It's always good news when two of our favorite things join forces to make Miami a better place. In this case, it's local eats and local arts.
Recently, F.E.A.S.T. (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) Miami was awarded a $40,000 matching grant through the Knights Arts Challenge, and they'll be using the funds to create a series of pop-up dinners serving healthy foods and funding local art projects.
The project is headed by Meals That Heal founder and vegan chef Loren Pulitzer and her business partner, long-time local arts innovator Susan Caraballo.
A pastry chef by trade, Pulitzer found her way into healthy, wholesome eating over the years -- and eventually turned it into a catering and private chef career. She also has a line of healthy cookies dubbed Simply Sharon's.
"It's whole foods, whole vegetables, whole grains, really healthy foods as opposed to a processed, fast food way of eating. I have lupus and food has helped me be as healthy as I can be," she adds.
As far as F.E.A.S.T. Miami, it was an inspired venture between her and Caraballo.
"We wanted to figure out how to bring together art and food," Pulitzer says.
Caraballo found something of interest in New York dubbed FEAST Brooklyn, and the folks behind that project encouraged them to bring it to life in their hometown. The Miami version is similar, says Pulitzer.
"They told us, 'We want this to spread everywhere, if you like this idea please take it and promote local artists and local food in the city you're in.'"
So, the duo collaborated on writing a grant for the Knights Art Challenge and were the lucky recipients of $40K to use between now and October 31, 2016.
Already, they have six venues willing to host the dinners, which will feature healthy, locally sourced (as much as possible) menus. They plan to have approximately five dinners per year, launching the first one in March 2014.
"March and May we'll be able to source locally, but once we get into July and September the local 'sourceability' is going to be lower," Pulitzer adds.
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Diners will get to vote on the art project of their choice, and the profits from the dinner will fund said project.
"We're going to put out a call to artists," Pulitzer explains. "We'll have a different committee for each dinner that will review each of the projects. They'll pick four or five and those four or five will present their projects at the dinner. Everyone at the dinner will vote and whoever gets the most votes will reap the benefits of the dinner."
Healthy eating and a healthy arts community are two causes we'll get behind any day.