Picnic Perfect

Second annual Children's Picnic and Real Food Fair to celebrate local food

Picnic Perfect
Courtesy of White Gloves, Austin

A perennial pastime for springtime afternoons, picnics are just one of the many perks of warming weather. This weekend's second annual Children's Picnic and Real Food Fair will offer families the opportunity to get outside and celebrate farmers, gardening, and cooking, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative, a campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The family event aims to teach children about the local food system while connecting them to growers and shakers in the local food community.

Co-presented by Edible Austin, Toni Tipton-Martin's SANDE Youth Project, and the French Legation Museum, the picnic takes place Sunday afternoon, March 30, on the grounds of the historic French Legation Museum. Families are invited to bring their own picnics or purchase from the long list of local vendors, including Greenhouse Craft Food, East Side Pies, Hoover's Cooking, Better Bites Bakery, and top presenting sponsor Whole Foods Market. "Supporting the local food community – especially our sustainable food growers and producers – is good for our health, our environment, and our local economy," says Marla Camp, publisher of Edible Austin. "It is important for families to connect with the local food community so that they can make wise food choices when giving their children the highest level of nutrition within their budgets, help keep our environment clean, and keep their food dollars circulating close to home."

Picnic Perfect
Courtesy of East Side Compost Peddalers

A host of activities and cooking demonstrations are planned for the day, along with live music from Bob Appel and Alicia Adkins. Children can enjoy a children's puppet show about healthy eating from Funmi and Friends; crafts, movement exercises, and music activities from the Thinkery, Austin's new children's museum; and rainwater collection barrel painting presented by Whole Foods Market's Garden Grants to Schools program. In addition, local artisans such as Lick Honest Ice Cream and Mom & Pops All Natural Frozen Pops will be on hand to refresh tiny palates. In keeping with the kid-friendly emphasis, the picnic's featured speaker will be the fascinating and adorable 9-year-old BeeSweet Lemonade entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer, an Austin Chronicle 2013 Best of Austin winner. Ulmer's entrepreneurial prowess has proven highly effective, as her lemonade is now available at retail stores including Whole Foods and Quickie Pickie, and restaurants around town.

Ultimately, the picnic is not only about educating the public while supporting farmers and local food purveyors – it's also about effecting real change. "The bigger-picture goal for the event is to have fun while transforming the way we think about food and learning about many elements that go hand-in-hand with healthful living. And make new friends!" adds Camp. "Real food is sustainably grown, whole or minimally processed, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and not adulterated with antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, or GMOs. I look forward to the day that we no longer need to modify healthy food with 'real' or 'natural' but can just call it 'food.'"

The Children's Picnic and Real Food Fair takes place Sun., March 30, 1-5pm, at the French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos St. Admission is free. For more details, visit www.edibleaustin.com/childrenspicnic.

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