‘Farm to Every Fork’ dinner to help homeless

When it comes to Sacramento’s upcoming Farm-to-Fork Celebration, Slow Food Sacramento and other local organizations want to make sure less fortunate diners have a seat at the communal table.

“Farm to Every Fork,” among the events that will kick off September’s celebration, will be a dinner like no other. Half of the 150 guests at the Sept. 13 dinner will be regular clients of local social services. Most of these guests are homeless and face hunger issues on a daily basis.

“We think this will be an exciting addition to Farm to Fork Week,” said Slow Food’s Charity Kenyon. “It’s a celebration of people who are doing really good work to address hunger in our community.”

First of its kind in California, this sit-down dinner — affectionately nicknamed “Fork It!” by organizers — focuses on solving hunger issues by bringing people from very different backgrounds together for a special meal. Each $150 ticket covers dinner for two: the patron and a guest invited by organizers.

“We’ve been working on all kinds of things to make people feel comfortable and not isolated,” Kenyon said. “It will be set up as tables of eight, each with four patrons and four invited guests. The dinner will be served family style. At its core, it’s a very Slow Food idea. Get people around a table, sharing and enjoying food together, and you can create bonds.

Slow Food Sacramento partnered with Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, the River City Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Sacramento Food Not Bombs and the Fund for Urban Gardening to organize the dinner, which will be held at Sacramento’s Trinity Cathedral.

“Trinity has an amazing space and a long history of working with the homeless and the hungry,” Kenyon said. “It has a wonderful kitchen and big courtyard, perfect for this event.”

A network of local farms will provide the ingredients. Acclaimed Sacramento chefs Michael Thiemann and Matt Masera of Mother restaurant and Empress Tavern will handle the cooking duties and menu.

“People love the idea,” Kenyon said. “We’re not trying to create a new organization, but trying to build a coalition and commitment to work together. You’re not just getting a good dinner and meeting interesting people but working for the future.”

Proceeds will go towards homeless and food-scarcity services. The special guest list will be drawn up by the participating organizations.

“Our guests also are volunteers; they’re doers,” Kenyon said. “They have good stories to tell and understand the importance of local, good food.”

Much attention was paid recently to the rapid sell out of the Farm-to-Fork Celebration’s $175-a-plate dinner on Tower Bridge, Kenyon noted. All 600 tickets for that Sept. 28 gala were sold in less than five minutes.

Kenyon expects “Farm to Every Fork” to sell out, too.

“This is an event that will come back every year and grow,” Kenyon said, “just like the dinner on the Tower Bridge.”