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Savannah Food Day Festival seeks to unite community

  • This year’s Savannah Food Day Festival is Oct. 7 in Daffin Park. (Photo courtesy Savannah Food Day Festival)
  • This year’s Savannah Food Day Festival is Oct. 7 in Daffin Park. (Photo courtesy Savannah Food Day Festival)
 

Savannah Food Day Festival seeks to unite community

03 Oct 2017

Into its seventh year, the Savannah Food Day Festival has become an integral part of the growing sustainability-focused health community in Savannah.

Built around an idea of uniting communities and forging a new future in relation to how and what we consume, the free, day-long, family-friendly event is the largest in the nation, regularly drawing 5,000 to 7,000 people to Daffin Park.

The event is part of a nationally recognized day. Both Food Day and Earth Day, initiatives of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, act as awareness vehicles in local communities. The center was founded in 1971 to advocate for a healthier food system in the U.S.

Savannah’s Food Day is organized by Massive Events and Well Fed.

“I am really excited to be able to coordinate something like this,” said Joanne Morton, director of operations for the Savannah Food Day Festival. “We do Earth Day [Festival], too, having the same vendors and exhibitors at each event. I feel like we’re growing something that’s sustainable. That’s what we’re working for, to create more sustainable lifestyles.

“Seven years ago, people were saying we need to make some changes in Savannah,” Morton continued. “I think that’s when Healthy Savannah started. They are one of our sponsors and so is the Department of Health. The city is very interested in making this a priority.”

This event shouldn’t be confused with a foodie festival, where food trucks or restaurants sell their products. While there will be two food vendors, the heart of the festival will focus on connecting community members and educating them about suitability practices. Educational workshops have become the focus of the festival.

This year’s workshops cover beekeeping; herbal salt scrubs and face masks; mushrooms and composting; climate change; the paleo diet and more. Hunter Cattle Co. will be on hand with their grass-fed beef and pork, and the new vegan/vegetarian restaurant Natural Selections Cafe will have veggie options available.

Local community partners Savannah Children’s Museum will have a mobile kitchen on site for cooking demos. Nonprofits Healthy Savannah, YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Art Rise Savannah, Loop It Up Savannah, COPE and the Chatham County Health Department will also be on hand.

Out of Massachusetts, Equal Exchange is one of the largest free-trade co-ops in the world and will send representatives to the festival to talk about climate change and sustainable farming. They sell their coffee, chocolate, tea and other goods locally at Whole Foods, Lucky’s Market and Brighter Day, which will all also have reps at the festival.

Equal Exchange will share a short film on women coffee growers at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at The Sentient Bean as a part of First Friday in Starland.

“We want this event to be a meeting ground for the local community,” Morton said. “They all need help, too. You might meet some random people and get some volunteers.The more you know your neighbors, the more you’re willing to help each other. It’s definitely educational, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be entertained.”

In addition to the workshops and vendors, the day will be sprinkled with live music. Beginning at 11 a.m., Keystone Postcard will kick off the jams. Laiken Love and the Fellowship of Love, Josephine Johnson, B-RyaN and Ember City will keep the music going till after 3 p.m.

“I hope for everyone, for one, to make a new friend,” Morton said. “To walk away feeling empowered to make whatever small changes they can do in their daily life. I like to say, the more you’re aware, the more you care — the more you care, the more you share.

“I love giving all of these local businesses an opportunity to share,” she continued. “If we put all of our energy together, we can co-create together. We’re all humans. We’re all on this planet together. We all need fresh water to drink. We all need clean ground to grow food. We just do.”

IF YOU GO

What: Savannah Food Day Festival

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Daffin Park

Cost: Free

Info: fooddaysavannah.org

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