(Published in Oakland North: http://oaklandnorth.net/2011/09/25/eat-real-festival-serving-up-cheap-fresh-local-food/)

The scent of locally-raised barbeque meat, organic Asian Fusion cuisine, and many other tasty bites cooked by dozens of food trucks is wafting over Jack London Square for the third annual Eat Real Festival this weekend.

Eat Real began Friday and lasts until Sunday, and offers more than food trucks, including do-it-yourself  classes ranging from how to fire up your own sourdough bread to learning how dancing churns the best butter at the Great Butter Shakedown. Every vendor is required to use at least two local ingredients, and entry is free for the public.  All the food cooked at the 60 food trucks is priced at no more than $5.

The festival, founded by Anya Fernald who was the executive director of San Francisco’s Slow Food Nation event in 2008 (the first American collaborative to unite the growing sustainable food movement) is expected to draw an estimated 100,000 visitors. According to Eat Real’s director Susan Coss, promoting greater accessibility to healthy and sustainable food for local communities is at the heart of the festival’s mission.

“The whole problem with our food system right now is we’re stuck eating industrialized food,” Coss said. “We were inspired to start an event that focused on real food. To really highlight who’s making your food, how it’s being grown, where it’s coming from, and to celebrate the amazing flavor that happens when you’re eating food that’s so fresh.”