Guest Post By Beth Tacular from Abundance Foundation in Pittsboro, NC
Abundance NC’s Amazing Pepper Fest has grown leaps and bounds in seven years – from a local farmer’s pepper taste test, to the serious celebration of local food, sustainable agriculture, and the creativity of the Piedmont’s chefs, brewers and artisans it is today.
This coming Sunday, October 5, from 3-7 pm, we will be enjoying live music, activities and workshops for kids and adults, and endless samples of dishes made by star local chefs, incorporating a variety of peppers grown by local farmers. While people will be reveling in the fun times, they will also be, knowingly or not, supporting a very important project: to strengthen our local foodshed. PepperFest works to increase the use of local produce by area chefs, to spread the word about local food and agriculture, and to support the development of pepper varieties that do well in our climate.
PepperFest got its start seven years ago as a celebration of the seed saving work of Doug Jones at Piedmont Biofarm and a taste test of his many pepper varieties. For years Doug has been cultivating bio-regionally appropriate seed varieties, designed to perform well in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
This is important work. We need seeds that are resistant to local diseases, that thrive in our soil conditions, and — especially now as we face the challenges of climate change — that are adapted to our region’s changing climate.
Our agricultural zone is becoming increasingly hot and increasingly arid. In order to preserve the fecundity of our foodshed, we will need new breeds, and new varieties, and a new understanding of how we can best adapt our farming practices to fit the needs of the future. Adaptation matters.
And nowadays global agricultural interests are motivated more by shareholder return than by sustaining abundant life on our garden planet. Large corporations control many of our seed varieties. But at PepperFest, we are creating a different world. We eat peppers bred naturally through careful seed saving practices and grown sustainably on local farms. They are superfoods that will sustain and heal us into the future, all grown using farming techniques that build, rather than poison, the soil. Peppers matter.
At PepperFest, with every bite of delicious peppery dish, and each sip of spicy pepper-infused beer,we are propagating a world that is free of genetically-modified organisms, free of patents on seed varieties, and free to adapt as needed. We are all helping create a stronger local food system and a better future for our children.
We invite to come to this year’s PepperFest, this October 5th, and taste the diverse pepper dishes and local brews, dance together, play with the children and learn along the way from all the folks that have been working to make this amazing festival happen!
Go to our official Pepper Festival website to find out how to be a part of this year’s Pepperfest!