F.A.R.M. Cafe, Boone’s donate-what-you-can community cafe, has been feeding all regardless of their ability to pay for 5 years. The community cafe opened in May of 2012 at its location on King Street in the former Boone Drug lunch counter. To commemorate this anniversary, each day during the week of May 8-12 F.A.R.M. Cafe will celebrate its relationships with various parts of the High Country community.
Each day there will be special foods, activities, and opportunities to recognize persons who have made the past 5 years possible. Monday F.A.R.M. Cafe will celebrate volunteers, on Tuesday King Street Neighbors will be thanked, on Wednesday the partnership with Appalachian State University will be celebrated as a First Year Seminar class will ‘Buy Boone Lunch’, on Thursday Keller Williams High Country Realty will sponsor the day as the Cafe’s important partnership with local businesses is celebrated, and finally on Friday the very important partnership with local farmers will be commemorated with a 100% local lunch.
On Monday May 8 F.A.R.M. Café volunteers will be celebrated. Volunteers who have served over 25 hours will be presented a special commemorative t-shirt provided by M-Prints. These shirts, posters, and other commemorative items will be on sale at the Cafe throughout the week. Each day an average of 20 hours of volunteer time is contributed to the F.A.R.M. Cafe community. Volunteers serve the food, wash the dishes, set-up and break-down the restaurant, and warmly greet guests. “Without the many hundreds of volunteers who have served at F.A.R.M. Cafe the donate-what-you-can model would not be sustainable.” said Tommy Brown, Volunteer Coordinator at the Cafe, “F.A.R.M. Cafe is one of the largest volunteer organization in the community. Our records indicate that since we opened over 20,000 volunteer hours have contributed time and effort to help feed all in this community. That is certainly something to celebrate!”
Then on Tuesday May 9, F.A.R.M. Cafe will celebrate its King Street (downtown) Neighbors including businesses and individuals who make downtown such a special place. On this day, anyone who lives or works downtown will be welcome to receive a commemorative post-card or sticker (donated by our friends at Creative Printing) which celebrates the 5 years that F.A.R.M. Cafe has been in business downtown. There will also be a special after-hours reception in the Cafe for all downtown businesses and friends who have welcomed and supported this unique restaurant with its very different model of operation.
Next on Wednesday May 10 the Cafe’s partnership with Appalachian State University will be celebrated. The meal and operation expenses for this day are being funded by a First Year Seminar class taught by Tiffany Christian entitled “Who Am I and Why Am I Here”. The class focuses on helping students develop a lifestyle of everyday activism by examining their passions, values and how they can use these to fuel social change. In addition to individual service hours, the class raised $500 to ‘Buy Boone Lunch” at F.A.R.M. Cafe and additional funds which were donated to Hospitality House. In addition to providing funding for the day which allows all additional donations for the meals to be used in support of F.A.R.M. Cafe’s mission of feeding all regardless of means, the members of the class will be serving as volunteers for the day.
Later the same day the ASU F.A.R.M. Cafe Student Club which spreads the word about the Cafe and issues of food insecurity on campus will be hosting a student forum at 4 PM at F.A.R.M. Cafe. Commenting on the relationship between F.A.R.M. Cafe and Appalachian State University Renee Boughman, Executive Chef of the Cafe said, “Since we began dreaming of a community cafe in Boone over 8 years ago we knew that creating partnerships with App State students, faculty, organizations, and classes would be critical in the success of what became F.A.R.M. Cafe. Simply said, without App State I am not sure that F.A.R.M. Cafe would or could exist in Boone.”
Thursday May 11 brings a very special celebration of the Business Partnerships which have helped F.A.R.M. Cafe succeed. Many businesses participate and support F.A.R.M. Cafe’s mission in the community through sponsorship of fund raising events and special days such as the very successful series of ‘Buy Boone Lunch’ days. Keller Williams High Country Realty agents are stepping forward as a part of their RED Day to sponsor Thursday’s meal and volunteer for the day. Special music will be provided by Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting contest finalist Alexa Rose. Just as on a ‘Buy Boone Lunch’ day all the additional donations for meals will be used by F.A.R.M. Cafe to directly provide meals for those experiencing food insecurity.
Keller Williams High Country Realty, an organization of over forty-eight realtors in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, will close their offices and spend the day working at F.A.R.M. Cafe as part of Keller Williams International RED Day. RED Day, which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate, is Keller Williams Realty’s annual day of service. Each year on the second Thursday of May, Keller Williams associates worldwide celebrate the day away from their businesses serving worthy organizations and causes in their communities. There will be over 130,000 KW agents working on the same day. “It is so important to ‘Give where we live’ and contribute to the communities we serve,” states Keller Williams REALTOR and local RED Day organizer Leslie Eason, “FARM Café is a wonderful example of an organization that also gives back to the community.”
Keller Williams High Country has been an enthusiastic office in support of RED Days in the past, sometimes working for months in the planning of these events. Past organizations supported have included Habitat for Humanity, the local Humane Societies and the Hunger and Health Coalition. To learn more about Keller Williams RED Day visit www.kw.com/kw/redday. To connect with a Keller Williams High Country realtor, please visit http://www.kwhighcountry.com/ and follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kellerwilliams.highcountry/
To wrap up this special anniversary week on Friday May 12, F.A.R.M. Cafe will celebrate the local farmers who cultivate so much of the food which is served at the Cafe. On this day 100% of the menu (or as close as possible) will be produced with local ingredients. Local farmers will also be welcomed and provided a meal provided by the Cafe. F.A.R.M. Cafe strives daily to utilize as much locally grown and produced food as is seasonally and financially feasible. The partnership with local producers is critical to the success of F.A.R.M. Cafe over the past 5 years. “It is a critical part of its mission of fighting food insecurity to support and purchase the produce and products which farmers grow locally.” said Boughman. F.A.R.M. Cafe purchases food through High Country Community Supported Agriculture, New Life Farms, North Fork Farms, and many others. “We love serving local!” said Brown.
F.A.R.M. Cafe states that it offers REAL.GOOD.FOOD. and REAL.GOOD.COMMUNITY. During the week of May 8-12 it is hoped that everyone in the High Country Community that has been a part of making this community cafe happen during the past 5 years will come to F.A.R.M. Cafe one or several days during this week to have lunch and celebrate this unique and special restaurant in downtown Boone. For further information on this week of celebration and for daily menus please see visit the website at Farmcafe.org.
F.A.R.M. Café is a non-profit, pay-what-you-can community kitchen that builds a healthy and inclusive community. It provides high quality and delicious meals produced from local sources, when available, served in a restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means. The Cafe is open for lunch Monday-Friday 11 AM to 2 PM. For more information on F.A.R.M. Cafe and its mission to fight food insecurity in the High Country please visit the website at Farmcafe.org.