Festival to promote food, health, sustainability

(W. Scot Grey/DD)
Grow Phoenix Festival brings together Valley chefs and food trucks to promote health and sustainability in Phoenix. The event marks the conclusion of Arizona Science Center and Chipotle’s Chew on This! film and lecture series. (W. Scot Grey/DD)

Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Arizona Science Center are holding the Grow Phoenix Festival at the Heritage & Science Park Saturday to conclude their Chew on This! film and lecture series.

The event will feature a variety of food trucks, cooking demonstrations by chefs from around the valley and a performance by local band Peppermint James to promote food awareness, health and sustainability throughout the Phoenix community.

“We want to inspire, educate and entertain people of all ages,” said Drexel Jones, marketing strategist for Chipotle.

Jones said the partnership was started to encourage families to start thinking differently about food and its effect on the environment around them.

“Through various showings of films and lectures, we have taught people the value and importance of natural and locally grown food,” said Jones, referring to the partnership’s ongoing Chew on This! series.

Sherri Sauntry, vice president of marketing and sales at the Arizona Science Center, said the partnership between the Arizona Science Center and Chipotle over the past year has been “extremely successful.”

Sauntry said she believed this event was unique because, although there were a lot of food festivals in Phoenix, few were focused on food that was sustainable and healthy.

Eddie Matney, executive chef and owner of Scottsdale restaurant Eddie’s House, will perform cooking demonstrations at the event.

“There should be more festivals like this celebrating Phoenix. It is important to the community,” Matney said.

Matney said he wanted to show people the importance of cooking with family. He will be cooking alongside his 9-year-old daughter, Gabrielle.

“I really enjoy doing city events,” said Greg Colella, vice president of operations for Burgers Amore.

Burgers Amore is a full-service gourmet food truck that participates in Food Truck Fridays at the Phoenix Public Market and other downtown events.

It will be one of six food trucks attending Saturday’s event. Burgers Amore serves turkey, beef, chicken and veggie burgers.

John Clancy, a chef from restaurant M Catering by Michael’s, said he will demonstrate how to make Southwestern shrimp and grits at the event.

Clancy said he wanted to show families how to make food at home that is simple yet still out of the ordinary.

Jones said he hoped this event will be a steppingstone to cultivating even bigger projects around the state in order to spread the message of sustainable foods with local, fresh ingredients.

Around 500 to 700 children are expected to attend, Jones said. Including families, he said he would like to see around 2,000 to 2,500 people. Both he and Sauntry said they are expecting a big turnout.

The Grow Phoenix Festival is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Heritage & Science Park on Washington Street between Fifth and Seventh streets. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact the reporter at miranda.rivers@asu.edu