Drizzle and gray skies put a gloomy spin on New Paltz’s Eat in the Street event last Sunday. But the rain and cool temperatures didn’t completely end the fun for foodies, musicians and farmers on Church Street.
Trustee Ariana Basco helped organize the Village of New Paltz-sponsored event. Eat in the Street 2012 saw about 300 people come out last year. Basco said the weather probably will mean that this year’s event is a touch smaller.
“When we woke up this morning, we were actually not too excited,” she said. “You can’t control the weather.”
Sunday’s early morning torrential downpour gave way to a lighter cold drizzle, but that stuck around for a good portion of the festival, which celebrates Local Food Week.
Eat in the Street highlights the connection between local farmers, the restaurants they supply and the people they feed. It honors the work local farmers do, and it tries to impart knowledge about sustainable, organic foods.
Stephan Petryczka, a SUNY New Paltz student who also helped with the event, is a member of campus’s Students for Sustainable Agriculture club. With its wealth of local farms and CSAs, New Paltz is a model for how a community can help local farms succeed, he said.
“The idea behind Local Food Week is just to raise awareness,” Petryczka said.
Festival organizers see the event as an all-ages educational PBS show: It reels in participants with music and fun, but sends them away with a healthy dose of knowledge.
“We’re trying to make sure that we can support ourselves locally. We live in an unsustainable society — especially with how we produce our food,” Basco said. “Monocultures are not just bad for the earth, they’re dangerous.”
Eat in the Street organizers see their event as fighting back against large-scale corporate farms that grow a single genetic variety of one crop — a practice known as monoculture. Lesser-known varieties of fruits and vegetables contain genetics that might resist a disease that would eradicate a single variety.
Altogether, Local Food Week and Eat in the Street are both fairly new. “This is the third local food week and the second Eat in the Street,” she explained.
The village’s Local Food Week Team is in charge of the event. They’re hoping to keep it growing strong in 2014. However, Basco noted that they’ll be looking to set up a rain date next year.