By Michelle DiMuzio, Communications Coordinator
Over the first weekend in October, Slow Food in the Tetons hosted their third annual Farm to Fork festival in Jackson Hole, WY. This multi-day food, education, and outreach based community event included a variety of speakers, discussion panels, workshops, meals, and markets for every age group, ticket price range, and food related areas of interest.
Mari Allan Hanna, the Communications and Outreach Manager for Slow Food in the Tetons, shared more about the festival and what’s different this year. “After five years of running a big ranch-style farm to table dinner, Slow Food in the Tetons chose to put its energy into an event that was more accessible to the entire community, with a stronger focus on education and engagement around the Slow Food message of ‘good, clean and fair food for all.’”
While the entirety of the festival focuses on community, Mari Allan expressed that the “…true gathering and harvest celebration hits its high point when we roll out the free community lunch. Menu items are sourced from local and regional farms, prepared in kind by local chefs and restaurants, and served up by volunteers. 500 delicious and healthy meals are given out to anyone who lines up.”
This year, the workshops included a variety of topics such as gardening, worms, and soil evaluation, composting, cooking for brain health, and food preservation. The festival also featured author and food activist Mark Bittman, who delivered this year’s keynote presentation on food justice, highlighting the history of inequalities in our foodways.
Another addition to this year’s festival was participation from indigenous members of the Teton area food network. Mari Allan explained, “This was the first year that Slow Food in the Tetons invited and were joined by Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho guests from the nearby Wind River Reservation. These tribal elders, educators and community leaders engaged as panelists for a discussion titled ‘Reclaiming Shoshone Ancestral Foods’ and a traditional foods cooking demonstration, featuring a chef from the Wind River Food Sovereignty Project and highlighting chokecherries and fry bread.”
The festival celebrated some amazing successes including approximately 2,500 total attendees over the three days, 15 total workshops, tastings and panel discussions, approximately $20,000 in direct producer sales from the farmer’s market, and 500 locally sourced box meals distributed at the community lunch.
Mari Allan reflected on the festival and shared, “The feeling when people come together around food, is about more than just food. This year’s Farm to Fork Festival felt more than ever like a celebration and an expanded appreciation of culture, community, seasonality, health, sustainability and commitment to ensuring a positive future through food.”
Photos by Brian Solem, Slow Food USA.