Within weeks of accepting the Executive Director role at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market in 2009, Lauren Carey witnessed one torrential downpour after another. The intense rain wreaked havoc on farmland across Georgia, wiping out crops, and destroying the livelihood of farmers.
Led by Slow Food Atlanta, the local food community immediately went into what Carey called “solutions mode,” raising over $100,000 to support farmers who were all of a sudden out of an income and in desperate need of support to resurrect farmland in preparation for the next season and beyond.
Fast-forward to Jan. 2015, Carey and Darla Synnestvedt, the Director Catering and Events at Farm Burger, sipped on a few cold beers and put their heads together to put a plan in place for the next natural disaster.
“We said, ‘We’d really like to have a fundraiser and be proactive about the disasters that we know will come,’” said Carey. “It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.’”
That conversation evolved into a nonprofit called The Farmer Fund that will launch on Monday, Aug. 10 at The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305 with a unique way to raise money.
The Farmer Fund, which aims to provide aid to farmers in the wake of sudden natural disasters, secured nearly two dozen of Atlanta’s most popular male and female chefs for a 2016 photo calendar. The chefs swap their everyday, white chef coats and don nothing more than a Hedley & Bennett apron (yes, you read that right) as they join their farmer friends for a calendar shoot at Decimal Place Farm.
Photographer Stacey Bode volunteered her services to shoot the apron-clad chefs alongside the local farmers that the calendar proceeds will benefit. The limited-release calendar sells for $20 and will be available at the launch party.
Alongside 12 brewery and restaurant partners, live music, and a live auction of the photo outtakes, the launch event will be a celebration of the people who make and create the local food scene in Atlanta. Beyond the food, drinks and good times, the launch event will be the first time anyone sees the photos–even the chefs and farmers!
Tickets are $65 and include a calendar. Tickets are available at http://thefarmerfundlaunch.brownpapertickets.com/
The response from the farmers and chefs was phenomenal, according to Carey, who had to expand the calendar to 13 months just to include everyone who wanted to participate in the project.
“While everything is family friendly and tasteful, it is a little bit cheeky and fun, and it’s a nod to the special relationship that our farmers and chefs have in our incredible local food community,” said Carey.
Best of all, the event is being held on a Monday so the chefs and farmers can attend. None of the folks who participated in the project will be serving or cooking food, giving everyone a chance to mingle and celebrate the incredible effort put forth every growing season.
Georgia Organics would like to salute the effort of Carey and Synnestvedt for such a necessary and vital cause to support our farmers across the state. Following the event, The Farmer Fund will release criteria to apply for funds once they know how much money is available.
We look forward to seeing you on Aug. 10 and supporting The Farmer Fund.