Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Park Harvest Festival and Simple Living Institute

The park in downtown Winter Park was transformed and transfixed by the 1st annual Winter Park Harvest Festival. Pictured here, Avery and Lauressa, model volunteers. But look past these lovelies at all the greenery! Yes when we table at events, we bring plants and we speak about our passions, gardening and local food. This day, we were not the only ones!! I have the most beautiful mix of feelings about our burgeoning community collaberators! Yes, we are the leaders in this growing (pun intended) collective and I am used to being the one with the pretty plants and the big news about our awesome activities at the different events we table. No more. We are many now and the Winter Park Harvest Festival showcased all of US very well.

There were throngs of people strolling through the festival in the sunshine. Glorious! the weather could not have been better! Our table enjoyed planty of attention. And my vols were there in force, except my daughter Joanna, she was there by force (hhaha). Stacks of stuff touting our programs, projects and of course, our dynamite website flew off the table and into the eager hands of folks who are curious about Simple Living Institute and all we do. A very grateful raffle ticket buyer received a grow box at the end of the day! We sold a few plants and Seminole pumkins. Interest at our table was high and I expect the ranks at our Organic Grower's meetings to swell.

Our president, Tia meer is a leader in this bunch (of carrots!) and a star speaker! She presented a workshop on filling a grow box and she participated in a panel discussion, "Meet the Farmers". She was joined there by her brethren to explore the ins and outs and to share what's new. Both tents were active all day with several of our own members rounding out the line up. Trina Hofreiter presented, on organic gardening, Russ Rice, on orgainc weed and pest prevention, Bernie Moro, on worm composting and Stephanie Syson, on edible landscapes. All were well attended!

I stepped over to Williams-Sonoma on Park Ave to see a couple of the cooking demos sponsored by Edible Orlando Magazine Not only does this community grow beautiful food, they prepare it for enjoyment at the table in high style and simplicity. And aren't we fortunate? Edible Orlando Magazine assists us with the printing and distribution of our local food guide. See The Central Florida Sustainable Food Project on Facebook and at . I tasted raw chocolate that was creamy and dreamy! Next came Catelonian Kale, all raw, but so tender! Catelonian means sweet, with raisins, in this case. mixed with salty, Kalamata olives, combined with lemon juice and olive oil. Kendra told me the kale was picked that morning from Heart of Christmast Farms . Fantastic!

I tried not to eat too much because I knew that the Farm to Table dinner was going to offer an amazing array of foods. All locally produced and crafted together by 7 local chefs! A magnificent appetizer opening, 3 courses and a pear torte ending that was divine! I wonder where those pears came from! I could smell them and the taste of the pears popped right through the cakey dessert. Marvelous food! The music was bluegrass and the people were fun! Fran and I sat with an anesthesiologist and his pediatrician wife and a Chipolte exec here to visit his mom. Enchanting autumn table decor greeted us and set the mood for a beautiful evening!

My daughter Joanna and I helped Tia and Tom Scala set up the table at 7am. At midday, Matt from a late night radio show at Rollins radio station WPRK asked me to come on to talk about Simple Living Institute. Check the time on the clock. Yes! I went over, after that huge dinner, to crow about what a great day it was and to tell the world, I mean... whoever was listening to the radio that night about our big local food project. Matt and his co-hosts had walked through the Festival. I was happy to hear about how impressed they were! They loved all of the food and the up-beat people and suggested we hold a fest like that every quarter or so. Great idea!

When I got to the car, I found a text from Lauressa (pictured above). She had been listening to the radio! We gabbed as I drove home. What an amazing day it was!

Do this every quarter? Oh ya! What do you think Mr. Rife, founder of ?

To all who participated, especially my beautiful volunteers, and John Rife the founder, please accept my a profound thanks! This event will have a far-reaching affect for a long time to come. We appreciate all of your great efforts to make the Winter Park Harvest Festival grand! Now that we all know each other a little better, bring it on! more community, more connection, more local food!

Shayla Dougher, volunteer coordinator

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Shayla! Wow! You took fantastic notes.