Farm to Every Fork Benefit Helps the Hungry, Urban Growers, Farm Workers
By Sally Ooms farmtoeveryfork.org
The fourth annual Farm to Every Fork benefit dinner is coming up, with money going to help those in our community who are facing food insecurity. The three beneficiaries this year are Oak Park Sol, Delta-based Angels of the Fields and the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Project (SHOC), which publishes Homeward Street Journal.
The dinner has a change of venue and will be at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1701 L Street, from 5-8 on Sept. 9. Go to farmtoeveryfork.org to donate, become a sponsor or buy tickets. The event includes hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer followed by a healthful, gourmet dinner. Other features are a silent auction with amazing offering, and a raffle with equally fantastic prizes. Sister Libby Fernandez, director of Mercy Pedalers and formerly head of Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, will be the guest speaker.
David Andre, an active member of Sacramento’s homeless community, told me about the edible garden SHOC has newly sponsored at the corner of 13th and C streets. Andre dubs himself “Main Waterer” at the garden, which is loaded with organic plants producing “tons” of cherry tomatoes and squash at the moment. He says the garden supplies lots of fresh produce for the Community Dinner Project at City Hall every Tuesday, to the people who tend the garden, and for neighbors who are volunteer cooks and create meals in their homes to share.
The 20×100 foot plot is owned by Cat Williams, a SHOC board member, who donated it to the cause. Andre says about five people are instrumental in growing, watering and weeding right now. “People come and go” but all learn the concept of team building and how important it is to grow organic food. “We use a more enlightened concept for weeding,” Andre says. With water conservation in mind, garden members leave many of the weeds and discourage them by adding mulch layers on top. Andre is a fan of using cardboard for mulch layers as well. He likes that they are recycling cardboard in the process.
The garden also offers a place for people who own houses in the area to wander around. “They enjoy it,” Andre says. “We are giving them land to walk on. They can spend a whole afternoon in the garden if they want to.”
Andre also has contributed fruit trees to the garden that he personally sees to. He is a Sacramento native and when he lost his house, he put his peach tree into the back of his truck and grew it there. “It was my statement,” he says. “I made friends that way too.”
Now he gives trees away, like fruiting mulberries taken from cuttings of ancient trees in Miller Park. It has been a pursuit since he was a baby. He created a ceramic piece he calls “Baby Head” and put it into the peach tree. “As the tree grows, I grow.” You might say he is like Johnny Appleseed, except he deals in already sprouted trees of many varieties. “It’s one of my callings.”
Andre’s next endeavor is to introduce small peppers into the garden. The pepper plants are direct descendants of plants his great great grandparents brought from Spain at the turn of the last century. “They have not been hybridized,” he says proudly. Thus they fit the concept of the SHOC garden—to keep things biologically pure.
Visitors to the garden are welcome. Come see what kind of joy a nice plot of urban land can bring, along with bellies full of great food.