Sixth annual Earth Fest spotlights local food

June 2014

From cricket-bars and fungus quesadillas to bike tune-ups and an in-depth look at palm oil production – Earth Fest 2014 offered a little something for everyone.

The day-long event on Friday, May 23 centered around the theme of, “Chilandia: Local Foods.” The interactive booths on the east end of the Main Quadrangles encouraged participation and creativity while at the same time attempting to reshape the way attendees view the concept of “local” foods.
Sarah Kurtis, Class of 2015 biological sciences major and volunteer, demonstrated her “Chicago Food Pathways” display, which charts the distance vegetables, fruit and meats travel before landing on our plates. Micah Sperling, Class of 2016 history and geography double major and volunteer, displayed a detailed palm oil presentation detailing the controversial environmental issues associated with the extraction of palm oil. The Office of Sustainability also provided a survey station for the campus community to provide feedback on our campus bike system, as we are actively seeking to improve bike safety and circulation.

The sixth annual Earth Fest is the largest green festival on campus and marks the culmination of Earth Week. Earth Fest encourages awareness and engagement with issues of environmental conservation and stewardship by showcasing sustainable businesses and organizations from across the Chicago region. Our hope is to inspire the University of Chicago community into creating a culture of sustainability, and leading an informed, environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Fifteen organizations from the University and our surrounding communities participated in the event this year, and more than 150 students, staff, and community members were in attendance. Local vendors Lighthouse Grill, Aramark, Edible Invertebrate, and 61st Street Farmers' Market provided attendees with a variety of food choices, ranging from apples and lettuce-wraps to chocolate cricket-bars (yes, cricket) and fungus quesadillas. A short line of bikes formed as cyclists patiently waited for free bike tune-ups courtesy of Blackstone Bicycle Works, while Zipcar provided a paint station for free flower-pots to take home.

Would you like to get involved with the Office of Sustainability or next year’s Earth Fest? Let us know!