, Telegraph Brewing Co. and Valley Brewers. A special networking happy hour will take place for the first time at The Oasis from 6-8pm as the Festival winds down.
The SOL Food Festival is THE event for anyone wanting to learn more about food security, resiliency, and fun in Santa Barbara County! The Festival is made possible by the support of a number of generous sponsors, community members and individual donations. This year’s major sponsors include the Isla Vista Food Coop, LoaTree, Mountain Feed and Farm Supply, Whole Foods Santa Barbara and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
Don’t forget a number of events coming up in the days ahead to help support the SOL Food Festival as it nears. These include a ‘pop-up’ dinner at Ellwood Canyon Farms on September 14th and Green Drinks on September 16th at Mattole Valley Naturals. For more information, visit the SOL Food website at www.solfoodfestival.com.