By Jonathan Darr
Each year, Oakland's Eat Real Festival brings together food lovers, food justice organizations, food crafters and a great group of performers and presenters. I look forward to this event every year because it builds a massive weekend of fun, thought and deliciousness drawing from the entire region.
To prepare for the annual festival, organizers have put out their call for vendors, volunteers and performers.
I've attended Eat Real Fest every year since the beginning - both as a guest - and as a nonprofit beneficiary during my time working at People's Grocery. Eat Real Fest gets it.
They put food product makers, farmers, restaurants and trucks, right by food politics and food justice organizations. They've grown the DIY and demo portions of the event in a way that is both entertaining and informative. And though the event gets crowded, I've never left without a full belly, having met some new food makers and organizations that I want to know better.
The team at Eat Real, plays dual roles. They are both enthusiasts and curators.
Just check their Twitter feed to see numerous posts about food policy, food events and food business. It's not a small task to balance these roles. Having seen a tiny sliver of the inside of their operation, I can tell you that these folks work hard and smart. Although it has become an institution, it also continues to highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area's food scene.
I'll never forget watching at least a 1,000 people shaking cream to make butter, or hanging out with goats (while enjoying a cone of delicious strawberry balsamic goat milk ice cream from LaLoo's), or watching an incredibly informative demonstration about making jam (while sitting a few feet away from an inspiring display from City Slicker Farms sharing about their backyard gardening program).
I'm pretty sure I've never paid more than $5 for a Korean taco, a plate of dim sum, a pork sandwich, a Scotch egg, a plate of soul food or a delicious tamale from Tina Tamale herself.
So this is your chance. Get out there and be part of the action!
Calling food makers and food crafters! Here are details from their Participation Form.
If you aren't a food maker, crafter or performer, Eat Real also has volunteer opportunities here.
Eat Real Festival - Will be held Sept. 27-29 at Oakland's Jack London Square.