Local food festival a success for all involved

Some of Juneau’s finest produce, jams and baked goods lured more than 800 people to the annual Juneau Local Food Festival Saturday. The festival is held each year on the last Saturday in August at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. JACC Executive Direct Nancy DeCherney said the event was a success.

“The vendors seemed pretty happy,” DeCherney said. “One guy said he’d done about twice as much business as he’d done in previous years and one vendor I know sold out.”

DeCherney said the spirit of the festival is to foster relationships between local growers, food producers and consumers. There’s a mix of local small businesses. Farmers and informational organizations rent booths at the festival and local gardeners and foragers offer workshops. DeCherney said keeping the festival free to the public, and sustainablility, is important.

“There’s always a question about how we should fund this because it’s free. Several of the vendors have said that we could charge more for the booths. Some of them feel that they make good enough money at the event that they could afford to pay a little more,” DeCherney said. “Maybe there’s some corporation or company out there that might want to put their name on it and support it.”

Local master gardener Ed Buyarksi had a booth at the festival and led one of the workshops. Buyarksi said the festival was good for business.

“The tomatoes barely made it past opening,” Buyarski said. “I could have sold more if I had more. People are enthusiastic about getting fresh produce, and that’s good.”

Buyarski said gardening is his life and that helping others learn how to grow their own food is his passion. He said the festival is a great chance for him to share his knowledge with others.

“I sell the garlic for eating, but you can also plant it. I sell herbs, but I can also help people grow their own,” Buyarski said. “It’s really an opportunity to make connections between the people who are growing the food and the people who are buying it, or even trying to grow their own.”

Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at 523-2279 or at jennifer.n.canfield@juneauempire.com.


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