By Erika Fleegle
As the weather warms up and farmer’s markets pop up throughout the Pittsburgh Area, Northside residents are looking forward to all the fresh produce the season has to offer. On Saturday, May 16, Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) XXII, a program of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., will host Fresh Fest, a free community festival centered on the farm-to-table concept, in California-Kirkbride from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Limited access to fresh produce is a pressing issue for residents in the emerging California-Kirkbride neighborhood. Fresh Fest was developed by LDI XXII in partnership with the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing to help address the issue and spotlight the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization.
In addition to an afternoon of entertainment and family-friendly activities, Fresh Fest will include Food Feud, a cook-off between California-Kirkbride residents and local celebrity chefs, including Bill Fuller of Big Burrito Restaurant Group, Dustin Miller of Giant Eagle and Kelly Doran Bareford of Life is Sweet Bakery. A panel of judges will include Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Melissa McCart of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Josh Verbanets of The Josh and Gab Show, California-Kirkbride residents and more. The cook-off will feature three rounds of competition pitting each chef against three different neighborhood residents or teams.
While the grown-ups show off their cooking skills, kids can learn about healthy eating with Farm Food Trucks or enjoy creative make-and-take activities at the Farm n’ Fun Kids Zone, courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Science Center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, The 4H Club, Manchester Bidwell and more.
Fresh Fest is brought to the community by Highmark. The Buhl Foundation and Neighborhood Allies have been partners in the effort as well. Giant Eagle, Manchester Bidwell, Auberle and Farm Truck Foods helped with donations.
Fresh Fest is a PopUp! Project of the LDI.
For more information on the day’s events, event locations and parking availability, check out Fresh Fest’s official website.