The event is open to the communities of Auburn, Opelika and the student body of Auburn University.
The festival will celebrate local ingredients and aims to introduce the community to slow food and the Real Food Challenge, a local organization with a goal of supporting local and sustainable food culture.
The Slow Food chapter, a campus organization, gives people in the Auburn community a chance to find each other and come together to celebrate food, said Rosco Davis, senior interdisciplinary major and president of the Real Food Challenge.
“The goal for schools who take the challenge is to get 20 percent of their school’s food budget to go toward food that is ecologically sound, local, fair and humane,” Davis said.
The festival has one main objective broken up into three parts: to return the satisfaction of local food back into the community by incorporating fresh ingredients, to connect farmer to consumer more easily and to instill the values of slow food in people’s lives.
Robyn Bridges, public relations and communications director for the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, was the media relations force behind the festival.
“We are rich in this part of the country in terms of agriculture, being able to grow those products,” Bridges said. “Auburn is a land grant university.”
Bridges said she believes the project will be well-received in Auburn because of the city’s history in agriculture.
“We are talking about lifestyle and cultural change when asking people to change their diet,” said Cameron Ingrum,
Auburn senior interdisciplinary major and Real Food Challenge chief strategic officer. “Back in the day, food was something all people could gather around, all people could share.”
A $40 donation buys a ticket to the event. Profits will provide the necessary tools to help maintain the Auburn Real Food Challenge community gardens, located on campus.
The Challenge began working closely with David Bancroft, head chef at the AU Club, in beginning the slow food movement in Auburn in May.
“We lucked up when we found David Bancroft and started the Slow Food chapter; he is so deeply ingrained in this community and knows so many people,” Davis said.
For Bancroft, it all began four years ago when he experienced all the trends, various chefs and the eclectic dining scene outside communities had.
“All the community support, seeing all the names on the menus for me is such an attractive thing,” Bancroft said. “That was intriguing to see relationships translated into the menu and seeing the impact that it was making.”
For Bancroft, the festival is an example of the community coming together.
“The city of Auburn with Auburn University, the students, the professors and the foodie community is the biggest melting pot,” Bancroft said. “This is the common ground for everyone. Food can become a community gathering.”
The festival will feature different forms of entertainment.
“There will be music playing the whole time, food the whole time and in the middle there will be a panel with several well-educated, knowledgeable food patrons in our community,” Davis said.
The event is all-you-can-eat with food made by local head chefs with local ingredients.
There will also be a chance to drink all you can from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Earth Fare will sponsor a raffle including handmade baskets from Ghana filled with various local products.
The panel will discuss the potential work of Slow Food.
“It is about going back to localized economies; about small-scale farming, farm to plate, reducing all those middle-man mechanized input costs of conventional agriculture,” Ingrum said.