Christina Down is the Community and Outreach Director at Fair Food. Below she tells us a little bit about the nonprofit, plus a few tips on how to spread the word of your upcoming event. Hint: communicate and make connections!
Where did your passion for “homespun foods” begin?
Fair Food was founded in 2000 by Philadelphia entrepreneur, Judy Wicks, to build a sustainable and humane local food economy by spreading the local purchasing practices of her restaurant, White Dog Cafe. Ann Karlen, founding director of Fair Food, began her work by connecting the local farms supplying the White Dog to a larger marketplace of restaurants and stores, while continually bringing in new farmers.
Fair Food started with the narrow focus of connecting farmers and chefs as a strategy for keeping more farmland in production, and now works with a broad range of buyers, as well as hundreds of producers, from small-scale diversified farmers to midsize growers who supply colleges, hospitals, and other institutions.
Over the past ten years, Fair Food has built demand for local food across all sectors of the food system. Along with our partners in the field, our work has created a paradigm shift in the public’s perception about what we eat by shining a spotlight on the men and women who grow our food.
What was the process like to turn your passion into an event?
Bill Colaveski, founder/owner of Victory Brewing approached Fair Food nine years ago and said, “I have a concept for an event, and I want the proceeds to support Fair Food!” The idea of bringing together craft beers and locally produced food was unique and exciting, and Fair Food was eager to collaborate with Victory. The Brewer’s Plate was born!
How does your team work together on the day of the event to ensure everyone stays calm and check-in goes smoothly?
Constant contact and communication. For weeks now we have been ironing out logistics, assigning responsibilities, etc. There will always be “fires” to put out, but the key is not letting the guest ever realize that. Smiles everyone, smiles!
The Brewer’s Plate has been getting a ton of buzz on Twitter. How did you start spreading the word and what do you think made the event “go viral?”
There was a concerted effort to push through social media and we decided that early on. In many ways social media is its own form of “word of mouth.” We are lucky to have supporters that come every year and know it’s one of the best eating and drinking gatherings around.
Overall, we’re lucky. The participants of The Brewer’s Plate are really amazing and enjoy the fundraiser. Fair Food is about making connections, and we hope that this event provides a great forum for not only the guests’ enjoyment, but to also connect artisans with chefs, producers with retail buyers, etc. Shake hands, have fun, bottoms up!
The Brewer’s Plate
Sunday, March 10th at 6pm
The National Constitution Center