Growing Chefs: Food from Field to Fork Fundraiser in NYC, February 27th | Civil Eats

Growing Chefs: Food from Field to Fork Fundraiser in NYC, February 27th

Annie Novak is a young farmer on a mission to engage her community about real food.

This weekend, she will be putting on an event called Food from Field to Fork to help raise funds for her organization Growing Chefs.

Through Growing Chefs, Novak has held workshops, most often focused on cooking with children, in order to show that simple fresh food is fun to grow, easy to prepare, and delicious to taste. “When I started Growing Chefs five years ago,” Novak said, “I was simply creating a program I hadn’t yet seen in the world.” She continued, “The philosophy of Growing Chefs is quite simple: through action-based education, telling the narrative of food, from field to fork.”

Most of Growing Chef’s classes and workshops focus on children because, she explains, “No demographic in America is in greater crisis…At the same time, they are the most curious, fantastic learners!”

She added, “the basic premise behind all the cooking we do in the class is that if you are cooking with simple ingredients that are very fresh, and therefore quite nutritious, and grown well, almost anything you make is going to be fantastic, and I think that’s an important and empowering lesson for kids.”

Throughout the growing season in 2009, many of these workshops centered around Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, the successful 6,000 square foot green roof-farm she co-founded with the help of Goode Green. (We reported on Rooftop Farms on Civil Eats last spring.) In addition to big plans for the farm this year, she hopes to build Growing Chefs from a start-up to a fully-fledged organization, complete with infrastructure.

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“For years now I’ve been bicycling to all of the workshops and classes that I teach, which I have done using a barter system, borrowing people’s equipment and relying on other people to help out, and I’m really looking forward to the moment when Growing Chefs turns a corner and has its own infrastructure,” she said. “Like right now, we would love a food processor just to start.”

To give Growing Chefs a running start into the 2010 season, attend Food From Field to Fork at Urban Rustic on February 27th. Tickets are $40. There will be live fiddling, homemade eats prepared by Growing Chefs in partnership with Brooklyn Standard, and a live auction featuring tasty goodies, beekeeping lessons and other farm activities, and more.

Photo: Toby Adams

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Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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