Cultivating Connections at CultivEAT 2017

Published 5.22.17 for Downtown Phoenix Journal

Lovers of locally sourced food, rejoice! The 3rd Annual CultivEAT Farm-to-Table Dinner in downtown Phoenix promotes both local farm-grown food from places like Crow’s Dairy, Pinnacle Farms, Simple Farms and many others, as well as local restaurants and chefs who shape Arizona-grown food into delicious dishes. Roosevelt Growhouse will host the event Sunday, June 4 from 7 to 10 p.m. at their new location in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

The event aspires to cultivate connections by bringing together community members, including downtown “movers and shakers,” city staff, political leaders, business owners, residents and urban agriculturalists over a delicious locally-grown and prepared meal.

Amy Otto was an intern at Roosevelt Growhouse in January 2015 while studying Sustainability at Arizona State University. With a focus on her passion for food and community, she wanted to cultivate greater conversations about our local food systems, where it all comes from and how it’s all treated.

“I believe that meal time is a universal language and much connection can happen when you break bread with someone, so what better way to have these important conversations than over a meal with our community,” Otto said. “I volunteered at another local event called Feast on the Street in 2013, and was really inspired by the process so I got to thinking, ‘Couldn’t we do that again, but with all locally grown food?’

Over the next three months, she reached out to local producers, community gardens and businesses and was surprised to find how out much support there was for sustainability in our local food community.

“We received enough food to serve 100 people! Along with the gracious contribution of time and talent from our volunteers and Chef Robbie Tutlewski from Pane Bianco, we pulled it all together and it was a magical night,” Otto said. “I’m super thrilled that it’s going on it’s third year and excited to see how it will grow in the future.”

This year, CultivEAT is expecting upwards of 150 dinner guests. Individuals from political leaders to community leaders who are paving the way for our future will be in attendance.

“You never know who you will be rubbing elbows with at CultivEAT,” event coordinator Mandy Royse said. “We do not have any set guest speakers but we do encourage guests to mingle with their neighbors while they break bread over this family style long table dinner.”

With new items coming from local farms and purveyors, the menu is constantly changing. Chef Sacha Levine of Ocotillo, Tracey Dempsey of Tracey Dempsey Originals and Casey Hopkins of Welcome Chicken + Donuts will be collaborating to produce the feast, according to Royse.

The meat courses will involve pork leg from The Meat Shop as well as specially made chorizo. For the other courses there will be greens coming from Arizona Microgreens, squash from McClendon’s Select and Agave Farms, cucumbers from Pinnacle Farms, melons from Martori Farms, tomatoes from Abby Lee Farms, feta from Crow’s Dairy, olives from Queen Creek Olive Mill and hummus created from ingredients provided by Nicola Imports.

For dessert, there will be some special items created using local favorite Zak’s Chocolate. The Simple Farm will offer their award winning goat’s milk caramels for guests to indulge in at the dinner, or save for later. The final menu will be released in the days leading up to the event.

“The ultimate goal for the evening is to cultivate connections between our guests, especially in regards to the importance of sustainable living,” Royse said. “Urban farming is an up and coming force that we hope to make a staple within our communities. Local food is sustainable food and that’s the main message we hope to convey.”

 If You Go:

What: 3rd Annual CultiveEAT Farm-to-Table Dinner

When: Sunday, June 4 from 7 – 10 p.m.

Where: Roosevelt Growhouse, 1025 N 2nd St.

Tickets: Individual tickets are $70 (plus a $2.74 fee). Meat and vegetarian ticket options are available as general admission place settings, which includes two drink tickets. A cash bar will be available at the event.

Sponsorship packages are also available.

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