Grays Ferry Food Event!

December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Grays Ferry food event we hosted was the focal point of our semester. Katrina, Sam, Alex and Izzy worked hard to plan, prepare, coordinate and facilitate an event to showcase our dedication to raising awareness about local food in the Grays Ferry neighborhood. Prior to the event, we carefully crafted a menu that offered guests a taste of what the Philadelphia local food culture has to offer. Our menu contained local, seasonal and fresh ingredients, purchased at the Clark Park farmers market, located in West Philadelphia. Our menu included: butternut squash soup, roasted rosemary potatoes, warm apple crumble and apple cider. We spent numerous hours preparing a feast that showecased fresh, natural and nutritious food. We offered this food to show guests an alternative to processed foods, and to introduce the economic and environment benefits of fresh, local food as well. Moreover, we sought to raise awareness about the Grays Ferry Farmers market and to encourage community members to keep it in their minds through the winter season. In addition, our hope was to hear the experiences community members had with the market, both positive and negative.

Our event was hosted on Wednesday December 8th at the Lower Hall of the Barrett Nabuurs Center, located at 2744 Dickinson Street. Prior to the event we flyered extensively throughout the neighborhood and made two announcements at local church congregations to spread community awareness. For the event, we came equipped with food, a homemade cooking video, two videos about sustainable agriculture, music and recipe cards as a party favor. Around a dozen members of the community came – all female. They enjoyed the food offerings, attentively watched the video entertainment and offered us insight about the community. Overall, it was a great success despite the small  number of guests present.
We had an opportunity to receive feedback from guests who expressed that there should have been better marketing for the event. Many people came to the event because they had seen a flyer at the Community Council building – not as a result of individual flyering. Additionally, we learned from personal accounts how dangerous the neighborhood hood is and how much crime inhibits foot traffic – especially in the evening. One guest in particular, Mimi, expressed how much crime has transformed the neighborhood and how much racial tension has severed community bonds. These tensions have caused racist sentiments to surface – which has resulted in a plethora of compromising implications for the community at large. At the event, the black women and the white women sat separately, with no verbal communication or acknowledgment for one another.

Ultimately, although we did not have the guest outcome we anticipated, we felt like we accomplished at lot with the people who were present. There was a great deal of enthusiasm from the guests about the Farmers Market. Moreover. Guests wanted to recreate to food served at the event for their families and showed a favorable response to the videos. They were very appreciative that we hosted the event and shared our knowledge and food with them. We raised awareness and offered knowledge about local food and the nutritional benefits that the guests can continue to spread throughout their own homes and social networks. We also had the opportunity to engage and hear the stories of local community members about the Grays Ferry Farmers market and their experiences with food access. This insight contributed to a larger understanding of community and the perspectives of those who inhabit it. We are confident that this information will benefit our research and future community initiatives.

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