NORTH LIMA - Eight local chefs will capture the flavors of the season at Harvest of Hope 2012, to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 4 at Common Ground Church, 2310 W. South Range Road. Local, seasonal food will be featured in this fund-raising event for Goodness Grows, the congregation's agricultural outreach organization.
Goodness Grows works through on-site growing areas in the Youngstown area to fulfill its mission: to seek transformation of individuals and neighborhoods through agriculture that gives life. Its pilot "new farmer" apprenticeship program uses services of the Ohio State University Extension service and a unique task-based course on production, business and marketing created by an OSU adult-ed expert.
"Besides enjoying a wonderful night of local food and gift auctions, guests to Harvest of Hope 2012 will hear from participants in our work," said Greg Bowman, executive director. "We were amazed to raise nearly $18,000 at our initial event last year, and we're targeting $22,000 this year to expand our impact."
Proceeds enabled a partnership with the Northeast Homeowners Association to lay the groundwork for the new garden at East High School and the supervised horticultural works skills training done with participants from Turning Point Residential of Struthers, which serves special needs adults. Students from Leetonia High School's special needs class continue their work-skills learning also.
Goodness Grows staff used grants from the US Department of Agriculture to develop food links between local farms and school cafeterias, and from the OSU-Agro-ecosystems Management Program to taste-test local food menu items this summer with younger students. Proceeds will pay for new farm-training efforts for socially disadvantaged persons, returning two large greenhouse to year-round productivity, and development of a new service-learning project for older students exploring areas of food justice and sustainable agriculture in the urban and rural areas of the Mahoning Valley.
Admission is by reservation only, at $15 per person ($25 with guest), with checks sent payable to Goodness Grows at 2310 W. South Range Road, North Lima Ohio 44452 (the site of the former Mellinger's Nursery garden center). For information call 330-549-9408. There is paved, barrier-free access to indoor and outdoor event venues. Live music will be provided by Scammin' Jones (Jeff Crouse and friends). More details are on Facebook. - Submitted material