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This past weekend Slow Food Denver and A Table In Time offered its second “Dine-Around” opportunity focused on the theme, “Celebrate Local”. Guests, most meeting for the first time, gathered at nine different houses for lively conversation and a delicious meal. Gracious hosts prepared food sourced from their gardens, farmers markets and favorite vendors. Questions posed explored our “local” disposition.

It’s lovely to enjoy a meal with friends and relish a relaxed summer evening. What’s additionally enticing, however, is Watermelon moon starsand paper copyto support a larger community just by thoughtfully curating the meal and evening. At our dinner, for example, the bison meat came from Big E Game Ranch in Evergreen, CO. ; the basil garlic goat cheese added to the salad was produced by MouCo Cheese Company. We sampled different sauerkrauts from “These Things Take Time” and exquisite pickles from The Real Dill. Vegetables were from a variety of farmers at the South Pearl Street Market. The bottles of Rose` came from a neighborhood shop, the Pearl Wine Company.

Abundance is right at our doorstep. Small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, ranchers, and farmers, benefit from our choices. Food purveyors are part of our community. Gathering together becomes not only about our lucky guests and experience at the table but also about contributing to a broader community.

Without too much effort it’s possible to “Give Back by Sitting Down”. In addition to sourcing locally, here are some ideas to expand goodwill during a mealtime gathering:

  • Create a Collection: ask guests to bring a specific item to be donated (canned goods, school supplies for needy kids, woman’s clothing etc…find a need and fill it! Many nonprofits such as There With Care, Baby Haven, The Gathering Place and Food Bank of the Rockies have active “In-Kind Donation” lists).
  • Invite special guests and give them a “commercial moment”. Small business owners, thought leaders, nonprofit professionals and other partners offer different perspective that will deepen a conversation. In return, shine a light on a guest’s passion.
  • Reach out and invite those people who for whatever reason are perhaps slightly “out of your comfort zone”. New worlds await discovery.
  • Use what you have or, if purchasing tableware, consider buying from a thrift store.

colorado-rocky-mountains-national-park-overview-of-the-lake-and-mountains copyMy enthusiasm for “Celebrating Local” has motivated me to join Slow Food Denver’s fundraising effort, “Eat Local Challenge”! In the month of September, at one meal a day or more, I will prepare and serve only local fare and products. Join me by making a donation.

Here’s hoping that “Celebrate Local” becomes everyone’s mantra. When we consider and support the abundance right in front of us, we all win!




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