Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cultivating Conversation

Are you passionate about fresh, seasonal, local food--enjoyed in a serene garden setting while engaged in thought-provoking conversation about sustainable food systems?

Then you're going to love "Cultivating Conversation: A Dine and Learn Series" taking place at Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center on October 28 from 5 to 8 p.m.

I have a special affinity for Olivewood Gardens. As some of you may recall, I used to be a volunteer cooking teacher there, helping kids learn how to make delicious, nutritious food straight from the garden outside the kitchen.

Since those early days, Olivewood Gardens has expanded its programs. Not only do they still offer the School Gardens Workshops I was involved in, they also have gardening classes, cooking classes for adults in both English and Spanish as well as for kids, Mommy and Me, and Girl Scout Badge Workshops.

How do they fund these community-based programs? Well, they get grants for one thing. And there's their annual Seedling Soiree fundraiser.

And now there's Cultivating Conversation.

Cultivating Conversation is described by Olivewood Gardens at a dine and learning series that takes place in their outdoor garden setting. A farm-to-table dinner will be prepared by chef Jeff Rossman, owner of Terra American Bistro. Trish Watlington, an Olivewood Gardens board member and owner of The Red Door in Mission Hills, who happens to raise produce and chickens on her property which contribute to the restaurant's ingredients, will lead the discussion. She said it will be framed around what we can each do to support fair and local food through simple and more complex choices, why even bother, and what makes our San Diego community unique in its ability to make these choices.

"I'm going to start the conversation with my own stories from childhood and being a young adult and how they set the stage for my passion for farming, food as community, and social justice," Watlington said. "I can share some restaurant stories that illustrate some of the challenges of sourcing local. Then we'll talk about what each member of the audience can do, what's in it for them, and why this region is so special in how it allows us to make good choices."

Tickets are $75 a person and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets. All proceeds will support the organization's garden-based nutrition education programs.

Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center is located in National City at 2525 N Ave.

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