What: Urban Roots Tour de Farm
Where: Fair Market
The lowdown: Surrounded by beautiful, billowing ribbon installations, Urban Roots staff members, students, and supporters gathered on the Fair Market lawn to kick off the 8th annual Tour de Farm on April 28. The evening's weather was perfect, and as the scent of Star Jasmine wafted through the air — Austin's unofficial smell of spring — partygoers enjoyed a cocktail hour with one-bite appetizers, crafted with veggies from the nonprofit's East Austin farm, and Tito's and Jack Daniels cocktails made with Juiceland kale and beet juices.
The farm stand, which can be found every Saturday at the downtown SFC Farmers' Market, was also open, giving attendees the chance to peruse the fresh produce harvested by Urban Roots' youth interns and volunteers.
Inside, the Fair Market hangar was transformed into a makeshift garden party, complete with glittery string lights, mason jar drinking glasses, and farm-style florals. In addition to being the nonprofit's largest fundraiser, Tour de Farm also allows supporters to hear directly from the youth interns, including Will and Lolly, who enthusiastically welcomed the crowd and set the night's festive tone.
Dinner was served family-style, giving table mates a chance to chat over white lasagna from Juniper's Amanda Turner, smoked carrot salad from The Brewer's Table, pork and beans from La Condesa's Rick Lopez, a truly scrumptious smoked chicken from Sour Duck Market's Bryce Gilmore, carrot quinoa from Launderette's Rene Ortiz, and a stunning heritage wheat sourdough from L'Oven Bread's Abby Love. And Laura Sawicki, also of Launderette, ended the evening on a sweet note with a divine beet cake and gluten-free chocolate donuts.
Bellies full and wine glasses topped off with Infinite Monkey Theorem vinos, Urban Roots executive director and co-founder Max Elliott took to the stage to share insight into the nonprofit's newest endeavor — new 9-acre urban farm near South Austin's Dove Springs neighborhood. Elliott was then joined onstage by Qwynci and Bek, two youth interns who shared heartwarming (and tear-jerking) stories of their work at Urban Roots and the community they have found through farming.
Finally, a lively auction hosted by TK Kenney ended the evening, raising $67,615 and bringing the event total to over $180,000. As guests said their goodbyes, they did so with goodie bags filled with fresh veggies and special beet "Pop-Tarts" made especially for the occasion.
Who: Mark Cravotta, Rachel Lomos and Andy Bowman, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Denise Melanson, Charlie Melanson, Eric Weidmann, Kathleen Lucente, Chelsea Francis and Tucker Francis.