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Foodie Film Series to include food tastings, demonstrations, panel discussions

Grand Rapids Downtown Market is bringing a food-based documentary series to their new selection of events this spring.

/Maddie Forshee

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Foodie Film Fest schedule

February 17

"Food Chains" 

6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


March 24


6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 


April 28


6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.



Grand Rapids Downtown Market

435 Ionia Ave. SW

Food tasting from Downtown Market vendors and a bar stocked with Michigan-made drinks.

Food tasting from Downtown Market vendors and a bar stocked with Michigan-made drinks. /Maddie Forshee

Grand Rapids Downtown Market is kicking off their new year with a host of new classes and events. To mix up their usual lineup, the market is now offering a documentary screening once a month called the Foodie Film Series. 

Shannon Sadoski, Downtown Market Education Manager, says that the market wanted to bring in documentaries popular in the food community as a way to usher in more in-depth discussion about the local food community in Grand Rapids. 

“We thought that combining people in the community with our local food vendors and our education department, we could... see what concerns the community has and how the market can be a neutral site to have that discussion,” she says. 

Sadoski and the education department at the market chose four recently made films that all center around really knowing what is in the food that you are eating and where that food comes from. The documentaries will be featured monthly from January to April. 

Each documentary will be paired with a cooking demonstration by a Downtown Market chef, a food tasting and a panel discussion led by individuals in the local food community.

“We wanted to make it different than just a documentary screening,” Sadoski says. “All of the aspects can really bring a more diverse crowd.” 

The cooking demonstrations, which take place after the screening, will change each month to relate to the films being shown, whether they be about processed sugar in food or sourcing food locally. 

In January, the documentary centered around hidden sugar in food, so the cooking demonstration showed the audience how to make a fresh, healthy tomato sauce instead of buying one from the store. 

The people leading the panel discussions will also change from month to month. Sadoski reached out to members of the local food community around West Michigan, including chefs, local food producers and dieticians. 

February will feature the documentary “Food Chains,” a film focused on the human aspect of farming, where food comes from and how to source food locally. The film shows viewers how the cost of food trickles down, while paying attention to the quality of the food and the fair treatment of farm workers and really learning the importance of investing in the right things. 

The cooking demonstration to compliment the film will comprise only of food from local farms and producers so as to further the conversation about the reality of sourcing locally in Grand Rapids. 

The panel discussion will feature a local farmer to talk about the challenges he faces as a farmer and the benefits of local sourcing.

Of all food-related events, Sadoski recommends anyone to come to the film series because an audience member doesn’t have to be in the local food community to take part in the discussion. 

“It’s really just having your voice heard and connecting with different members of the community that have different resources that’s the most important thing,” she says. “We want this to be a fun night out where you can talk about food and eat food.”

The event is scholarship eligible for need-based participants who want to take part in the discussion. The Downtown Market aims to include everyone who wants to participate in their events.

“(Everything) ties together,” she says. “It helps improve our health, helps improve our economy, our environment and sustainability, and it improves West Michigan in general. It’s like a team working together.”

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