Transition Sarasota’s Eat Local Week returns Oct. 20-29

Geraldson Community Farm

Mark your calendar, foodies.

Eat Local Week, Transition Sarasota’s popular annual celebration of local food, will return for the seventh consecutive year Oct. 20-29. There will be a mix of local food dinners and tastings, tours of local farms and food operations and educational events covering a range of topics, from urban gardening to nutrition.

The 10-day festival starts with a keynote talk by Samantha Benjamin-Kirk, a leader in strengthening local food systems by implementing farm-to-school initiatives around the Southeast on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Benjamin-Kirk is a nationally recognized expert in incorporating traditional and indigenous foods into school meals. Farm-to-school practices have been shown to increase the number of students purchasing healthy meals at school and to reduce food waste.

Benjamin-Kirk’s talk is followed the next day by the second annual Big Mama’s Collard Green Fest, which challenges local chefs and cooks to create mouth-watering samples out of their best collard green recipes. Locals are encouraged to sample a dizzying array of Cajun, Creole, Southern and Caribbean flavors, while also enjoying live music.

Other Eat Local Week events include the official kickoff of Transition Sarasota’s seasonal Suncoast Gleaning Project at Jessica’s Organic Farm, a tour of the Mote Aquaculture Research Park, a new collaboration with Giving Hunger the Blues and much more. Details are still being finalized for many of the events, and Transition Sarasota will be posting more detailed event information to its website and social media accounts as they are confirmed.

Now in its seventh year, Eat Local Week has become one of Sarasota’s signature food events, with a growing roster of business and nonprofit partners and more than a dozen independently organized events in venues throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. The event routinely draws thousands of attendees with its unique mix of food tastings, speeches and discussions and behind-the-scenes tours of some of the region’s most exciting local food ventures.

Transition Sarasota is a Sarasota-based nonprofit that is dedicated to shifting food consumption to local sources, supporting local businesses and farmers and eradicating food scarcity in our community.

This story was originally published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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