FARMINGTON — Plans for the second annual Maine Fiddlehead Festival: Local Food Day on May 4 are under way.
Representing the Fiddlehead Festival Committee, Lillian Lake recently discussed the event with the Board of Selectmen. She was seeking their approval to hold an antique tractor parade to open the festival.
The board unanimously granted her request.
“Since the last festival, we have seen many positive developments in building the Western Mountains Region local food system. Our mission was to celebrate local foods and foraging, specifically fiddleheads,” Lake said. “We also want to connect farmers with the community in meeting the food needs of its citizens, combining the academic and practical, while making it a fun experience. To that end, we are making progress.”
Last year, a group started planning the festival in February. It’s grown from there, she said.
In a write-up in USA Today about the 2012 festival, the area was named one of the top 10 places for foraging fiddleheads, she said.
There’s been a push forward and many positive developments since, including greater student interest at the University of Maine at Farmington in healthy, local food options in the cafeteria and snack bar.
Farmers have seen an increase in sales, and the Franklin County Agriculture Task Force has renewed its focus, she said.
The mission is to connect farmers and the community with food.
There have also been discussions on climate change and emergency food preparedness, she said.
Events leading up to this year’s festival include a lard rendering class, canning and preserving class, a farmer’s round table, and a Fiddlehead Soup Cook-off.
During the festival, John Jemison will speak on community and food, and there will be sessions on foraging foods and preserving foods.
The festival is a collaboration among the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition, the UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement, the Farmington Downtown Association, the Western Mountains Alliance and Franklin Savings Bank.