Celebrating Sustainability: Boston Local Food Festival

by Lucia Austria

Brisk winds and sporadic showers were no match for the glowing enthusiasm and high-energy of the participants of the annual Boston Local Food Festival that took place October 7th on the Rose Kennedy Greenway near Boston’s waterfront district. Hosted by Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, the festival brought together vendors and exhibitors eager to show off their products to passerby. Farm stands, food trucks, and booths featuring local restaurants, food manufacturers, and exhibitions filled four large parcels of the greenway forming a large market of organizations focused on creating sustainable foodways for the greater Boston area.

For six hours, crowds filled the greenway, taking time at each booth to taste free samples, purchase local products, and learn about each organization’s mission. The proximity of the festival to the popular Boston tourist point, Quincy Market, brought in not only the locals but also out-of-state and international tourists, curious to investigate the lively commotion happening off the cobblestone sidewalks. One could only imagine how similar the spirit of the event was to the Quincy Market of the past, a brick edifice once filled with farmers and grocers hawking their wares and building relationships with the local community.

Organizations like Cape Cod Fish Share and John Crow Farm engaged passerby with details of their meat and fish shares, presenting opportunities for local citizens to be a part of their sustainable missions. Enterprise Farm, from South Deerfield, Massachusetts, caught crowd attention by inviting you to board their Mobile Market, a farm stand on wheels that resembles a school bus more than a farm stand. Its interior is lined with a few rows of boxes filled with fresh and affordable produce and decorated with photos of community members the Mobile Market services. Enterprise Farm’s Mobile Market aims to bring farm-fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods in Somerville and Springfield. Participation in Enterprise Farm’s year-round CSA contributes to this project, adding yet another factor in the dynamic of a sustainable and accessible food system.

Enterprise Farm’s Mobile Market

Of course, you can’t think about sustainable food without considering waste. Restaurant booths and food trucks provided patrons with compostable utensils. Composting and recycling receptacles dotted the festival grounds. One notable festival exhibitor, Bootstrap Compost based in Jamaica Plain, enlightened festivalgoers with the how-to’s and benefits of composting. Bootstrap’s pick-up service collects kitchen scraps from residences, dormitories, and food establishments from all over the Boston area. A portion of the compost is then delivered to participants, local gardens, and area farms. Bootstrap Compost shared their booth with a recipient of their compost, The Buckle Farm from Dighton, Massachusetts, who sold beautiful produce grown from the kitchen scraps of Boston locals.

Andy Brooks of Bootstrap Compost

The only downside of the Boston Local Food Festival is that it happens but once a year. However, this annual event hopes to create awareness among Bostonians of the variety of ways they can become connected to their food. Patronizing local farmers markets and socially conscious businesses is an opportunity for all to become an active member in a sustainable foodway.

Lucia is a current BU Gastronomy student. She works for Taza Chocolate based in Somerville as the Senior Shift Leader and Purchasing for the production team.

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