When in-person learning is on pause, students, families, and teachers lean into new ways of celebrating food in the community through virtual family food nights, middle school baking clubs, and drive-through garden events. These socially distanced or virtual gatherings support safe interactions, strong relationships, and deep school-community connections. Our development team is also leaning into an innovative new way to celebrate our program and raise critical funds this year, and part of our pivot is that this fundraiser doesn’t just benefit us. Introducing Edible Evening @ Home, March 2-4th, which brings the joy, magic, and good eats of Edible Evening to participants’ home gardens and kitchens!
“In normal times,” writes food writer Ian McNulty in a recent article, “community groups and nonprofits turn to restaurants constantly to support their events. With the restaurant industry facing dire struggles in the pandemic, some New Orleans events are turning that equation around, restructuring fundraisers so that they benefit the restaurants too.”
Proceeds support garden and culinary education programming at FirstLine Schools, and the meal packages are priced so that all restaurant food and labor costs are covered too. We have partnered with 20+ restaurants and chefs that have long supported ESYNOLA through Edible Evening donations and by volunteering in our classes and events to participate in the event. If we meet our goal, Edible Evening @ Home will bring $25,000 to local restaurants.
“We knew we wanted to show our appreciation for those restaurants and those people who have donated food and time and energy,” said Katie Pedroza, 8-year restaurant chair of Edible Evening. “Our program is successful because of them, these amazing restaurants, and the food culture of New Orleans that they represent.”
Meal packages start at $50. At higher giving levels, patrons also receive a basket of Presqu’ile Wines, signature cocktails from Cure, and several special ESY touches, delivered right to their doorstep. Along with the restaurant extravaganza, Edible Evening @ Home will launch a virtual Silent Auction with items from local artisans and businesses, a Plant Sale with selections from the ESYNOLA greenhouse, ESYNOLA cookbooks, and two offerings of ESYNOLA educational experiences to be enjoyed at home:
- Family Food Night @ Home Box: all the ingredients and recipes for a home-cooked garden-inspired meal, and a ticket to a virtual cooking demonstration by ESYNOLA chef educators
- Garden Class @ Home Box: all the activities and supplies to propagate a flower and herb garden at home, and recorded educational content from ESYNOLA garden educators
“We are hosting a micro Edible Evening, in spirit,” said longtime supporters Lauren Hitt and Amy Flower, who attended the event when it was in person at Samuel J. Green and Langston Hughes Academy gardens. Lauren first came to love Edible Schoolyard New Orleans and FirstLine Schools staff when she worked in the education arena, and later introduced Amy to ESYNOLA through an invitation to An Edible Evening.
“A couple of florally-clad friends will join us for an outdoor (masked) dinner with plenty of plants, music, and one dog dressed as a goat,” said Lauren and Amy, who are collaborating on a donor meal package that supports ESY’s garden and culinary education while covering local restaurant food and labor costs. “We plan to talk about ESYNOLA and FirstLine Schools with the newcomers and collectively bid on the silent auction.”