Just because Chicago seemingly goes into deep hibernation during the winter does not mean its local farms aren't thriving. For evidence of that, a plethora of local edibles and products will go on display at this weekend's Good Food Festival.
The festival embraces those curious about local and organic food, as well as experienced locavores, with celebrity chef demos, workshops and aisle upon aisle of exhibitors. Part of the larger Family Farmed Expo, a trade- and industry-oriented show that begins on Thursday, the Good Food Festival is an event within an event that's designed for the public. Here's what you'll find if you and your family decide to head to the UIC Forum on Saturday to partake in the festivities:
Celebrity Chef Demos: "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard of the spectacularly popular gastropub the Girl & the Goat headlines a parade of celebrity chefs who will be cooking in one section of the UIC Forum's main exhibition space, also prosaically known as Hall A. Izard, will be joined by Kim Gracen of The Chicago Diner, and followed by Dale Levitzki, also a "Top Chef" alum, of Sprout, and Chris Pandel of The Bristol. The lineup continues into the afternoon, with chefs that include Bill Kim of Urban Belly/Belly Shack; Paul Virant of Vie; and Sarah Grueneberg of Spiaggia. In a new feature this year, celebrity chefs will be paired with a local Midwest farmer. Get there early to snag a good seat for the food samples.
Healthy Food Workshops: Intimate talks held in auxiliary rooms cover a range of healthy food topics as specific as raising bees and composting and as broad as eating sustainably on a budget.
Kids Corner: Teach your kiddo what it means to eat sustainably, locally and organically. Kids under 12 are free and will be entertained with crafts, story telling, face painting and explanations on how to read food labels.
Exhibitors: Find out how to get involved in community-supported agriculture programs, where to find local farms, and sample grass-fed beef and raw food by meandering through the aisles of festival exhibitors. Booths include local growers like Harvest Moon Farms and conscientious nonprofit organizations like Heifer International.
Admission: $10 - $50
Hours: 9am - 6pm
Sat., UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt; 708-763-9920