CEDAR FALLS — Locally-sourced food will be on the menu for the fourth annual dinner hosted by the University of Northern Iowa Local Food Program.
The Local Food Dinner is Feb. 6 at the Diamond Event Center, 5307 Caraway Lane. A social hour, appetizers and cash bar is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Reservations are due Tuesday.
“We’re celebrating the past local food season, but also getting excited about the upcoming season,” says Jodie Huegerich, RD, Local Food Program manager. “It’s meant to be an evening of conversation and networking.”
Partners in the event are Cedar Falls Food Co-op and Jorgensen Plaza for Well-Being at Western Home.
Anyone interested in learning more about locally-sourced food, local food producers and buyers may attend the dinner. Tickets are $22 per person. The casual event will feature producers and Diamond Event Center chefs Jim Nadeau and Corey Nolta.
The chefs are preparing the food, and most items will be locally sourced. The menu features local beef, roasted butternut squash bisque, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, greens topped with pickled vegetables, apple pie and coffee ganache tart.
The UNI Local Food Program was founded in 1999 and works to develop a local and regional food system that positively impacts local farmers, consumers and businesses through education, collaboration and economic developed, says Huegerich.
“We work within Black Hawk County and a seven-county region around us and different coalitions who are involved and interested in local food,” she explains, including food and farm businesses, restaurants, grocery owners, food service staff, farmers market managers, emergency food organizations and other community leaders.
“They are the heart of our local food systems, and they work really hard at what they do to give us great local, fresh products. We’re the bridge that brings as many people together as possible,” Huegerich says.
The program publishes an annual local food directory, organizes farm crawls that feature local farms and producers, and helps local farms find local markets, build connections among farmers and offer educational programs. It also operates Greens to Go, a mobile produce stand that features fresh produce from local farms at affordable prices in underserved neighborhoods, a collaboration between AmeriCorps, VISTA members and Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
Dinner reservations are required by calling Huegerich at 273-7883, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, with payment by check or credit card.