“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.