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CultivEAT: Cultivating community, culture, local foods with a farm-to-table feast

May 12, 2016 by Brandi Porter

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Between the live music, the twinkly lights, crowded table and good company — CultivEAT is an urban experience like no other. It also happens to highlight local food culture in the best kind of way: by serving it.

On the evening of Saturday, May 21, more than one hundred people will gather for a four-course, farm-to-table meal hosted by the Roosevelt Growhouse community garden in a downtown alleyway-turned-dining room.

In its second year, the event supports locally produced food, sustainability and education — all over a delicious, outdoor meal shared with friends, family and neighbors.

“That sense of connection you get when you see people eating, talking and having a good time — that’s our goal,” said Kenny Barrett, co-founder and caretaker of Growhouse. “Creating connections and creating opportunities for people to meet who normally wouldn’t.”

From the first course through to dessert, all of the food will be 100 percent locally sourced and prepared by chef Robbie Tutlewsk of Pizzeria Bianco.

Barrett said they work with producers large and small, ranging from Maya’s Farm to micro-farms and private gardens.

The event will feature peaches from Schnepf Farms, The Meat Shop, cheese from Crow’s Dairy, creamy goat milk caramels from The Simple Farm and many, many more.

With an internship program for the neighboring Bioscience High School and ASU School of Sustainability, Growhouse uses the event to highlight student work with tours and mini-presentations from the students themselves.

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“It’s really their opportunity to showcase what we do all the time at Growhouse,” Barrett said, “and specifically, what they were able to work on and their contribution to the Growhouse and the community.”

ASU School of Sustainability senior Callie Rose Alden is actually producing the event for her capstone project. She’s responsible for the overall production and for the coordination between local food purveyors and the chef.

“It’s such a great event for a sustainability student to coordinate, because it’s all about local food, local food systems and it has a sustainability mission,” Barrett said.

Barrett said Alden has been a rockstar “green-tern,” and while he’s coaching her through the event planning process, she’ll get to add her own flavor and enthusiasm to the dinner.

“The mulberries were handpicked by the event coordinator,” he said. “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen.”

The event was inspired by Feast on the Street — a one-day event that in 2013 invited the public for dinner on a half-mile long table on First Street in Downtown Phoenix.

“Ever since we did Feast on the Street, we’ve collectively in the community missed it,” he said. “And this is the best shot we have at recreating it at a smaller scale.”

The last day to purchase tickets ($75) is Sunday, May 15, which includes the four-course meal with two glasses of beer or wine. Proceeds support the Roosevelt Growhouse’s mission to provide educational opportunities for desert, urban agriculture.

(Photos courtesy Roosevelt Growhouse)


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