Eat Local Food & Support Planted: Houston at Benefit Pop-Up Dinner

Edible Earth Resources is a local edible landscaping firm that installs home gardens and landscapes, as well as many restaurant gardens, like the ones found at Haven and Coltivare. On Sunday, July 27, from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., Edible Earth will hold a benefit pop dinner at Haven as the kick off to the campaign funding their urban farming project, Planted: Houston.

Nick Panzarella, community liaison for Edible Earth Resources, says the firm approached the city of Houston to lease abandoned lots in order to build urban gardens as a means to redevelop those neighborhoods and combat food deserts. Instead of shipping all of the produce to restaurants outside of these communities, 10 percent of the food grown in the gardens will be sold at corner stores and convenience stores within the neighborhoods at grocery store prices, or lower if possible. Edible Earth will also have a produce share similar to a CSA box where people receive a box of produce every week; for every share sold, one will be donated. The rest of the produce will go to restaurants on contract with them.

While part of the project is being funded by chefs who are pre-purchasing produce from Edible Earth, the other half is crowd-funded. The pop-up dinner on Sunday marks the kick-off to this two-month campaign benefiting Planted: Houston.

Monica Pope of Sparrow, Kaz Edwards of Uchi, German Mosquera of Restaurant Cinq, and Dusty Sagasar of Beaver's will join Randy Evans of Haven to prepare a variety of dishes using local ingredients. More chefs may join as well. The theme for the night is "Houston on a Plate."

"It's going to be a walk around event, so there will be tables, and it will be a walk around thing as opposed to a sit down dinner," Evans says. "Each chef will have a dish or two that they prepare and serve... I'm going to see what all of the other chefs are doing and then we [Haven] are going to try to fill the gaps so that way there's a good variety of product. We will obviously be focusing on what's going on in the fields right now, whether that be corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squashes, eggplant -- all those great summer veggies that are happening. You'll see a lot of produce-centric menu items that will have some protein in it, but the whole idea is we're talking about what's going on right now."

Tickets to the event cost $50 in advance and will serve as a donation to the project, Planted: Houston. Each ticket includes all food served, complimentary beer and the Planted: Houston signature cocktail; there will also be a cash bar. If still available, tickets may be purchased at the door for $65. Edible Earth will accept additional donations at the pop-up dinner. Live music will be provided by Sara Van Buskirk and there will also be a silent auction.

The auction will include a mix of garden-related items and services provided by Edible Earth, as well as various restaurant-related packages from the participating chefs.

"I want people to know that we are trying to make a permanent impact on the way the food service works in Houston," Panzarella says. "We want it to be truly revolutionary."

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn