Bounty Brings New Crop Of Funds

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The locavore life was in full swing Saturday on the streets of downtown Athens.

Table after cloth-covered table at the Bounty on the Bricks event was filled with hungry attendees who were waiting to see what Master Chef Alfonso Constriciani of Hocking College had cooked up.

"It's the dinner of the century," Constriciani shouted to the Court Street crowd over his clanging triangle that signaled the beginning of the meal.

The street party was also to bring in funds for Southeast Ohio food pantries and, with the price tag at $75 per ticket, organizers were optimistic with what they could do with the money. The event sold out within days, expanding to 360 participants.

With matching funds provided by other charity groups, organizers raised $75,000 last year and hoped to meet or exceed that total this year.

"This will allow us to buy coolers and freezers for the food, which means less spoilage and less waste," said Lili Glover, Southeast Ohio Food Bank manager.

She said the fundraiser might also help the foodbank and kitchen obtain technology needed to keep up with the day-to-day functions that go along with feeding Southeast Ohio.

The fundraiser was a great way for people who may not know much about the food bank, or know how to contribute to it, to be able to gain awareness, according to Glover.

"Even if we reach a percentage of people here, we hope they can spread the awareness we need," Glover said.

The event was local in more ways than just the charity it served. All the food served at the event was sourced locally, from farms that included Constriciani's.

"It's local foods with a modern feel," he said as he helped prepare salads for the event. "It's an aggressive meal to serve down the middle of a street."

Cowdery Farms, Vest Berries, Chesterhill Produce Auction participants and other local farmers were brought in through Rural Action, which strove to bring in food from within 30 miles of the site on which the food was eaten.

The local short ribs were braised for 48 hours, the mushrooms stuffed with an assortment of vegan fillings and the salads covered in giant slices of heirloom tomato.

"We build relationships with the growers so we can come together to do something like this," said Tom Redfern of Rural Action.

Local residents who attended the dinner were happy with the meal, and enjoyed the atmosphere and good cause they were supporting.

"It doesn't get any better than this," said Alan McMillan, who attended last year and raved to friends about it. "This is really what Athens is all about."