By Paige Wolf
In 2011, fair food decided to bring its mission of uniting local farmers with businesses and consumers to a broader audience with the first Philly Farm and Food Fest (PF3). Held at Reading Terminal Market, the celebration of the Philadelphia area’s local food system brought together farmers, makers, butchers, artisans and educators in the local food economy for a one-day farm and food festival.
Subsequent annual events were held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where the layout fluctuated in different incarnations throughout the massive indoor space. But after seven years, the producers of the show wanted to reimagine what was possible.
On Sunday, October 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the eighth annual PF3 will be held on eight acres of land at the Navy Yard. The event has become one of the largest one-day local farm and food festivals in the country, with more than 150 vendors and 4,000 attendees. Now with three times the space, they expect those numbers to multiply.
Lisa O’Neill, founder of Growing Roots Partners, which specializes in event planning for local food festivals, came on board this year to reinvigorate the event. The team concluded that despite everything the Convention Center offers, an agricultural and food show should ideally be outside. Additionally, the Convention Center has restrictions on food sales, which prevented exhibitors from cashing in on hungry attendees.
“We really wanted to find a place where we could set up a show where all our vendors could make money,” O’Neill says. “We also needed to spread out and give more space for proper programming and educational opportunities.”
Attendees can now shop with the nearly 200 farmers and producers from the regional marketplace and enjoy local libations in the PF3 Beer Garden and Whiskey Hallow. Through a partnership with The Food Trust, benefit cards will be accepted at select producer stalls, and EBT cardholders will receive a $2 voucher, good at any stall in The Marketplace.
There will be demos on chainsaw carving and, from Honeypie Cooking, hands-on cooking. There will also be a pumpkin patch and even a hayride.
Exhibits include a focus on local cheese producers, sustainable fish and seafood, plant-based cuisine, fermentation, tea and coffee roasters, Kennett Square (the mushroom capital of the world) and a spotlight on Philly eateries who invest in their community by helping to feed those in need.
Attendees can also meet local cookbook authors and stop by the “Ask a Farmer” area for tips on gardening and livestock.
Come hungry and visit the local food trucks and the Big Rig Local BBQ Competition. Tickets are $15 (free for 12 and under) and available at www.phillyfarmfest.org