Harlem’s most famous restaurants joined together last night at meat mecca Dinosaur BBQ to support and promote the Savor the Season Uptown event for Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, a non-profit which benefits low-income neighborhoods in New York City. Harvest Home helps increase access to local farm produce in “food desert” areas where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce. Leading the fundraising efforts last night was none other than world-renowned chef, Harlem advocate and Food Republic co-founder, Marcus Samuelsson.
“What we’re doing tonight is representing what we should be doing: supporting farmers markets in Harlem and a commitment to improving health with better food options. I think when bringing this community ten great restaurants in a legendary place like Dinosaur [BBQ] is exactly what we shuld be doing,” said Samuelsson. The restaurants each offered an eclectic variation on one of their signature dishes using local seasonal produce.
Harvest Home markets are all equipped for EBT food stamp and SNAP processing, which all lower or eliminate the cost of fresh food in needy communities. Nearly 200,000 New Yorkers use the program to learn about and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, and Harvest Home’s training program educates community residents on how to set up and run farmers markets and educate others on produce seasonality. Residents who complete the training receive a stipend towards building on their culinary education.
From zero dollars spent at neighborhood farmers markets to well over $100,000 at 18 markets in just a few short years, Harvest Home is a great model for other underserved communities across America to bring fresh produce to the areas where it’s needed most. It sure made Dino’s slow-smoked brisket a whole lot tastier.
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