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Downtown Phoenix is ripe for a feast on the street

image of long dinner table with people sitting for dinner in London
April 10, 2013

A celebration of food, art and community is coming to downtown Phoenix on April 13. Called “Feast on the Street,” the event is a culmination of numerous local community partnerships that will bring people together for a meal or two on First Street in Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row District.

The idea came from London-based artist Clare Patey’s London Feast on the Bridge during the annual Thames Festival. For Phoenix’s event, Patey partnered with local artist Matthew Moore, ASU’s Art Museum, and the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation.

“Feast on the Street is an urban harvest festival celebrating food and art in the desert, while reclaiming the city street for pedestrians,” says Heather Lineberry, ASU Art Museum’s senior curator, associate director, and an event organizer. “It creates a place to gather with our Phoenix neighbors around art and food. What could be better?”   

Colin Tetreault, senior policy advisor for sustainability to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and an ASU School of Sustainability alumnus, will act as master of ceremonies. Scheduled events include a community salad toss, dinner-table stories, composting demonstrations, live bands, belly dancers, native plant crafts, a parade, and a sunset toast. Not to mention dinner with your neighbors at a half-mile long table.

“The long community table is the most striking feature of the event,” says Lineberry. “The table stretches the length of the feast and encourages people to gather together. It symbolizes the vital role of sharing food in so many important moments in our lives, and in building healthy communities.”

And there will be zombies.

To assist the event’s zero waste goal, members of the Greater Phoenix Zombie Community will teach participants how to compost and determine compostable food scraps.

“We want to make this event sustainable and educational,” says Lauren Kuby, one of the event organizers and events and community engagement manager for ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “And what better way to educate people about the lifecycle of their eating patterns than zombies?”

Additionally, Feast on the Street will have purified water stations for refillable bottles. The Global Institute of Sustainability will have educational composting demonstrations scheduled throughout the day. ASU Green Team volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions about composting, recycling and zero waste.

“This event is not just a street festival; it’s about food, the desert, and connecting people to their food,” says Kuby. “Hopefully, the event will help people understand the whole cycle of a meal – from growth to production, consumption, and disposal. That way, they eat more mindfully and choose how they dispose of what they eat.”

And your food choices impact Phoenix’s economy and vitality. For example, Feast on the Street is a collection of local restaurants and food providers. By purchasing food at the event, you support local employee livelihoods and business practices. This, in turn, creates a stronger local economy and community.

“For Feast on the Street, we have been very proactive about working with a number of downtown businesses near the event,” says Lineberry. “Local restaurants will have takeout food so that people can buy it and then sit at the long table. And we’re providing compostable materials for the restaurants to package the takeout food. By doing this, we’re informing people and asking them to make some shifts in their lives like composting and considering local food.”

Kuby adds, “And as always the best way to make change, is through humor and entertainment.”

Thanks to volunteers and community partnerships, Feast on the Street is a free event. See a complete listing of sponsors and participating restaurants and food trucks.

This event is supported in part by ArtPlace, the National Endowment for the Arts, Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, and The Steele Foundation. Community partners include ASU College of Public Programs, Valley Permaculture Alliance, Tona Tierra, BioScience High School, Tiger Mountain Foundation, and artists Melinda Bergman, Ann Morton, Matt and Maria Salenger, and Gregory Sale and his ASU School of Art students.