Small Bites: Feasting for FEAST

Movable feast: FEAST provides free hands-on cooking classes to kids in schools and after-school programs and works to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to kids’ diets. Photo courtesy of Slow Food

Feasting for FEAST, a fundraiser for Slow Food Asheville FEAST program, takes place on Thursday, Sept. 22 at The Venue, a two-story event space on Market Street.

FEAST is an acronym for fresh, easy, affordable, sustainable and tasty — what the organization emphasizes that food can be. To that end, FEAST provides free hands-on cooking classes to kids in schools and after-school programs and works to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to kids’ diets.

One of the missions of FEAST is to communicate the impact of food on the body and brain. The program also shows how food — specifically food preparation — can improve problem solving and communication skills. This realization is dawning on child advocates and educators across the country; just last week, The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Helen Zoe Veit, an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University, in support of the revival of home economics classes in schools. "Reviving the program, and its original premises — that producing good, nutritious food is profoundly important, that it takes study and practice, and that it can and should be taught through the public school system — could help us in the fight against obesity and chronic disease today," Veit writes.

“We have made great strides with the FEAST program, but we still have a lot more work to do,” says FEAST director Kate Justen. “Feasting for FEAST is an important fundraiser for the program and will allow us to continue to improve the lives of children in Western North Carolina.” Justen will offer cooking demonstrations at the event, enabling attendees to experience FEAST first-hand.

Participating restaurants in the event include Corner Kitchen, Cúrate, West End Bakery, The Market Place, Cucina 24, Café Ello, Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana, Restaurant Solace and The Southern Kitchen and Bar. Blue Ridge Food Ventures will also donate locally produced sauces, jams and salsas. Roots Café will donate hummus.

The theme for the event is fall harvest, and Asheville’s own Farm Girl garden designs will assist with the decor. Sara Fields Jazz Trio provides the music.

The Venue is located at 21 N. Market St. The event begins at 6:30 and ends at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 prior to the event, $30 at the door and include unlimited food and drink. Tickets may be purchased at http://www.slowfoodasheville.org.

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