Food and beverage businesses from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are called to register for the Seventh Annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace festival, to be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. To accommodate social distancing needs, a hybrid event is planned, offering online ordering with curbside pickup plus a modified in-person marketplace to take place at the Graham Park County Fairgrounds. Food businesses that use local ingredients can learn more and register online at local-feast.org/registration2020.
Just like grocery stores were called out as essential, farmers markets have continued their service of bringing local farm produce to consumers. This was quickly apparent in Rochester when an online sales platform designed for bulk sales was shifted to allow for smaller pack sales to individual consumers for a drive-thru farmers market on March 21.
Jan Joannides, Executive Director of Renewing the Countryside and co-founder of the FEAST! Local Foods Network, was part of the Farmers Market Food Hub team that made that online pivot, and will be guiding efforts to get FEAST! vendor information online for ordering. “FEAST! is all about expanding markets for farms and food businesses in our region, so we’re all in for meeting the challenge of achieving that amidst the need for safe distancing.”
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is excited to see FEAST transition to a new, covid-friendly, event format. MDA’s Marketing Section Supervisor, Emily Jerve said, “The FEAST! team is adapting their approach to continue to support the food community in their region, just as we recently pivoted a popular cost sharing program to help Minnesota farmers and food makers who are innovating in the new covid-influenced food marketing channels, including E-commerce.”
FEAST! hosts more than 100 regional food businesses each year, including national award-winners. Many exhibitors utilize locally-grown ingredients in foods like cheese, jam, and wine, and include features like gluten-free, grass-fed and organic, as well as environmentally- and socially-responsible practices. See the 2019 exhibitors here, and an array of photos from the 2019 event here.
FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace is co-hosted by non-profit organizations, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundationand Renewing the Countryside, and sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. For more, visit www.local-feast.org. Follow @localfeastnetwork on Facebook, @Local_Feast on Twitter, localfeast on Instagram, and use #localFEAST to join the conversation.