Dobra Tea hosts EmpTea Bowls fundraiser

Photo courtesy of Karen Scott

“It’s been my experience that only good comes from partnership,” says Diana McCall, the manager of the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden. Over the last three years, McCall has partnered with Andrew Snavely, owner of Dobra Tea Room and Vegetarian Cafe in Black Mountain. Together, along with dozens of volunteers and potters, the two organizations have hosted EmpTea Bowls, an annual event that helps raise funds for the internship program at the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden.

This year’s fundraiser will be held 3:30-7 p.m. Sunday, April 17, on the outside patio of Dobra Tea Room and Vegetarian Cafe in Black Mountain. Guests will have the chance to purchase tea bowls from four local potters: Maud Boleman of Black Mountain Studios, Andrea Freeman from Odyssey, Martha Nelson and Sadie Musick.

“The tea bowls are $15 each, which is a steal for handmade crafts,” says Karen Scott, the event organizer and volunteer. Snavely adds that each purchase comes with a “bottomless bowl of tea” for the day.

In addition to pottery, local musical act Aditi and Jay Brown will be performing. Scott describes their sound as “Appalachian, world beat music.” Vegetarian foods and gluten-free pastries from Dobra’s menu will also be available for purchase.

The event itself is derived from Empty Bowls, an international fundraiser founded in 1990, by Lisa Blackburn and art teacher John Hartom. The organization began in an effort to fight world hunger. The Dr. John Wilson Community Garden received permission to use the model’s concept on account of their role in providing food to the Black Mountain community. “Our interns are learning how to grow food, and all the food they grow is donated into the community for hunger relief,” says McCall, adding that, “Without those interns we couldn’t grow the quality or quantity that we do.”

This year’s fundraiser holds particular significance to Scott, who has been volunteering at the garden since 2006. The outcome of the event will determine whether or not the organization can bring her on as a full-time paid intern. “There’s more press this year than in the past,” Scott says. “I’m hoping that that will lead to a more successful event.”

Regardless of its financial outcome, McCall, Scott and Snavely all hope for a nice afternoon where people can come out and enjoy each other’s company. “The more that we trust our community to step up and create the community we want,” says McCall, “the better all the results are.”

EmpTea Bowls takes place 3:30-7 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at Dobra Tea, 120 Broad St., Black Mountain. Tickets are $15 for the first and $10 for each additional and include a handmade tea bowl and unlimited tea during the event. Advance tickets are available at the Carver Community Center or by calling 669-2052. For more information, contact Karen Scott at


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.