Eat Real combines a state fair, a street-food festival, and a block party to create a celebration of good food. At the Eat Real Festival, participants learn where food comes from, who grows it, and how to make it. Eat Real Festival attendance is 100% free of charge, all street food at the festival costs $10 or less, and incorporates delicious, regionally-sourced, and sustainably-produced ingredients. Eat Real is the premier educational program of the Food Craft Institute, a non-profit organization focused on creating and making viable small to medium-scale, handmade, artisan food companies in the United States. Eat Real’s mission is to help revitalize regional food systems, build public awareness of and respect for the craft of making good food and to encourage the growth of American food entrepreneurs.
Beer Program Manager
Beverage Team Lead
On-Site Volunteer Coordinator
*Are dogs allowed at the festival?*
Dogs are technically allowed in the outdoor space around Jack London Square, however bringing pets to Eat Real is not recommended due to the VERY large crowds at our festival. Dogs are not allowed in the indoor Craft Market and the Health Department also frowns on having animals near any of the cooking set-ups or food workshops, so if you bring your dog you may be asked to leave certain areas.
What is the Eat Real Festival?
Eat Real combines a state fair, a street-food festival, and a block party to create a celebration of good food. At the Eat Real Festival, participants learn where food comes from, who grows and makes it, and how they make it. Eat Real Festival attendance is 100% free of charge, all food at the festival costs $8 and less, and all food incorporates regionally sourced, fabulous, and sustainably produced ingredients. We know that today’s eaters are concerned about how to spend their food dollar yet are also increasingly interested in learning about how food choices can contribute to a healthier environment and stronger communities. By using fresh and local ingredients (and their amazing flavors), Eat Real aims to show how easy it can be to support a regional food system by bringing farmers, food producers and eaters together.
Where and when is it?
It’s at Oakland’s historic Jack London Square and will be held on September 22-24, 2017.
How do I get to the Eat Real Festival?
We’re excited to be hosting Eat Real Oakland once again at beautiful Jack London Square.
Eat Real is located equidistant to the Lake Merritt & 12th Street Oakland City Center station. From there you can easily walk, bike, bus, or skip to the festival! Plan your trip at bart.gov
AC Transit has 4 all-day bus routes that serve the Jack London District seven days a week until midnight or later. Line 12 connects to Broadway, Grand Lake, and Berkeley and runs every 30 minutes until midnight on weekends. Lines 72, 72M, and 72R connect to Broadway, San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, and Richmond and provide 15-minute service on weekends past midnight.
For you far-off Eat Realers, take the Capitol Corridor train and avoid the hassles of traffic and parking! The Capital Corridor Amtrak train runs from Sacramento to San Jose train and stops at Jack London Square’s Amtrak station (directly adjacent to Eat Real Fest!) All trains feature a Café Car, bicycle racks and electrical outlets. Added bonus: you can tap into discounted tickets!
Nothing like the fresh and salty sea air to get your appetite growlin’. Grab the ferry from San Francisco or South City and dock right at Eat Real. Plan your ferry trip here.
How much is the event?
FREE! There is no cost for entry into the festival. In fact, there is no cost for any of the festival activities which includes music, films, workshops, demonstrations, and exciting events like the food craft and butchery contests. Additionally, the Eat Real Festival works with our street food vendors to ensure that all food will be priced between $1-10*, making this a truly accessible and affordable event. *We have increased the price cap from the 2013 level to compensate for inflation and rising regional food costs.
Do I need to buy tickets?
Can I use credit cards?
Yes! We’re teaming up with Square this year so that you can use a credit card. ATMs will be also placed throughout the event. Eat Real-staffed bars and beverage stations will have Square credit card swipers.
Where can I find a schedule of events?
The full schedule will be posted in the month before the festival. Stay tuned on our newsletter for the latest info!
Is this a one-time event?
Nope, this is an annual festival. 2017 marks the ninth year for Eat Real Oakland!
What kind of street food vendors will you have?
The best! Eat Real Festival works with street food trucks and carts serving a wide variety of food from tacos, BBQ, falafel, salads, sandwiches, curry, grilled meats and vegetables, noodles, fruit, ice cream, and hot dogs. We also have space devoted to local food craft folks (cheese, charcuterie, pickles, jams, and more) and urban homesteading where you can learn what it takes to get in touch with your inner farmer/forager/brewer/baker/everything-maker!
Who is putting on this event?
Eat Real Festival was founded in 2008 by a group of people who believe that delicious, convenient, affordable, and sustainable food should be celebrated through an annual food festival. Eat Real is a social venture business. Our main product – the Eat Real Festival – supports a strong social change agenda. In addition, 100% of our profits go to support the Food Craft Institute, a non-profit educational institution advocating traditional food craft, entrepreneurship, and economic development for small business.
Are you a non-profit?
Yes! The Eat Real Festival is an educational program of the Food Craft Institute, a non-profit institution that works to create and improve the viability of small and medium-scale value-added food businesses in rural and urban America. The Eat Real Festival is a values-driven event focused on educating people about the food they eat. Food Craft Institute receives 100% of our proceeds.
Why are you focusing on local, organic, and sustainable food?
Eat Real’s mission is to put eaters in contact with chefs, farmers, and producers through an affordable and accessible event. Supporting a local and regional food system is important for healthy people, communities, and economies. Access to fresh and affordable foods is key to combating the serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease that afflict so many communities in the United States. And it just tastes better. This is why we are focused on food craft, street food, and urban homesteading and how they highlight the range of food options available that include simple, tasty, handmade and fresh treats. Additionally, when people purchase their food from street food vendors, local food producers, and regional farmers, the dollars spent remain in the community and support local businesses, creating a stronger and healthier economy.
How are street food vendors using local, sustainable, or organic ingredients?
By agreeing to take part in Eat Real, vendors commit to using 1-2 organic, local, or sustainable ingredients in their food. Wherever possible, and whenever needed, Eat Real connects street vendors with farmers or distributors to help get the necessary ingredients.
How can I get involved?
We are always looking for volunteers! We need assistance in getting posters up, stuffing goodie bags, and working on-site at the event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.