Daily Gazette: Sustainability is the word at Saratoga Wine & Food Festival

Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s annual Wine & Food Festival is changing pace this year.

The flashy cars have been replaced with sculptures and photographs. The grilling competition has been swapped for a farm-to-table-inspired dinner. Leading up to the festival, SPAC is inviting experts to talk about topical issues in the food industry.

The event, on the SPAC and Spa State Park grounds, is turning away from a celebration of consumption to a celebration of sustainability and the meaning behind that word.

“We want to create curiosity around food,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president/CEO of SPAC in a recent interview.

Reimagining the festival has been on Sobol’s mind since she first came to SPAC in 2016.

“There were a lot of things that I wanted to turn my attention to that had to do with recreating, reimagining, restoring, from the programming of our resident companies to new lines of programming, things like that,” Sobol said.


“We’ve got Leah Penniman from Soul Fire Farm doing some incredible events around social justice around issues of food. The implications of ‘What does it mean to be a farmer? What does it mean to be a black creole farmer? What does it mean to be a steward of the land? All these important questions that most of us just eat their food and don’t really think about it,” Sobol said.

Penniman’s session will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Pitney Meadows Community Farm. Penniman will also give a lecture called “Farming While Black: African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice” at 7 p.m.


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