Harvest time is approaching, and with it the Montezuma School to Farm Project’s annual Homespun Supper fundraiser.
The program, which organizes gardening and nutrition classes in all three Montezuma County school districts, will celebrate the end of its eighth year with a four-course dinner at Green Table Farm in Mancos. Starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the dinner will feature local food and drinks, as well as presentations from students and volunteers with School to Farm. It’s one of the program’s biggest fundraising events of the year, with proceeds going to support expansions like the new garden at Manaugh Elementary School.
This will be School to Farm’s fifth Homespun Supper, but the first to be held at an actual farm. Interim director Sarah Syverson said she wanted the dinner to honor not only her program, but all local farmers. Guests will be given an opportunity to sponsor a farmer of their choice at the dinner, in addition to supporting School to Farm.
“It’s a celebration of local food and the farmers who grow it,” Syverson said.
But the event will also be a grand finale of sorts for another year of School to Farm work, and Syverson said the program’s leadership has even more to celebrate than usual. At the end of 2016, after the resignation of previous School to Farm director Zoë Nelsen and a significant decline in funding, the future of the program seemed in doubt. But Syverson said an outpouring of local support allowed it to survive and grow throughout 2017. At the dinner, she will officially hand off leadership to the program’s new director, David Glenn.
“We’ll be celebrating that we made it through that rough patch, which we did with flying colors,” Syverson said. “The community gave a lot of help and support, and we wouldn’t be here without that.”
Syverson plans to continue working with School to Farm after she steps down from director duties.
A few other volunteers will also be honored at the dinner, including Travis Custer, who Syverson said put in more than 200 hours of volunteer work during the program’s “rough patch,” and Gretchen Rank, director of the Mancos Conservation District, of which School to Farm is a division. Past and present students in the program will give presentations on their experience and some upcoming projects, such as the Dolores Elementary School’s “third grade restaurant,” planned for next year. Kate Greenberg, western program director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, will speak about the importance of teaching farm skills to young people.
All the food at the dinner is being provided by local producers, including Green Table Farm and several of the School to Farm gardens. Mancos Brewing Co. and Guy Drew Vineyards will provide suggested wine and beer pairings for each dish. Syverson said the event will have a “rustic, yet elegant” atmosphere, with live classical music and agriculture-themed decorations.
Green Table Farm’s owner, Tyler Hoyt, is still in the process of applying for a high-impact and special-use permit from the county in order to host more events like this on his property. Syverson said School to Farm volunteers were given permission to hold the fundraiser there on Saturday, but Montezuma County Commissioner Larry Don Suckla and Planning Department assistant Ranette Karo said on Wednesday they were unable to confirm that claim.
Syverson said she expects about 60 to 70 people at the dinner. There were still a few tickets available on Wednesday morning, she said. Tickets are $70 each, not including voluntary donations guests can make during the event.
“It’s a high price tag, but I think it’s worthwhile,” she said.
The Homespun Supper and the Spring Hoedown, School to Farm’s other major annual fundraiser, account for between 10 and 20 percent of the program’s budget, Syverson said.