From our friends at Oakland Grown: Local is the new black, and Oakland Grown reminds folks in the Bay Area to support your local breweries and restaurants year round – not because it is fashionable, but because it is meaningful. And luckily, it’s also delicious. More than 25 breweries and 25 restaurants will share their artisanal creations at the Oakland Bacon and Beer Festival, March 9 in Jack London Square. “We champion all the locally-owned, independent businesses that recycle our hard-earned consumer dollars locally, but our local brewers and restaurants are extra fun,” quips Erin Kilmer Neel, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Alliance, the non-profit home of the Oakland Grown program. “The participating breweries and restaurants in this year’s Oakland Bacon and Beer Festival are a great example of how our local businesses give back every day, with time, money, and in-kind support of local causes.” On March 9th, each restaurant will dish up a unique bacon-inspired small plate, but it will be up to you and your palate to do research on the best beer pairing. Attending the March 9 Bacon and Beer festival will cost festival-goers only $40, with the net proceeds going to Oakland Grown. Last August, festival organizers Bison Brewing and Eat Boston raised $9,102 for Sprouts Cooking Club, an Oakland-based non-profit. All of the East Bay participants will receive membership in the organization, as a thanks for their support. “This festival highlights inspired independent brands that survive, thrive, and give back to the community,” explains Erin. Oakland Grown will be posting many attendee “giving back” profiles on their website, such as: Berkeley’s Bison Brewing grows Cascade hops in Oakland community gardens, brewing a special beer to benefit Victory Gardens each October. San Francisco’s Memphis Minnie’s Bar-B-Que Joint & Smoke House provides dozens of in-kind donations to local schools and organizations every year, and has participated in Dining Out for Life every year for the last 8 years, donating 25% of gross sales to support the HIV prevention and care services of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Petaluma’s Zoe’s Meats donates time and money in the community they sell their artisanal charcuterie. In addition to supplying bacon for Bacon and Beer Fests, Zoe’s works directly with the school to set up school gardens or educational programs about sustainability and eating more healthfully. “As an Oakland resident since 1990 and a Berkeley business owner since 1997, I’m proud to work with Aaron and Erin to bring together the beer community to raise money to further support Oakland Grown’s sustainable community initiatives,” notes Daniel Del Grande, Bison’s brewmaster. “You don’t have to be organic to be a sustainable beer or restaurant, you just need to give back to the community where you thrive.” The event is made possible in part by especially generous in kind support from Jack London Square and Zoe’s Meats. Oakland Grown is a program of the Sustainable Business Alliance, committed to building a just and sustainable thriving local economy. The organization believes that by moving our money to businesses and institutions that are a force for good, we can improve social well-being for all and maintain a unique sense of place that we love. Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. For guidelines, see: http://oaklandlocal.com/guidelines/. For more information on posting to community voices, see The word on Oakland Local’s Community Voices posts, http://bit.ly/1nsD19L.