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9 Reasons You Need Tickets to the Philly Farm & Food Fest

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Need a spring cleaning of those bad eating habits you acquired over the winter? The fourth annual Philadelphia Farm & Food Fest, presented by Whole Foods Market, is coming to the city on Sunday, April 12, to kick off the spring harvest season and help you commit to a full year of healthful, sustainable eating. Hosted by Fair Food and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), the event—one of the country’s biggest and best single-day food festivals—will take place from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch St.).

PHILLY FARM & FOOD FEST

TOMATOES//PHOTOS BY NINA LEA PHOTOGRAPHY

Here’s why you need to attend—and bring the whole family, too:

1. Lotsa Local Love: Get up close and personal with local farmers and learn more about how the food you enjoy all year long travels from the farm to the market or the table. “One of the best things about Fest is putting our farmers front and center and letting them interact with both interested adults as well as children, sharing what they do and how they do it in fresh, interactive ways,” says Ann Karlen, the founding director of Fair Food. “This year, we have more opportunities than ever to get involved and enjoy a lively day of food and fun.”

2. Samples and Freebies: All visitors will receive a complimentary shopping tote from presenting sponsor Whole Foods Market. Load yours up with goodies from more than 150 exhibitors!

3. Family-Friendly Fun: Young Fest-goers can catch a screening of local filmmaker Rich Hoffman’s Watermelon Magic, a time-lapse tale that follows the growth of a juicy summer fruit from seed to snack. Kids can also learn about soil and seeds with the worms that make compost possible at Cloud 9 Farm’s Plant and Squirm class; join a reading and demo during Cooking Up Stories, where they’ll also prepare their own tortillas for seasonal tacos; and make new friends, such as a live alpaca from Lost Creek Alpaca Farm. A wealth of free samples from local farmers and growers throughout the day will encourage kids to expand their palates and find a new favorite healthy treat.

4. Classroom Takeovers: Grown-ups can learn something new, too, with the fest’s all-day programming (free with admission), which includes classes in whole animal butchery and carving, pairing farmers with the chefs who source their product; information, tips, tricks and helpful hints for everything from composting and container gardening to homebrewing and even raising backyard chickens; and live-action demos that will bring the pages of popular local cookbooks to life.

EGGPLANTS//PHOTO BY NINA LEA PHOTOGRAPHY

5. CSA 101: Confused about the benefits of joining a CSA? Head to the one-of-a-kind CSA Pop-Up Shop, where a variety of local CSAs—representing a range of options that include not only fruit and veggie shares but also dairy, meat, poultry and even flowers—will be on hand for attendees to compare offerings. The CSA School, a class that will take place several times during the day throughout the event venue, will focus on how to prepare and preserve your weekly harvest in order to utilize every last stem and leaf. Bonus: Fest 2015 visitors who sign up to participate in a CSA for the coming year will earn complimentary admission to Fest 2016.

6. Libations Lounge: It’s back! Top bartenders, mixologists, sommeliers and brewers will be pouring a guided tasting of locally-produced beer, wine and liquor in a beer garden-esque setting ($10 admission, open to guests 21 and older only).

7. VIP-Style: A special Preview Hour sponsored by La Colombe from 10–11 a.m. is available to guests who purchase a Professional or VIP-level ticket. VIPs receive complimentary local coffee samples and a swag bag loaded with goodies (including a limited-edition Fest 2015 poster), the chance to shop and chat with farmers and growers before the general admission session and a special half-hour preview of the Local Libations Lounge.

8. Book Nook: New for 2015, several notable local cookbook authors—including Chef Jeremy Nolen (New German Cooking), Tara Desmond & Joy Manning (Almost Meatless), Marisa McClellan (Preserving by the Pint, Food in Jars) and others—will be on hand to discuss and sign their books throughout the day.

9. Interactive Contests: Pose with your favorite farm props at the Farm-y Photo Booth, share your pic via Instagram and Twitter, use the hashtag #phillyfarmfest and tag your local Whole Foods store for a chance to win one of several $25 gift cards. Expect lots more prizes and surprises throughout the day!

If You Go: Tickets start at $20 per person (children 12 and under are free!) and are currently available for purchase online.