Chefs for Change dinner rallies support for a homeless shelter rooftop garden

Brenda Langton of Spoonriver will host the event
Brenda Langton of Spoonriver will host the event

Once a month, People Serving People, Minnesota's largest and most comprehensive family-focused shelter, hosts a Chefs for Change dinner event, in which a local executive chef hosts a cooking demonstration and elegant dinner party to raise funds for the shelter.

This month's event on Monday, March 21, is notable in that it has a more specific focus--rallying support for a rooftop garden due to open at the shelter this summer. It will feature lively discussion about urban farming and sustainable food production, in addition to garden hors d'oeuvres and wine.

Spoonriver founder and executive chef Brenda Langton will host the event, and guests will experience her unique culinary approach both at the dinner and in the recipes provided for at-home experimenting. Discussion, led by Nick Schneider, PSP garden project manager, and Lindsay Rebhan of Ecological Gardens, will focus on the beneficial effects of local, sustainable farming for at-risk families.

People Serving People will begin work on the garden in May. It will include herbs and vegetables that can be used right in its industrial kitchen the day they are harvested to create fresh, vibrant meals for the families staying with them. Mary Ites, event coordinator for PSP, says, "Scott Pampuch of the Corner Table suggested this to us a couple years ago, and we started working with some of his contacts to make it a reality." They are the first shelter in the area to attempt a rooftop garden, though they did look at the Hennepin County Medical Center, which also has one, for a little inspiration.

"We think this is a good way to get the people staying in the shelter involved in healthier eating habits, and a great education for the kids," says Ites. "For many of them, it will be their first experience with a garden. Some have never lived in a house, let alone a house with a garden."

The intimate setting seats 30 to 40 guests, and 100% of the proceeds benefit People Serving People. The suggested per-person donation is $75. A tour of the shelter begins at 6:30, and the dinner and discussion take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available on People Serving People's website.

Chefs for Change Rooftop Garden Kick Off Featuring Spoonriver Monday, March 21, 6:30 - 9 p.m. People Serving People 614 S. Third Street, Minneapolis 612.277.0246

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