Capital Roots Breaks Records at 11th Annual ‘Autumn Evening in the Garden’
Capital Roots held their 11th annual ‘Autumn Evening in the Garden’ gala last month, breaking fundraising, attendee and participant records in the process. The event was held on September 28 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy.
The local non-profit, which works to provide access to fresh food and green spaces for all in the Capital Region, hosted more than 400 people at the strolling supper this year. Together with countless regional corporate sponsors, attendees helped the organization raise more than $100,000 in support of their food access programs.
While guests mingled, they enjoyed unique culinary samples from 22 of the region’s top chefs and bakers. All dishes were created using seasonal ingredients donated by 44 farmers and producers from the region’s 11-county foodshed. Many of the farmers were also in attendance, allowing guests and chefs to talk directly with those who are raising our area’s food. Eleven beverage purveyors were on-hand, serving samples of local wine, beer, spirits and coffee, while the Neil Brown Jazz Quartet set the mood for the evening with their music.
“We are eager to see how this event will evolve year to year,” said Amy Klein, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year we were provided a variety of dishes quite like we’ve never seen before, from unique combinations of products to cultural dishes with distinct flavors. The participants truly outdid themselves and our guests have not been able to stop talking about it.”
Before the night was over, restaurateur (and local celebrity auctioneer) LeGrande Serras helped the organization raise an additional $52,000 during the gala’s live auction in support of the 10th anniversary of Capital Roots’ Veggie Mobile, their produce aisle on wheels. The funding will go to support the purchase of a replacement mobile market to ensure the program is here to serve the community for many more years to come.
Kimberly Sanger Jones, a long-time supporter of the organization and co-chair of the Autumn Evening planning committee, said she was awestruck by the generosity during this portion of the event.
“I was so overwhelmed by the gifts that came in and because of that kindness we are able to purchase this vital replacement for our mobile market,” she said. “If the Veggie Mobile is not on the road each day at its scheduled stops, there are many residents in our neighborhoods who would have no other place to go for fresh food. We hope our donors knows how much their gifts mean.”
Klein said she was additionally thrilled with the connections made between farmers and chefs.
“Some chefs visited their farm partners in preparation for the event. Many incorporated the farm materials and product into their table displays. We’ve even heard that some of the event partnerships have now turned into businesses partnerships,” she said. “These are the type of connections we hope every year to facilitate with this event. Our farmers are vital to our region. We are grateful they are willing to participate and are pleased to showcase their product to our neighbors.”
Proceeds from the event benefit the organization’s 52 Community Gardens, the Veggie Mobile®, the Produce Project, Healthy Stores, Squash Hunger and all of Capital Roots’ other programs.