Photo by Kate Medley
The Southern Foodways Alliance Skillet Brigade recently landed in Georgia's Chattahoochee Hills Country for its latest assignment: A Southern Chef's Potluck to benefit Wholesome Wave Georgia. The mission: to enjoy good food and drink provided by, and in the company of, some of the area's leading chefs at the famously gorgeous Serenbe Community. The assignment required the squad to file through a dauntingly long table of food and heap their plates with the likes of Anne Quattrano's fried okra and padron peppers, Linton Hopkin's sweet and sour eggplant, Nick Melvin's corn tomato salad, Hilary White's pickled green beans and Marie Nygren's fried chicken legs. Those who made it through the first barrage, filed through again for Steven Satterfield's field pea salad, Michele Nischan's mac & cheese, Jim N' Nick's smoked White Oak Pastures brisket and beef sliders on H&F Bread Co. parker house rolls, and Sweetgrass Dairy cheeses. Thirteen chefs in all provided more than enough food to feed an army.
Fortified by a little of Greg Best's 'Shine On' Punch, Quivera Wines and Terrapin Beer, most everyone found the courage to brave the desert line as well. Kevin Gillespie's banana pudding, Cynthia Wong's blueberry cobbler, Joe Truex's peach buckle, Shaun Doty's sweet potato meringue pie, Dan Latham's goat cheese blueberry bars, and Ford Fry's coconut cake were a few of the encounters.
Tough duty, right? Yet there was some heavy lifting involved. The brigade managed to raise nearly $20,000 for Wholesome Wave Georgia, a non-profit dedicated to making locally grown, healthy and sustainable foods available to all communities in Georgia by using private funds to double the value of SNAP and WIC benefits spent at local farmers market. Wholesome Wave Georgia, which partners with seven farmers markets statewide, is part of a national network of farmer markets and good food advocates working to ensure that everyone has access to food that is good, clean and fair. The live auction alone, led by SFA Board President and Brigadier General Angie Mosier, raised almost $10,000. According to Wholesome Wave Georgia Program Director and founder, Gina Hopkins, the funds came just in the nick of time. "We have seen a tremendous interest in our program this year. We are only half way through the season and have already doubled nearly $5000 in market sales across the state. Plus, farmers markets are popping up all over and we want to be able to support them all."
Doubling SNAP & WIC benefits means more than good food for everyone. It means more money for the local food economy. Think of it this way: Wholesome Wave Georgia is incentivizing people who have access to federal dollars to spend them with a local farmer. Every dollar WWG spends on a program market becomes two for a local farmer. Following that logic, the $20,000 raised by the brigade just became $40,000 for Georgia's Local Farmers. Keep up the good work brigades. Do-gooding can be delicious.