All good food has a story—and that’s especially true when it comes to the organic produce grown at the Farm at Bartram’s Garden and to the gourmet meals produced by Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia. Les Dames will host a special summer garden party at the Farm at Bartram's Garden on Thursday, July 20, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. The public is invited to enjoy fresh fare and specialty drinks along with live music, a silent auction, and conversation about Philly’s food sovereignty and urban farms.
Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia chefs, including Angie Brown, Lynn Buono, Aliza Green, Kathy Gold, and Angelina Branca (who was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award) this year-are pairing with the Farm’s student interns to create the menu and prepare the dishes. Using the farm’s produce, the students and chefs will prepare the meal together in the kitchen facilities at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.
The Summer Garden Party at the Farm is organized by Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia as part of their Green Tables initiative. In 2006 Les Dames d'Escoffier launched "Green Tables" our very own farm-to-fork initiative, to showcase the work of LDEI chapters engaged in linking urban and rural farms and gardens to school, restaurant and kitchen tables. Since then, hundreds of members in most LDEI chapters have donated their time and talents to furthering these values.
The Philadelphia Chapter rallied behind the new initiative and immediately began creating programs in our community, reaching out to other local organizations who shared the same goals of promoting community health and wellbeing through gardening and agriculture efforts, care of the environment and educating children and parents about where their food comes from and why it is key to our future.
The Farm at Bartram’s Garden spans four riverfront acres along the southern edge of Bartram’s Garden, known as the city’s river garden and a National Historic Landmark. Founded in 2011, the Farm grows more than 12,000 pounds of produce each year, thanks to farm managers Chris Bolden-Newsome and Ty Holmberg and to a team of paid high school interns from John Bartram High School in Southwest Philadelphia. Along with hoeing, watering, and weeding, the students deepen their own capacities for leadership and wellness, learning about nutrition, community organizing, and traditional foodways in immigrant and African-American cultures. And the food they grow furthers these efforts, with seasonal markets, cooking classes, and tastings bringing the taste of Bartram’s Garden throughout Southwest and West Philadelphia.
This intersection of good food, sustainable agriculture, and community-building is a natural link for Les Dames d’Escoffier Philadelphia, the local chapter of an international philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverages, and hospitality.
The evening will also feature the opportunity to explore two acres of produce fields, the city’s most diverse orchard, and the solar-powered greenhouse. Farm managers Bolden-Newsome and Holmberg will also lead conversations about the city’s growing community of urban farms, as well as the significance of food justice and food sovereignty in developing neighborhoods.
That deeper work underpins the story of the evening’s delicacies. “I did not only learn of food while working [at the Farm],” said student intern Tykia. “I learned how to be responsible. I learned work ethic. And most of all I learned to be bold. I learned that there, with the endless rows of food, I could flourish like the large and beautiful sunflowers.”