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Liz Neumark

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Keeping It Simple -- Simply Impossible

Posted: 07/17/2012 6:28 pm

Our fast paced world directs us to move quickly and efficiently by keeping life simple. From fast easy meals three times a day to email correspondence with abbreviations to lessen keystrokes, to the simple work mantra KISS (keep it simple stupid), we are encouraged to succeed in multi-tasking by streamlining work or personal efforts.

I get it. I aspire to simplicity -- from my personal fantasy of a perfect utilitarian work uniform consisting of T-shirts and jeans (or simple Armani black suits), to a Spartan desktop devoid of the tchockies that seem to form around the perimeter of any work space I inhabit, to an empty fridge to simplify choices instead of the one in my house that is bursting with the items I could not resist buying at the farmers market or hauling back with me from Katchkie Farm on my weekly sojourn.

Simple might be in my vocabulary, but actions speak louder than words.

So no small wonder when in my role as board member for Just Food and The Sylvia Center, I became party to the creation of a brilliant fundraising event called A City Farmer, A Chef & A Host. Let me try to summarize the essence of the evening:

1. It is 12 concurrent dinners each hosted by a prominent New Yorker in their home on July 24.
2. Each meal is being cooked by a well-known "celebrity" chef.
3. Each chef has been paired with an NYC urban farm.
4. Each urban farmer is growing something special for the dinner in collaboration with their assigned chef.
5. Each dinner also has a special guest -- a celeb co-host.

Sounds like a media slam dunk -- with a perfect round up of famous chefs (the likes of Dan Kluger, Laurent Gras, Peter Hoffman, Bill Telepan, David Waltuck, Jeremy Bearman, Andrew Carmellini and others) each passionate about local food and amazingly generous with their time and resources. Can you imagine having a dinner for 15 guests with one of these gentlemen in the kitchen? It's the ultimate foodie fantasy!

And what could be more of-the-moment than urban farms -- in a range of neighborhoods and on rooftops. Learn about Truck Farm (a mobile garden education project founded in Brooklyn), Loisaida Hydroponic Studio -- (an indoor hydroponics educational program providing a hands-on learning environment empowering residents and students to learn about food sovereignty, nutrition, and how to grow food), the Hattie Carthan Community Garden (in Bed Stuy, dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of Brooklyn while providing an intergenerational space for learning about food and the environment) or Rooftop Farm on Eagle Street in Greenpoint (three floors up, with volunteer and education programs).

Or where are there more curious urbanites seeking an opportunity to be a guest in the homes of some of the most interesting New Yorkers? I wont name drop here, but I personally cannot decide which dinner to attend as it means I will miss the action at a dozen others.

Inexplicably, I am told that it is too complicated an event to market to the media. No one really is interested in writing about it because it isn't a pre-digested package or a sound bite experience. Well, we are less than 10 days away from party night and ticket sales are good! It will be fascinating to see if success in the press is limited to the simple concepts or if our food loving public has an appetite for a multi-layered, highly collaborative idea. There are a few creative sites who cleverly told the story like Underground Eats.

In the meantime, I will keep aspiring to lead a simple life while continuing to participate in projects with layers like napoleons, lasagna or mille feuille cake! Bon Appetit!

 

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