Fork Fest spotlights ‘agricultural abundance’


A shot of the evening crowd shot at Fork Fest 2013. Courtesy Local First/Tiberius Images.

Local First’s Fork Fest will support a sustainable community this week by introducing food lovers to many locally sourced restaurants and encouraging them to shift their dollars to those establishments.

This will be the fourth year of Fork Fest, and Local First is expecting its largest turnout yet, with more than 500 people projected to attend.

Fork Fest will take place this Thursday, from 5-9 p.m., in Grand Rapids at Romence Gardens & Greenhouses, at 265 Lakeside Dr. NE.


More than 40 of West Michigan's local food and beverage producers, growers and restaurateurs will be on-site, providing attendees with generous samples from their menus.

All food samples are included in a $30 ticket, which can be purchased at the door.

Additionally, Brewery Vivant beer, Fenn Valley wine and Vander Mill cider will be available for purchase at the event.


This year, Local First will be hosting five people representing farms or nonprofit organizations integral to the sustainable food system in West Michigan.

The reps will make informal pop-up presentations to help people learn about what's happening right now in the food system.

Presenters include representatives from the MSU Extension, GVSU's student farm, Hope Farms, Earthkeeper Farm and Urban Roots Farm.

“We have a great agricultural abundance here in Michigan, and at Fork Fest, we see that firsthand and celebrate it in a memorable way,” said Elissa Hillary, executive director, Local First. "Attendees will meet and try samples from food entrepreneurs that build our connection to place and contribute to the uniqueness of our community.”


The Fauxgrass Quartet will also perform live folk music throughout the evening.

Eating local

Fork Fest is the final event of Local First's Eat Local Challenge, which also included documentary screenings of “Fresh,” the 10×10 Pledge and two first-time events on the lakeshore: Gather and the Lakeshore Street Party.

Food and beverage vendors

Brann's Steakhouse & Sports Grille

Brewery Vivant

Catered Creations

Charley's Chips & Salsa

Chocolates by Grimaldi

CitySen Lounge

Country Winds Creamery

Crooked Goose

Cultured Love

Daddy Pete’s BBQ

Desiderio Chocolates


Earthkeeper Farm

Electric Cadillac Delicatessen

Essence Restaurant Group

Field & Fire

Fulton Street Farmers Market

Furniture City Creamery

GoJo Ethiopian Cuisine

Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company

Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Grassfields Cheese

Just Enjoy Bakery


Love's Ice Cream

Nourish Organic Market

Prospector's Cold Brew Coffee

Relish Green Grocer

Romence Gardens & Greenhouses

Sara's Sweets Bakery

Schuler's Chapbook Cafe

Schuil Coffee Company

Sip Organic Juice Bar

Slow Food West Michigan

Supermercado Mexico

Terra GR

The Gilmore Collection

Twisted Rooster

Uccello's Ristorante

Visser Farms

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