Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Statement of Purpose: TomatoFest 2009

Chicago TomatoFest is Slow Food Chicago’s celebration of local heirloom tomatoes, promoting the people who grow, cook, and eat them.

Chicago TomatoFest celebrates the arrival of locally grown heirloom tomatoes with an annual potluck and, for the first time in 2009, The Old School BLT Bonanza. The city’s best chefs will promote local farmers by reinterpreting this American classic and making these summery creations available on their respective menus from August 17th to September 20th.

Restaurants participating in The Old School BLT Bonanza will sign a two-part pledge, promising to: a) use local heirlooms and (should they choose to use bacon) locally and sustainably raised pork, and b) publicly promote the farmers from whom they sourced these ingredients.

Chicago TomatoFest believes that a rising tide lifts all ships, especially when it comes to preserving our local food supply. We aim to:

1) Encourage individuals to plant their own food through our heirloom plant sale.
2) Create an annual event that will provide a sustainable market for heirloom varieties, encouraging more local farmers to plant them.
3) Facilitate relationships between farmers and restaurants to improve the accessibility of local products.
4) Promote biodiversity.
5) Generate media/public interest in heirlooms and other endangered tomato varieties on the Slow Food Ark of Taste by exposing Chicagoans to their unbeatable quality.
6) Promote Chicagoland restaurants that commit to our BLT pledge by buying from and endorsing local farms.

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