Food is main attraction at festival

By Alexander C. Kaufman
Globe Correspondent / June 26, 2011

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When journalist Louisa Kasdon, 60, arranged a screening of Food Inc., hundreds filled the Museum of Science theater to see the documentary about the effects of industrialized farming.

“They wanted to discuss school lunches, the environmental dangers of overfishing, obesity,’’ she said of last year’s event. “But it was just beginning.’’

Yesterday, she again partnered with the museum to gather dozens of local eateries, food sustainability activists, and farmers market advocates for the first Let’s Talk About Food Festival, which she hopes will tour science museums nationwide. About 30 representatives from museums throughout the country attended yesterday’s festivities, she said.

A few thousand others flocked to Cambridge Parkway to peruse long lines of food trucks and information booths.

“I’m shocked by how totally responsive everyone has been,’’ Kasdon said. “They came here to learn and be educated.’’

Waiting to order a cookie dough-flavored cupcake from the Davis Square-based Kickass Cupcakes truck, David De Swaan Arons, 43, of Cambridge, said he came to sample the local fare.

“We tried some barbecue, and now we want to know where to go out and find the locations’’ of the eateries, he said.

He said his daughter Arie, 4, playing with a friend nearby, stopped by the museum stand to learn how to identify proteins and carbohydrates in her diet.

But some nearby residents came for the rare opportunity to get locally grown food without hopping on the T or driving in a car.

John Fitch, 85, of Cambridge, said he hurried down after seeing signs advertising the festival. As construction begins on the Lechmere terminal of the Green Line, he said he hopes the old station will be converted into a market, which is among the proposed uses for the site.

“The developers would probably like to put a high-rise there,’’ he said, nibbling on a sesame bagel from Finagle-a-Bagel’s stand. “There’s nothing closer than the Shaw’s market in the Twin Cities Mall, which we have to drive to.’’

Stephanie Mann, 35, of Somerville, said she usually races from her job in Watertown to buy what’s left at the farmers market near her home in Davis Square.

“If you get off work at 5:30, there’s no way to get anything before it runs out,’’ she said. “I wish they were a little more aware that there are people who want to go to these that happen to work a 9-to-5 job.’’

For Dr. John Principe, a physician in Chicago who founded WellBeing MD, which treats patients with a nutrition-based health program, the success of the festival inspired him to organize one in his city.

“It will help teach people about food, where to get it, how to procure it,’’ said Principe, who flew to Boston to attend the event. “It’s how physicians should treat patients.’’

Kaufman can be reached at

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