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Howard Film 'Feastival' kicks off Farm-2-Table Restaurant Weeks

By Casey Leins, cleins@tribune.com

3:45 PM EDT, July 16, 2013

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For the family-owned AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar, supporting local farmers by serving fresh, locally grown food is in the restaurant's DNA, according to owner Joe Barbera.

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar is one of six Howard County restaurants participating in the fourth annual Film "Feastival" at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City on Tuesday, July 16, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event teams restaurants and local farmers to offer samples from their menus and to promote locally grown products.

"In a world where you can send a text message to China in 45 seconds, it's nice to know the food you eat comes from right around the corner," said Iron Bridge Wine Co. owner Steve Wecker.

Visitors also can enjoy educational displays and a series of three movies throughout the evening that show how farmers work with restaurants and families to provide fresh and healthy options.

The event kicks off Howard County's Farm-2-Table Restaurant Weeks, from July 17 to August 5, when 19 county restaurants offer prix fixe specials comprised of local ingredients.

"It is a positive reinforcement for the community to become familiar with local farmers and to understand how important fruit and vegetables are to their diet." said Karen Basinger, extension educator for nutrient, health and wellness for Howard County.

New this year, the "Feastival" will include an event at the Howard County Library's Miller Branch. On July 17 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., the library will provide a free screening of Maryland Public Television's "The Maryland Harvest," followed by a panel discussion. From 2 to 6 p.m., the county's farmers market will be open in the library's parking lot.

"When you shop locally, it's a win-win for the community," Wecker said. "It's a smaller ecological footprint, it helps the local economy and we're supporting our farmers, restaurants and independent businesses."

Visit howardfilmfeastival.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets for the July 16 event at Clark's Elioak Farm. An optional $5 donation will go toward Farmers' Market coupons for families in need. To register for the July 17 Miller Library event, go to hclibrary.org. For a listing of Restaurant Weeks participants, go to http://www.visithowardcounty.com.