Cocktails and Castoffs for Development in Gardening

Cocktails and Castoffs for Development in Gardening

Every so often, a food event comes along that manages to marry amazing tastes with an incredible cause. This was the case at “Cocktails and Castoffs,” an event held Sunday, November 15th at Gallery L1 in Old Fourth Ward. Under the theme of “Food Waste and Loss,” the event aimed to garner support for the non-profit organization Development in Gardening while also raising awareness about food conservation on both a local and global scale.

The Cause

Development in Gardening (DIG) works to improve the lives of people in vulnerable and HIV communities by supplying them with the tools and education necessary for sustainable, community gardening.

Founded in 2005, DIG now works in over eight countries, most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its programs are having an incredible impact on the lives of those it serves. Families are consuming more nutritionally diverse produce and increasing their earning potential all thanks to the crops grown in DIG gardens. DIG’s programs are providing them with access to healthcare and educational opportunities that they would have never known before.

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The Message

Aside from showcasing DIG’s achievements over the past year, presentations throughout the night addressed the issues associated with food waste and food loss.

DIG Co-founder and executive director Sarah Koch first highlighted the difference between food waste, which happens at the end of the food cycle, and food loss, which occurs at the beginning of the food cycle due to poor harvesting and storage practices.

Not surprisingly, food waste is a major problem in this country. An estimated 30% of all food in the U.S., valued at $48.3 billion, ends up in landfills each year.

Food waste causes a rise in food prices globally. This has devastating effects for developing countries, who are also struggling with problems associated with food loss.

While it may be easy to feel overwhelmed about how a single person can help, small actions can make a difference. Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union presented some tips on what we can do at home to minimize food waste. These included creative ways on how to use almost all parts of fruits and vegetables, and ideas for composting.

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The Food

Some of Atlanta’s top chefs had prepared unique dishes for the event with the intent of pleasing the palate while wasting as little food as possible in their creation.

Tiffanie Barriere (One Flew South) presented a vodka cocktail using syrup infused with the pits of plums and peaches.

Steven Satterfield (Miller Union) prepared a roasted spaghetti squash using broth made from the squash seeds. The seeds were then dried and used as a garnish.

Jennifer Hill Booker (Your Resident Gourmet LLC) made beets three ways–a beet humus, a salad of beet greens, romaine and kale, and a beet agua fresca served as a refreshment.

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Daniel Peach (Chai Pani) prepared a spicy sweet potato and apple chaat. He candied the apple peels for garnish, and used the cores from the apples in a turmeric soda.

Tery Koval (Wrecking Bar) created a flavorfully complex carrot salad that included a carrot tops, carrot salt, and burnt onion powder.

Russ Pysell (Yummy Street) made a beet stack skewer consisting of beets, prosciutto, and toasted marshmallow. He also served a creamy cucumber avocado soup garnished with toasted coconut.

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For dessert, Suzanne Vizethann (Buttermilk Kitchen) provided banana peel cupcakes with maple butter cream icing. Whole banana peels were soaked over the course of a few days before being used in the cupcakes.

Every dish was beautifully presented in a completely compostable dish, minimizing the waste and environmental impact of the night’s event.

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The Goal

By the end of the evening, DIG had more than exceeded its ambitious goal of raising $25,000. The money will be used to fund the development of five gardens in Kenya, improving the lives of 200 farmers and their families.

For more information on DIG and how you can get involved, be sure to visit their website at http://www.reaplifedig.org/.

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Creator of The Sophisticated Caveman, a Paleo lifestyle blog. When not obsessing over food, he can usually be found hiking in the North Georgia mountains. He is also a CulinaryLocal Ambassador and content contributor. He attended this event in exchange for thoughts on his experience.


One response to “Cocktails and Castoffs for Development in Gardening”

  1. […] You can read all about the experience in my article for CulinaryLocal. […]

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