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Urban farm starts annual dinner fundraiser in Decatur
by Sarah Anne Voyles
svoyles@neighbornewspapers.com
September 04, 2013 12:04 PM | 1442 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye / From left, Lena Stevens, Bill Floyd, Susan Pavlin and Peggy Merriss prepare for the Decatur Dinner Party in Decatur Cemetery.
Staff / Katherine Frye / From left, Lena Stevens, Bill Floyd, Susan Pavlin and Peggy Merriss prepare for the Decatur Dinner Party in Decatur Cemetery.
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The Decatur Kitchen Garden hosts the first annual Meal to Live For at the Decatur Cemetery Saturday.

The idea for the dinner came when City Manager Peggy Merriss and Director of Global Growers Susan Pavlin attended a farmers’ dinner at the Georgia Organics Conference. Merriss said she liked the idea of showcasing the farm and local chefs.

“I think we like the idea of bringing together local chefs,” Pavlin said. “This is an opportunity to source local vegetables from Decatur Kitchen Garden and other local farms so that we could really make the most of their culinary arts and our yummy food.”

The night will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while guests listen to acoustic music. Guests will then feast on five courses with 10 different dishes. These meals will feature fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. Merriss said part of the selection process was based on those chefs who patronized the farm.

Only 150 guests will be able to attend the dinner and tickets cost $125. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the farm by helping to train farmers, provide funds for an outdoor classroom and other infrastructure necessities.

The farm started after former Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd attended a conference in Madison, Wisc., and he learned how Will Adams ran a farm in downtown Milwaukee that provided vegetables to local residents.

Floyd said he thought if they can run a farm like that year-round in Milwaukee, the same idea could be realized in Decatur.

“I began to think about the children’s home and the land over there that used to be a farm,” Floyd said. “We approached them about using their property and we worked with them to have one of their old farm sites.”

Once the land was secured, the city worked at receiving grants. One of the grants came from the Centers for Disease Control through a program to bring more fresh and local produce into each community.

Maintenance and labor for the farm came via a partnership with Global Growers. The organization works with refugee family services. Many of the refugee families come from agricultural backgrounds.

“We found this perfect marriage with the Methodist children’s home and the refugee resettlement committee,” Merriss said.

There are 30 different families from six different cultures who cultivate the farm and help provide a variety of foods native to not only the U.S. but around the world.

If you go:
When: Saturday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Decatur Cemetery, 299 Bell St., Decatur
Cost: $125
Information: www.DecaturDinnerParty. brownpapertickets.com



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