Why We Should All Party with Just Food on Sept. 16

Just Food may not score the media attention that other non-profits dedicated to spreading the gospel of farm fresh food often do, but it’s one of the most powerful places in the city working to connect local farmers with local eaters in all those underserved corners of the city — or heck, even turn local eaters into farmers themselves.

Just Food are the folks responsible for taking the city CSA program from zero to 60 in the past decade; they help local groups raise chickens or build beehives or start up inner city community farms that produce crops in quantity, and them help them start their own farmer’s markets; and they also teach, train, advocate and lobby on behalf of local farms, local gardeners and local eaters who live in areas where there isn’t always easy access to Greenmarkets, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

All things we can get behind, and plan to, especially during our Eat Drink Local week this fall. But before then we hope to support the group that gets people eating locally every day of the year, by heading to their annual fundraiser on September 16th, appropriately called Let Us Eat Local. It’ll be at South Street Seaport, it honors Times food writer Mark Bittman, and all the best farm-friendly chefs in the city will be there, but the real reason to go is to support Just Food, an organization responsible for so many of the things we all love.

And for those of you home-cooking cheapskates who want to hit the $175 event–think food from Blue Hill, Back Forty, Jean Georges, Craft, Gramercy Tavern and nearly two dozen others–you might be in luck. Local food blogger and home cook extraordinaire Cathy Erway, also the author of The Art of Eating In, is giving away a ticket for the best vegetable recipe submitted to her site. It’ll also be published in Just Food’s annual Veggie Tipsheets book. And those recipes are being judged by a panel that includes the editors of Edible Manhattan, to boot. So: Extra points for shell beans! Hope to see you on the 16th.

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