Long Beach Fresh Hosts Fresh Spring Foodways Summit

Long Beach Fresh will be hosting a series of events titled Fresh Spring Foodways Summit featuring local cuisine, agricultural contests, home garden produce, and culture from March 31 to April 3. 

These events are designed to spread further awareness of local gardens, markets, and food production techniques that will benefit the local community and planet as a whole. 

Not only will the Summit spread more awareness of Long Beach cuisine and produce but it will also spread the names of the vendors participating in these festivities as well. 

Ryan Smolar, who is Co-Director of Long Beach Fresh, is aware of the hard work these vendors put in each year. 

“It’s been pretty powerful for them.  Everyone who’s working in the food system really wants to share their story and they would like to help the next generation,” said Smolar.

“These are all hard workers, they hustle all the time doing what they do, so this is a moment where they can put their heads up, get recognized, tell their stories and pass it forward to other generations.”

Each year, Long Beach Grow has highlighted the food systems of different backgrounds. Last year, they opened with an event featuring an African American farmer and cultural entertainment as well as African American chefs. 

Smolar hopes for these events to stick and become part of the local community.  This year, there will be ‘Placemaking’, where there will be elements added to the Farmers Market such as seating, umbrellas and art to make a relaxing environment.

“We’re hoping to make things like this more of a social space than a community hub, so we’ll be using these events to inspire and move things forward to connect them,” said  Smolar

The first event is called DelicaSea at the Bixby Knolls Farmers Market and will start Thursday, March 31 at 3:30 p.m. It will feature local seafood and information about the ocean along the Long Beach coast. Visitors will get to try chef-prepared and local food items as well as learn about the ocean. Those looking to volunteer can visit on March 17 or 24 and help out before the event at Bixby Knolls Farmers Market.

The Long Beach County and Blue Ribbon Urban Agriculture Contest will be on April 1 at 6:30 p.m.  Local farms and food producers will be in attendance with hopes to get more acquainted with locals. There will be a petting zoo, stilt walkers and musical guests as well as locally grown produce. 

The North Long Beach Crop Swap is a monthly event which will commence each first Saturday of the month. The next event will take place April 2 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and feature produce from local backyards and gardens. Locals are encouraged to bring extra fresh fruits and vegetables they have grown from their home or garden and swap it with other locals who have grown food. 

The Home Cooks and Home Garden Tour which will feature local food made in backyards and kitchens will be held on April 2 at 11:30 a.m. It celebrates the California Homemade Food Act which has helped local food makers start some of Long Beach’s favorite restaurants and bakeries.

The Closing Party at the Night Market will be on April 3 at 3 p.m. The Night Market is a monthly display of Cambodian culture and talent that will be held in Cambodia Town centered around the MAYE Center. It will include family-friendly activities, music, and displays of authentic Cambodian Culture. 

Anyone can RSVP to any of the events excluding the Home Cooks and Home Garden tour which will be $35 a ticket. RSVP and ticket purchasing is available here.

Those seeking more information regarding any of these events can visit www.lbfresh.org or www.foodwayssummit.org.

By Nick Vargas

Photo from LB Fresh