City Celebrates Working Waterfront with Weekend of Free Festival

Weekend’s Festival to Honor Fishermen, Farmers
By Becky W. Evans

NEW BEDFORD — With surf and turf as the key ingredients of the 2009 Working Waterfront Festival, you can expect to find enough seafood and produce — and entertainment related to growing, catching and cooking it — to keep your stomach satisfied throughout this weekend’s two-day festival.
To ensure that residents will continue to feast on local seafood and produce after the festival, area fishermen and farmers are invited to join a roundtable discussion about Community Supported Fisheries programs that are popping up around New England. The programs, which are modeled after Community Supported Agriculture, allow people to buy a weekly share of fish caught by local fishermen.
“With Community Supported Agriculture, shareholders pay in advance to farmers, and in this case, to fishermen, so they can have a weekly delivery of that week’s fresh catch,” said Andrianna Natsoulas, campaigns coordinator for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, a Maine-based advocacy group for sustainable fishing.
Community Supported Fisheries are “a great way to develop a relationship between fishermen and consumers,” Natsoulas said. “Consumers get fresh fish, and fishermen receive a higher price for the fish than at auction.”
She hopes the discussion will bring SouthCoast fishermen and farmers together to create a program where people who buy shares in local farms can also bring home a share of local seafood.
Her group will host the roundtable discussion from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park’s Corson Maritime Learning Center. The event is free of charge and open to the public.
The Working Waterfront Festival, a free family affair along the city’s fishing piers, kicks off on Saturday with a host of activities centered around the theme: Surf and Turf: Fishermen and Farmers Finding Common Ground.
Both fishermen and farmers depend on the natural world, pass along traditional skills and knowledge to future generations, and incorporate new technologies alongside traditional practices, festival director Laura Orleans said. They also face many of the same economic, environmental and political challenges.
“Part of the reason we chose the theme was because people are increasingly interested in where their food comes from,” she said. “Farmers are wise about using farmers markets to direct their food to consumers, but it is harder to do that with the fishing industry.”
To that end, the festival will feature an open-air market on State Pier, where visitors can purchase locally grown produce and fresh-caught seafood.
“Within the farmers market, you will find all the ingredients you need to make a chowder,” Orleans said.
Cooking demonstrations will incorporate local produce and seafood into their recipes. Recipe cards will be available, with most of the ingredients available at the farmers market.
For those who want to eat at the festival, the food court will feature a raw bar by Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farm, sushi by the Waterfront Grille, grilled seafood, meat and veggies by M&C Cafe, and fried fish and scallops, lobster rolls and quahog chowder by Oxford Creamery.
In addition to food, the festival, which runs through Sunday, will offer music performances, book and poetry readings, films, contests, vessel tours, children’s activities, and panel discussions related to fishing and farming.
To register for the roundtable discussion, contact the Working Waterfront Festival office at (508) 993-8894 or
For more information about the festival, including a schedule of activities, visit
September 21, 2009
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