Big Red Eats Green (& Bikes) Festival raises awareness about healthy, sustainable food and biking options

By Emilie Rex

Local restaurants and growers, as well as campus and community alternative transportation groups joined an estimated 800 Indiana University Bloomington students, faculty and staff on Thursday, September 6 for the second annual Big Red Eats Green & Bikes (BREG) Festival. The event was designed to raise awareness about the importance of eating local grown food and biking as healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices.

Attendees had the opportunity to purchase a wide range of food items from area restaurants, priced between $1 and $3 each. All of the restaurants support local farms and food producers and centered their dishes on in-season, locally-grown ingredients. Farmers and food producers from the surrounding area, some of which produced foods used by the chefs, were also on hand to conduct a scaled-down farmer’s market where visitors could shop and purchase take-home items.

Community non-profits and IU student groups, offices and departments focused on food issues provided attendees with information about how to get more involved on campus and in the community. For a full list of participating local food vendors and growers, as well as info table participants, visit:  http://www.indiana.edu/~sustain/breg/food.php

“The local food community has such an important presence in Bloomington, and Big Red Eats Green (and Bikes) is very effective at promoting the variety of available resources to explore healthy and sustainable eating,” said Big Red Eats Green & Bikes Festival Coordinator Frances Einterz.  “I find it especially wonderful that the festival can appeal to students, faculty, staff, and community members.

In this second year, BREG organizers added a biking component to broaden the theme of healthy, sustainable living. Community and campus bike organizations tabled to provide bikers of all levels information about where to purchase bicycles, basic repair tips, safe routes and riding groups, and general bicycle safety.

“Big Red Eats Green was designed to connect IU students to Bloomington’s rich local food culture for education and health,” said Sustainability Director Bill Brown. “Staged in the physical and cultural center of campus, this fun event also creates the kind of social gathering space recommended in the Campus Master Plan.

BREG is sponsored by the IU Office of Sustainability, IU Residential Programs and Services, and Slow Food Bloomington.  For more information about the festival, visit sustain.indiana.edu/breg/. For more information about sustainability initiatives at IUB or the IU Office of Sustainability, visit sustain.indiana.edu.

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