By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
September 24, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – It makes sense that a food festival celebrating Kansas City’s pride in pork would evolve from a food blog.

Jonathan Bender, founder of The Recommended Daily, said when he started the website this past January, the goal was to eventually host food centric events in Kansas City. Soon after, he approached Alex Pope, who runs the Local Pig in the East Bottoms, about putting together a food festival that focuses on the sustainable pork production.

“I thought that lined up well with Alex’s mission,” Bender said.

After some brainstorming, the two settled on the idea of hosting the Knife and Pork food festival in Heim Park, because of its proximity to the Local Pig. Frank Hicks, owner of Knuckleheads, is also assisting with the festival. The event will take place on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26 and 27. The event kicks off Friday with a roundtable discussion on sustainable pork production from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Library, 4801 Main St. Then, from 1 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, the festival heads to the East Bottoms for food tastings and butchering demonstrations.

“It made a lot of sense to do it in our backyard and in Frank’s backyard,” Pope said.

Although it is a food festival, Bender said the event will also celebrate the pork production and consumption of Kansas City. This region, he continued, has a lot of sustainable pork producers, with animals that are “ethically raised in a commercially viable way.”

The duo said they also wanted to highlight the craft of butchery. In his shop, Pope utilizes whole animal butchery, a craft, he said, isn’t utilized much in the country anymore. The animals in the Local Pig come from small, family farms from within 100 miles.

“It’s no drugs, no confinement, mostly heritage breeds,” Pope said.

To showcase the uniqueness of his shop, throughout the festival, butchers will give demonstrations on how to properly cut animals. Bender said the idea behind that is if you attend the festival, you get a better idea of learning where your food comes from and how it is properly prepared and served. Demonstrations include hog, lamb, beef and chicken butchering.

“A lot of people want to see it,” Pope said, adding guests will also have the opportunity to talk to the butchers after the demonstrations. “I think there is a desire from people to see where their food and meat come from. It’s the general desire for knowledge.”

Bender said he hopes this turns into an annual event that continually grows over time.

Tickets for the event are available at the Local Pig, online at or at the gate on the day of the event. General admission tickets are $45. VIP admission, which gets one into the event an hour earlier than general admission ticket holders, are $80. And if you’d like to attend just the pig roast dinner that closes the event from 6:30 – 8 p.m, tickets are $15. The roundtable discussion is free and open to the public.