Photo Credit: Nick Hill
Professor Nick Hill harvests corn from a test plot at the Campbell Center.
“I love Athens in the summer” is a common mantra uttered by full-time Athenians when most university students take their leave, the city quiets, and coffee shops, markets and restaurants become habitable again.
Summer in Athens is also a time when many community programs and nonprofits hold major events and fundraisers, and local eats play a big part in attracting crowds. These upcoming events will fill your belly and support the important work local organizations do in and around Athens all year.
The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) will host its orientation and kickoff on Sunday, June 11 at 4 p.m. at the East Athens Community Center, followed by a community dinner at 5 p.m. Athens Nurses Clinic director Paige Cummings says the dinner will be prepared by local chefs, using fresh fruits and vegetables.
FVRx provides a monthly prescription for free fruits and vegetables at the Athens Farmers Market to low-income Athens residents with diet-related health problems, like diabetes and high blood pressure. The program is sponsored by Wholesome Wave. “The program provides participating families $30 per family member per month,” says Cummings. “It also infuses almost $22,000 back into the local economy via the Athens Farmers Market.” Read more about the program in the Apr. 26 Locavore.
Kitchen Garden Corps returns for a fourth summer to Clarke Middle School. According to CMS AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Wick Prichard, the summer program teaches students about gardening, sustainability, do-it-yourself construction projects, farm animal care, food preservation, entrepreneurial skills, cooking and lots of eating.
Community members can literally taste the fruits of their labors every Thursday from 12–1 p.m. when students operate a “pop-up” restaurant and serve a three-course meal they make from scratch using the produce grown at the middle-school garden and UGArden. Athenians must make reservations in advance. The meal is by donation. To learn more or sign up, email email@example.com.
If you can’t make lunch but would still like to sample student-grown veggies, Prichard encourages you to attend one of the school produce markets every Monday of the summer at Clarke Middle School and every Wednesday at Hilsman Middle School from 4–6 p.m. The markets sell UGArden produce to raise money for the middle-school gardens. EBT users receive half off the produce price.
Ever pass one of UGA’s many research farms peppered along major roads outside Athens and wonder what they do? Attend the J. Phil Campbell Research and Education Center’s annual corn boil on June 27 from 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m.and find out. Come to feast on dishes featuring the site’s freshly grown corn and learn about their efforts to make traditional agriculture more profitable and sustainable. You can take a van tour of the 1,055-acre farm, too. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 15, Athens Nurses Clinic is once again hosting its annual Tomatoes @ Terrapin fundraiser beginning at 4:30 p.m. Common People Band will play as event attendees chow down on fresh sandwiches made with the heirloom tomato of their choice, courtesy of area farms, to help the clinic provide health care at no cost to the uninsured indigent population of Athens. Tickets are available on the Athens Nurses Clinic website for $25 in advance or $27 at the door.
On the same Saturday, Boutier Winery is hosting its first Festival in the Vines to benefit the Madison County Food Bank. This all-day event begins with a 5K run at 7 a.m., transitioning into a classic-car and antique show at 11 a.m. Winery owner Victor Boutier adds that the festival has a lot of kid-friendly activities, like bounce castles, train rides and a dunking booth, in addition to food and crafts.
The festival closes with country-rock band Southern Impact Band taking the stage at 7 p.m. With the exception of the race, which is $25 to enter, the event is free to the public, though canned food and money donations are encouraged. Find more information at boutierwinery.com/festival-in-the-vines.
This article has been updated to correct the date of the Campbell Center corn boil.