Urb Garden Catering is Farmer Derek's food-making and vending enterprise, which serves up 100% vegetarian and organic food at summer festivals in our area. The Urb Garden, so named in 2005 and formerly called Veggie Vibes, has been a steady partner in local festivity and conviviality since 1999.
The full menu always features thirst-quenching fruit smoothies, roasted red pepper hummus and veggie wraps (often referred to as "walking salad"), and a savory warm vegetable and legume curry dish with whole grains. During weekend-long fests, the lunch menu includes a second warm, protein-rich dish as a special, such as barbeque tempeh and red beans over whole grains, or tempeh kalamata pasta salad. Shade-grown, fair-trade, organic coffee and herbal teas are available as well, to perk up a brisk morning or a windy evening.
Urb Garden prides itself on its wholesome, some might say eclectic, vegetarian fare. Yes, we know it's true that at fest folks revel in the consumption of "street food" -- fried fatty goodies, sugary treats, various things on-a-stick. Yet, Urb Garden is vigilant about offering a different kind of indulgent option to the festive public -- plant-based, healthful, balanced food, made from scratch with flair by people you probably know. This is food that sustains while it pleases the senses, and helps you beat the heat and dance the night away.
Urb Garden consciously makes a place for local organic produce on the menu, and farmers in the kitchen! Derek says he started this whole food vending biz as an extension of his growing activities. Several key ingredients are actually grown by Echollective farmers-- the crisp, refreshing leafy greens on the hummus/veg wraps, the delectable onions, potatoes, garlic and greens in the curry. Farm crew members turn up on the Urb Garden team often and are happy to chat about what's happening in the field and what the weather's throwing at them this time.
This year, Urb Garden has already begun whipping up the yummy food action at the Marion Arts Festival. And the fun will continue at Iowa City's Summer of the Arts events (Jazz Fest, Arts Fest, Sand in the City), the Midwest Renewable Energy Conference, Organic Valley's Kickapoo Country Fair, the Illinois Renewable Energy Conference, Pitchfork Music & Media Fest in Chicago, Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, and of course at Echollective's annual Garlic Fest/Party out at the farm in July!
See ya there!