The 7th annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival is part of a larger grassroots movement that is changing the way we view our food, our connection to the earth and our ability to thrive. We connect our attendees to local and regional experts who share the history, farming practices, benefits and preparation of fermented, cultured and traditional foods that nourish our gut microbiome. We collaborate with cutting edge researchers who are defining the important role beneficial bacteria play in our health and the health of our planet.

Profits from the festival support projects that further our mission.


Our all-ages experiential one-day festival invites attendees to enjoy samples from fermented food and beverage artisans, learn from more than fifty presenters on four stages, and participate in hands-on activities.

Festival Highlights

  • Nurture what Nature Gave You” Theme featuring fermentation, science and health care industry professionals on how fermentation directly impacts health.
  • DIY Fermentation Stations, where attendees can participate in hands-on demonstrations that show how easy it is to make traditionally fermented foods such as citrusy water kefir soda, spicy heirloom tomato salsa, fermented zucchini chips, Four Thieves kraut and onion relish.
  • Pickled Pavilion and Culture Corner, where fermentation experts will share the history, benefits and preparation of fermented foods such as Macadamia nut yogurt, pinquito bean miso, papaya salsa, raw chocolate butter pudding and wild soda.
  • Dozens of Ferment-centric Exhibitors, featuring 75+ different types of local and regional fermented foods samples, products, and supplies. 
  • 21+ Farm-to-Bar Area, where attendees can taste traditionally crafted wild ale, cider, mead, jun, shrubs, distilled spirits, fermentation-inspired cocktails, and other creative libations.
  • Culture Chat featuring one-on-one learning opportunities with fermentation and health experts
  • Bacteria Buddy Passport Program featuring hands-on activities for bacteria farmers ages 4-12 years old.

NEW FOR 2017!

  • Emphasis on the microbiome and glyphosate research and the most recent data from our collaborative study with Slow Food Ventura County.
  • DIY Fermentation Stations where you can make four different fermented foods throughout the day on YOUR schedule. This new and improved hybrid of our DIY Pickle Station and Fermentation Station Stage allows you to see more talks, spend more time with exhibitors, and still have the opportunity to learn hands-on how to make your own ferments.
  • Extended Farm-to-Bar Hours - Farm-to-Bar hours have been extended to mirror the festival hours - 11am-5pm - that's one more hour to enjoy the dozens of local libations available for sampling.
  • Farm-to-Bar relocates to the grassy field just inside the festival entrance, where grass and shade abound. 
  • All Access Farm-to-Bar Education - The Farm-to-Bar stage has been moved just outside the Farm-to-Bar area so that ALL festival attendees can listen to and engage with our informative talks and demos.
  • Live Music On Stage - Featuring local favorites Erisy Watt and Bryan Titus Trio, the Farm-to-Bar stage will open and close the day with live music that everyone can sip, savor and swing to. The stage's new location guarantees all attendees access.

History of the FERMENTATION Festival

Founded by mother and daughter team Lynn Hartman and Katie Hershfelt, the festival aims to revitalize traditional food preparation and promote local food and farming. Hartman and Hershfelt share a common vision: “We want attendees to feel empowered to nurture the immune system that nature gave us. Beneficial bacteria from fermented foods grown in healthy soil is an easy way to do this. Our festival is part of a larger grass-roots movement that is changing the way we view our food, our connection to the earth and our ability to thrive.” 

The first Fermentation Festival in the summer of 2011 was a workshop that shared fermented foods and recipes with the community at Shepherd Farms in Carpinteria. Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp, the first and only guest speaker, shared her knowledge of the positive impact that beneficial bacteria have on our health. Since then, the festival has grown to offer a diverse array of talks by fermentation experts, M.D.s, Naturopathic doctors and microbiologists, hands-on demonstrations, and the opportunity to taste dozens of artisan fermented foods.

In 2013 and 2014, the Fermentation Festival was held at Fairview Gardens, with profits from the festival directly benefiting the preservation of one of Santa Barbara County’s most treasured urban farms.

In July 2015, the Fermentation Festival spread its wings and made an appearance in Venice with its debut of the Los Angeles Fermentation Festival.

Meanwhile in order to accommodate additional speakers and exhibitors in Santa Barbara, the September 2015 Fermentation Festival was moved to the historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta, California, its current home. 2015 profits benefited SOL Food and 2016 profits benefited the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. 2017 profits are slated to benefit Slow Food Ventura County and the collaborative microbiome projects they are spearheading over the course of the year.

Due to popular demand of all things farm-to-bar, the Fermentation Festival launched Wild Brew Fest in March 2016 at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. The newly added education forward alcohol festival is scheduled to return in March 2017.

FermENTATION FestIVAL in the News