The Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf is partnering up with University of Minnesota’s Simply Good Eating to host their first annual Local Foods Night on Thursday, August 18 at St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church.
Exhibitors this year include Whole Foods, Mississippi Market, 10,000 Licks, Featherstone farm, Happy Acres farm, Farm of Minnesota, Fare for All, St. Paul-Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission, Celeste’s Dream, Urban Baby and Bars Bakery.
Outside, resource tables will line the sidewalk, where visitors can sample local foods, gather information, or even participate in games (bring your kids).
Inside, there will be live music and also cooking demos by Simply Good Eating.
A couple of tables with food samples to look out for include Mississippi Market, which was recently voted third place in Vita.mn’s “Co-ops That Rock Our World” category for best dining and newcomers, 10,000 Licks, who will be offering samples of their innovative ice pops, with flavors such as Strawberry Basil and Bluegrass (blueberry and lemongrass).
However, don’t be fooled, the main course of the event isn’t the food, but rather the information. The idea, in a sense, is not to give the community fish, but to teach them how to fish as well as prepare that fish once it has been caught.
“We are planning to be at the local foods night with some recipe resources,” said Jen Finger, head of marketing at Whole Foods in St. Paul, “I know a lot of people aren’t really sure what to do with fresh produce sometimes.”
Fare for All, a grocery distributor that focuses on providing affordable groceries, offers savings of up to 40 percent on food. Their table will provide information on their deals, which they emphasize are open to everyone.
Another local organization, Fruits of the City, hopes to educate visitors on what types of fruit can be grown and maintained in our local climate, such as plum trees.
The event aims to raise awareness about local food drives and encourage further accessibility to healthy, nutritious and local food, especially among underserved populations.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the local foods sometimes gets dismissed as being kind of a luxury for white affluent people,” said Josh Grinolds, the Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf director.
The event starts at 5:30 PM and goes until 7:30 PM and donations to the food shelf are also being accepted during this time.
“It really strengthens community bonds and gets people together and I think that’s something we could use more of,” says Grinolds, speaking about events such as their Local Foods Night, “It’s just amazing how you can really bring together different groups.”
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.