Last year when the first annual Farm to Fork Gala dinner held on the Tower Bridge sold out at a cost of $175 per seat, Chanowk Yisrael was mad. He was mad that the farm-to-fork movement was being catered to the affluent, he was mad that food justice was not a part of the conversation concerning local foods, and he was mad that the whole idea of farm to fork seemed to be flaunting itself in the face of those who needed access to healthy food and food education the most. In his indignation, he and his family hosted their own Farm to Fork week dinner on the site of their own Yisrael Family Farm in Oak Park, serving a five-course vegetarian dinner with food grown on their own farm for just $20 a seat.
This year, the Tower Bridge gala dinner is still being held with a three figure price tag but more events during the 2014 Farm to Fork Week are evolving to include a greater discussion about food justice and our community, most notably the upcoming Sep. 13th “buy one feed one” event “Fork It: Farm to Every Fork.” Prepped by chefs Michael Thiemann and Matt Masera of Mother and the forthcoming Empress Tavern, the dinner will be a family-style sit down meal where your $150 ticket buys dinner for you and as well as another guest at the table who has faced food insecurity in our community.
The meal itself is planned to use produce from local farms, as well as a special coffee roast from Jason Griest of Old Soul, and wines from local vinter Revolution Wines, and will include a discussion about the challenges facing food justice in our community as well as a presentation by keynote political economist and social activist Eric Holt-Gimenez. All proceeds from the event go to benefit local organizations serving low income, food insecure, or homeless individuals in the area.