The locavores have taken over Philadelphia. You've likely seen them swarming farmer's markets across the city, starting urban gardens and proselytizing about the wonders of dirt and locally grown asparagus. Their numbers have radically increased in recent years, and it looks like they're here to stay.
"Local food isn't as fringe as it once was," says Kristin Mulvenna, a Program Manager for Farm To City, a local business that organizes farmer's markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs across the city. "It's more mainstream now, and there are a lot of people who want to purchase locally, and more people understand the economic and health benefits of this."
Along with Slow Food Philadelphia, another local food advocacy organization, Farm To City, brings the eighth annual "Good Food, Good Beer and the Rest is History" event to The Shambles at Headhouse Square this weekend. There will be cooking demonstrations by local chefs, including Andrew Gerson of Strada Pasta and Andrea Rossi of C19, as well as local craft beers from Victory, Stoudts and Philadelphia Brewing Company. And, for the first time in the event's history, the food will be served by local food trucks, including Vernalicious, Zea May's and Sweet Box Cupcakes.
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"There has been a huge resurgence in the food truck culture here, so we thought it would be great to partner with them," says Mulvenna. "A lot of them are sourcing locally now, and using farmers as a resource for their products. The more local food trucks there are participating in this culture, the more it helps local farmers and helps the local economy to thrive."
Joe Brandolo, the chapter leader of Slow Food Philadelphia, has also noticed many significant changes in the city's food culture in recent years. "There are young urban farmers, young creative independent chefs opening restaurants, an increase in farmers markets, and much more," says Brandolo, who says last year's "Good Food, Good Beer" was the first where people under 35 were in the majority (and, as a result, the first year they ran out of beer). "It's a very exciting time for Philadelphia's food community."
If you go
Good Food, Good Beer and the Rest is History
Saturday, 6 p.m.
$30-$35, Second and Lombard streets