Food keeps our bodies going, and thanks to local efforts it’s also bringing members of the Juneau community together.
Over the summer, Food Truck Fridays have been providing locally crafted merchandise, live music and multiple food vendors. Tomorrow, Aug. 16, the last Friday celebration of the summer takes place, and it is going to be an exciting one.
The live music has ranged from soloists playing Blues to string ensembles playing the classics. Juneau is in for a special treat this week when Patience Musandirire comes from Africa to play with the local band Njuzu.
Musandirire is from Zimbabwe where the language Shona is spoken. The bands name, Njuzu, means “Water Spirit” or “Mermaid” in Shona. The band members recently connected with Musandirire at a Zimbabwean music festival in Seattle, Wash. called Zimfest.
Betsy Sims, a band member, took a Zimfest workshop with Musandirire and invited him to Alaska.
“I invited him to one day come to Juneau to teach workshops,” Sims said. “Little did I know that he would take me up on my offer so quickly. Instead of turning around and heading home to Africa, he decided to change his ticket and come to Alaska right away. He has a passion for spreading his music and culture and is excited to share it with those of us who are eager to learn. So here he is, hanging out in Juneau with us all week.”
Over the past week, Musandirire has been working with Njuzu and two other small groups. He will be performing with all three groups at Food Truck Friday and any donations made during the concert will go toward the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.
Musandirire teaches music in Zimbabwe and his music was described by Sims as being made up of “rich polyrhythms that makes the music highly upbeat, contagious and extremely danceable.”
Musandirire will also be teaching drumming and marimba workshops on Saturday and Sunday. More information and a sign up sheet will be provided at the concert.
Food Truck Friday will be at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center from 4-7 p.m. A beer garden will accompany the local vendors to add to the end of season celebration.
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If you haven’t had enough food and community fun over the summer, check out the 7th annual Juneau Farmer’s Market and Food Festival happening on Aug., 30. The goal of the festival is to make people more self-sufficient by consuming and producing local foods.
Rachael Juzeler, the JACC rental director, is looking forward to this year’s festival.
“This event is geared more toward people who are interested in gardening and investing in the local food market,” Juzeler said. “There won’t be flown in foods. It’ll be an event full of us, the locals. People will be able to take educational classes about gardening techniques, processing, how to ID mushrooms and they’ll learn about all the smaller farmers that grow in the area.”
For those with a sweet tooth, The Cocoa Diva will be at the event selling homemade truffles and caramels. Multiple organic produce vendors will also be at the event. Companies specializing in fresh spices, jams and herbal salves will have products available to purchase.
A pig on a spit will roast on the front lawn while educational classes take place inside and out. Possible classes include how to make yogurt and sauerkraut, gardening with kids and a guided walking tour to teach about identifying wild edibles.
The Farmers Market and Food Festival will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 30 at the JACC. The event is free to the public. Prices for a booth to sell goods at the events varies from $20-$40.
“I’m excited to learn about what community members are interested in growing in their gardens at this moment,” Juzeler said. “This event helps people become more interested in gardening and local foods. It helps people brainstorm and come together. Plus, it’s just fun.”
To learn more about the upcoming events visit www.jahc.org and click on the “Happening” tab.