Organizers of SHIFT, Jackson’s fall conservation festival, are launching the country’s first sustainable food festival, FoodSHIFT. Running concurrently with the main SHIFT Festival, October 8-12, FoodSHIFT will activate the community to explore the interface of food, sustainability, health and place.
“The goal of FoodSHIFT is to connect people with the sources of their food,” says Dr. Annie Fenn, the Director of FoodSHIFT. “Even though Jackson Hole is a small, geographically isolated mountain town with a short growing season, we have an incredible food culture. FoodSHIFT hopes to show locals and visitors alike how to tap into this culture year-round.”
To achieve FoodSHIFT’s goals, Dr. Fenn is overseeing an ambitious program.
Festival participants will gather each morning at local coffee shops throughout Jackson to enjoy freshly roasted coffee while learning how cafes with a conscience source their beans. “We plan to host Jackson’s first coffee cupping,” says Fenn of the morning program, which she calls Local Joe. “Like a wine tasting, cupping is a great way to learn about the art of drinking coffee.”
Sustainable Kitchen Workshops will be offered daily to discuss everything from pickling, canning and fermenting to beekeeping and raising chickens. Ranchers, chefs and butchers will team up to talk about sourcing local, sustainable meat and seafood, and how to “Eat Your Enemies”—the invasive species in our food supply.
On Good Food Friday, nutritionists from St. John’s Medical Center will give supermarket tours as well as talks on reading food labels and packing a healthy lunch box.
Happy hour each day will rotate through some of Jackson’s most lively bars with SHIFTDrinks, featuring craft cocktails by local mixologists and wine tastings by winemakers passionate about sustainability.
Discourses, a solutions-oriented dinner program, will take place in participating restaurants each night. Participants enjoy specially crafted menus, showcasing local fare, while getting down to the meat of sustainability issues, guided by pertinent speakers.
On Friday, October 10, at the Center for the Arts, FoodSHIFT will celebrate Jackson Hole’s food culture with The People’s Banquet. Area chefs will partner with local farmers, ranchers, brewers, bakers, cheese artisans and distillers to put a locavore spin on their best dishes.
In a partnership with St. John’s Medical Center’s Words on Wellness program, the evening will feature a keynote address by author, food activist, and pioneer of the national food movement, Dr. Marion Nestle.
“FoodSHIFT promises to be the first food festival of its kind with its heart in sustainability,” says Dr. Fenn. “I think of it as a food festival with a purpose. There will be an abundance of great food and drink, but we also hope to inspire people to make sustainable food choices every day, from their morning cup of coffee to their evening libation.”
FoodSHIFT is one of many programs highlighted during the annual SHIFT Festival. Christian Beckwith, SHIFT’s Director, likens it to the South by Southwest Festival’s use of music.
“South by Southwest focuses on technology as its content, and music as its entertainment,” he says. “Sustainability and food serve similar roles for SHIFT—except FoodSHIFT’s goals are as important as they are entertaining. FoodSHIFT creates a vibrant and delightful context for the SHIFT Festival.”
“We won’t just be celebrating our food culture,” Fenn adds. “We’ll provide lasting value for the health of our community.”
For more information on the SHIFT Festival, visit www.SHIFTjh.org.
About SHIFT: Held in October in Jackson Hole, SHIFT, which is funded by the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board, is an annual festival that uses food, film, speakers and music to explore the intersection of conservation with Nature, Culture and Adventure. The 2014 SHIFT Festival runs from October 8-12 and includes multiple programmatic pathways—from FoodSHIFT, America’s first sustainable food festival, to the SHIFT Summit, a showcase for the most effective and innovative sustainability initiatives currently underway in communities like Jackson from around North America. For more information, visit www.SHIFTjh.org.