Mineral Wells Area News

Local Farm to Table Event Raises Funds for Water Harvesting at the Community Garden

Local Farm to Table Event Raises Funds for Water Harvesting at the Community Garden
April 24
12:13 2023

By Amy Bearden/ Mineral Wells Area News

Guests spent the evening of Earth Day enjoying a family style Farm to Table meal. Photo By Krista Sanders

Earth Day was celebrated across the globe last weekend and local volunteers spent months planning a celebration to honor the planet’s special day by creating the first ever event featuring a Farm to Table meal in Mineral Wells.

Let’s Grow Crazy, a local nonprofit organization that provides community gardening space within the city as well as a local Farmer’s Market in Mineral Wells, held an extraordinary event in The Crazy Water Hotel with over 100 Earth friendly people gathering for a meal that was sourced from local farms less than 80 miles from the community. Considering the average piece of produce travels 1500 miles before touching your plate, the undertaking was quite an accomplishment.

Salads and side dishes were served prior to guests chosen protein which were prepared by Natty Flats

The event raised over $20,000 for LGC to purchase and install a water captivation system for the community garden beds, and because of recent outdoor watering restrictions, the fundraiser’s timing and success were imperative.

Farm to Table Fundraiser Dinner Video

“With the impeding drought, this couldn’t have come at a better time and we will be installing a water harvesting system for the community garden as soon as possible, “ said LGC Program Coordinator Tai Saylor.

Saylor, who organized the event along side LGC Events Coordinator Sarah Patterson, said she felt the event was a great accomplishment.

“2023’s Earth Day Farm to Table Dinner was a complete success, especially when we consider that not a single volunteer who planned and produced this service has ever done this before! We are complete amateurs but magical things happen when we trust our community and work together,” said Saylor.

Tai Saylor helping in the kitchen

Saylor said when they began planning the event, their goal was to source 50% of the meal from local farms, meaning it’s grown or raised within 100 miles.

“We blew that out of the water and 87% of the food we served on Earth Day was grown and raised within 80 miles of Mineral Wells,” she said.

“In addition, events typically produce a ton of waste which is not sustainable or earth friendly. Let’s Grow Crazy only threw away two large trash bags of waste. The food scraps went to feed livestock, the dishes were borrowed from families, and the cutlery was 100% compostable! We are so proud to practice sustainable event management and encourage our whole community to consider these practices for their events.”

Tables lined the Crazy Water ballroom with guests celebrating the Earth and raising awareness for local food systems Photo By Amy Bearden

The Farm to Table menu included a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian along with a multitude of side dishes. Local restaurants, Natty Flats and Fresh & Fruity, volunteered to help prepare the meal.

Amanda Chavira, owner of Fresh and Fruity, opened her professional kitchen, located less than a block away from the event to help create the meal.

“We were honored to be part of the Earth Day celebration that was hosted by Let’s Grow Crazy. It was over 500 pounds picked up, prepped and prepared. The guest serviced themselves out of family borrowed dishes in true Farm to Table style,” Chavira said on social media.

Guests enjoyed a salad to start with local greens and a dressing made by Let’s Grow Crazy Volunteer Amy Ringo Lane.

As the evening kicked off with entertainment from hometown entertainer Kidd Callahan and The Beat Dance Factory dancers, baskets of bread made from local artisans, along with bowls of creamy herb butter scattered around the tables fed event goers until a parade of young volunteers from local organizations began to deliver large family style bowls of mixed greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes and radishes drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette to the tables for the first course.

Volunteers delivered dishes to guests

Following the salad, fresh carrots, beets with feta cheese, roasted cheesy asparagus, buttered radishes and mashed sweet potatoes were delivered to the tables and filled up the biodegradable paper plates and eventually the bellies of fundraiser participants. After the assortment of side dishes a main courses of smoked chicken, beef short ribs and faux “crab cakes” made of mushrooms were delivered. The meal was completed by a strawberry cobbler and homemade ice cream for dessert.

The evening came to a close with the end of the silent auction and then Let’s Grow Crazy volunteers broke out into an impromptu conga line encircling the room, highlighting the spirit of the people joining together to organize and produce the event. They knocked the inaugural LGC Farm to Table Earth Day event out of the park and are already thinking about the next year.

“I thought I would be dead beat the day after but on the contrary I’m pumped and already dreaming and scheming for next year! This will definitely happen again,” claimed Saylor the following day.

Guests dined family style from dishes donated by LGC Volunteers

From the Author: Worth Noting

I knew immediately I wanted to attend this Farm to Table event when I heard it was happening. I enjoyed the evening with my two daughters and It’s no secret to them that I have a love affair with LGC and this event just gave proof why.

The heart and soul of these volunteers is what we need more of in this community. Their passion is contagious.The event was a home run and there were so many notable things but I think the use of the volunteer’s family dishes to serve the meal in was a classic touch and added to the love in the room. I also walked away from the event with a 1-year supply of local farmed raised eggs from the silent auction.

I just thought it needed to be mentioned that MWAN is a huge supporter of Let’s Grow Crazy. I am in my second growing season as a community gardening member. The ideals behind this group are aligned with my core values and the people and family I’ve made since joining this organization have been a Godsend.

They are building community and educating us on food systems and sustainability. I can’t wait to see where and what this community garden and organization grows into the next few years. I especially can’t wait to sell my lettuce and tomatoes I’ve been growing this season at future Farmers Markets.

And in case you were wondering, there are still a few garden beds available this season if you are interested in growing your own food. Email me at news@mwareanews.com and we can get you in touch with LGC.

Community Garden Bed