By Arielle Powell, Staff Writer
Locals from Savannah and surrounding areas gathered to enjoy a day of food and fun at The Savannah Food Day Festival on Nov. 1. Over the last four years, The Savannah Food Day Festival has grown and become the largest food day celebration in the country.
The purpose of the festival was to bring awareness to changing lifestyles and increase local awareness of food policies, healthy eating and reducing hunger. The festival took place from Daffin Park to Waters Avenue and Ash Street, including more than 100 exhibits, a farmer’s market, workshops and entertainment.
The Savannah Food Day Festival had a variety of different local businesses, one of them being The Savannah Food Co-Op. The Co-Op was started by a group of mothers looking to gain access to organic and affordable produce. Savannah Co-Op is an online store that sells a variety of things ranging from organic-all natural meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables. They also have all natural coffee and drugstore items from local vendors.
“We have been doing this since 2007, and have participated in Food Day for four years now,” said founder Carmen Vazquez. “Our overall goal is to bring awareness to our local neighbors and get them to see the importance of local, organic, sustainable products.”
Carmen has been a native of Savannah since 2007 and not only enjoys being a part of the festival, but loves seeing other businesses support the same cause as well
Coastal Empire: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was also dedicated to the cause. Coastal Empire showed how the amount of sugar in soft drinks can affect an individual. They showed that soft drinks prompt you to crave sweets such as cookies, cakes, etc. The organization suggested replacing sugary drinks with a healthier choice. They allowed locals to taste their version of a healthier option by providing cucumber and lemon infused water.
Sarah Johnson, a longtime volunteer, said, ”Many people have no idea how these drinks may affect them. We want people to see that you can have tasty things while still being healthy.”
The Food Day Festival not only featured enjoyment for adults, it also provided fun for children of all ages. The festival included children’s workshops to teach the lifecycle of plants, interactive workshops and healthy recipes to make holiday gifts.
The YMCA provided activities like tennis, tumbling and bowling to allow children to enjoy the beautiful weather of Savannah. Restaurants such as Foxy Loxy Café and Thrive Catering gave attendees a taste of local Savannah cuisine.
Arman Lopez, native of California, said, “I have been living in Savannah for two years now. I am really impressed to see how many people gather here for this festival.”
DJ Jose Ray and local talent, City Hotel and The Accomplices kept the crowd entertained with live music. A farmer’s market was also there to give people a chance to purchase farm-fresh produce, local honey, fresh dairy, eggs and delicious baked goods. Cooking classes with guest chefs were also provided to show others how to use seasonal ingredients.
The Savannah Food Day Festival brought awareness to the community on the importance of healthy eating, reducing hunger and changing our diets all while providing a fun time for everyone in the community.