Food Justice is Souper!
Jk. No really tho.

On December 14, Pagoda Cafe in the Seventh Ward played host to the Empty Bowls Benefit for Community Kitchen, an event organized by local potter and former (?) punk rocker Osa Atoe.  The event brought together the New Orleans artisan community with local restaurant Pagoda Cafe to benefit the Community Kitchen Collective,  "a volunteer-run food share in New Orleans that brings together folks who love to grow, gather, cook, and serve food so we may reduce food waste and abate hunger while supporting those most marginalized by capitalism and the industrial food system."

Soups were donated to the event and served to patrons for a $0-$5 donation.  Additionally, attendees had the option to receive their soup in one of many donated hand-thrown bowls, which were priced between $15 and $35.  The event was a roaring success, raising approximately $1400 for Community Kitchen.

Featured were four soups.  Two of them were vegan, including a carrot ginger soup made by Community Kitchen themselves and a vegan vichyssoise made by me!  I'm honored to have been included among the chefs.  Many thanks to Nico of Community Kitchen for helping to make the connection.

Dedicated community members and organizations came together to make the event happen:
Osa Atoe donated her own wares to the event and also collected donations from other area potters including Rachel DePauw Pottery, The London Clayworks, Miki Glasser, and Byrdie's Gallery.  Check out Osa's beautiful pottery in her Etsy shop, Pottery by Osa.
Pagoda Cafe is a community-oriented, vegan-friendly eatery in the Seventh Ward, just a few blocks from Esplanade and Broad.  Its generous owners, who are also affiliated with the fabulous Neighborhood Story Project, donated the use of their facility for the event.

Additionaly, musical entertainment was provided by DJ Karo and DJ DressUp.
More about the Community Kitchen Collective:
Similar to the Food Not Bombs group that served in Jackson Square in the years before the storm, Community Kitchen provides "free, hot meals to the houseless in the central city & downtown areas" every Tuesday from 3-4pm, in Duncan Plaza across the street from City Hall.  They also serve at 2pm at the mission in Central City.  The group also distributes "free produce to neighbors & community organizations" and "organize solidarity food catering for anti-capitalist & social justice organizations." 
Additionally, what is Empty Bowls?  Per this event's organizers:
"The Empty Bowls Project began in 1990 as an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. This event is unaffiliated with the Imagine/Render group who began the project, however we are using the Empty Bowls model to create a meaningful event here in New Orleans that ties arts & crafts in with social justice."
I look forward to future events involving all of these fantastic folks! 

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