SEEDS 6th Annual Pie Social and Skill Share 6/1

The DIG team

SEEDS 6th Annual Pie Social and Skill Share is June 1st. This terrific Durham tradition typically features over 100 pies for attendees to sample for a $10 suggested donation. SEEDS also hosts a silent Skillshare Auction during the Pie Social where friends and neighbors can bid on a panoply of skills they might be interested in learning. This year the options run the gamut from beekeeping to an edible plants and medicine walk to ice cream making with The Parlour and yoga classes with Wild Heart Yoga.

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The best part about the Pie Social amazingly enough is not the pie!

It is the beneficiaries and the stories behind them. The Pie Social allows SEEDS among its many other beneficent endeavours to fund DIG. DIG is an acronym for Durham Inner-City Gardeners. From its east Durham location at #706 Gilbert Street just north of GoldenBelt, SEEDS empowers teens by teaching organic gardening, sound business practices, healthy food choices and food security values.

Sounds like a mouthful?

Local students are paid a stipend to grow and cultivate fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and mushrooms, which they sell at the Durham Farmer’s Market and make available to members of the community. The stipend part is important because it means for a youth instead having to choose between a job and volunteering at SEEDS, can choose to work at SEEDS. This money is frequently important to their families and means instead of sacrificing an amazing opportunity, they are afforded one. The funds come from two sources; the garden vegetables sold at market and donations. This means you! And the Pie Social.

DIG deliberately aims through its application process to select students who might not otherwise have these kind of opportunities. They partner with Durham Schools’ guidance counselors and garden clubs. The DIG team has a 1/4 acre market garden where they learn sustainable practices like companion planting. They also learn from people like Leslie Simonds (program guide and facilitator) why sustainable agricultural practices are important and how they contribute to a healthy environment.

But the SEEDS team doesn’t stop there. As anyone who has joined a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) can attest, sometimes even a terrific haul of raw veggies can be intimidating to the neophyte looking to transform that bounty into tasty meals.

SEEDS has got the DIG kids covered beautifully in this regard. In their recently renovated building they have a terrific kitchen. (The kitchen is deliberately practical and mimics a home kitchen, rather than a commercial kitchen.) Every Saturday the DIG team prepares a meal together with things they have grown with their own hands. Anecdotal evidence has shown kids are much more likely to try something they have grown and much more likely to like it than something that came from the meglo-mart. And no wonder, as anyone who grows or buys from a local farmer or garden can attest these veggies taste nothing like those that have been trucked across country or in from Mexico in a half-ripened state of suspended animation and plunked down under fluorescent lights in a chain grocery store.

In the Fall SEEDS youth from DIG and other volunteers are encouraged to participate in a “Healthy Eat-a-Thon.” It is a thirty day challenge to make mindful eating decisions. SEEDS Director Emily Egge told me a heart-warming story about one of last year’s DIG team members who participated in the challenge. Youth collect pledges from supporters who promise to donate to SEEDS if the individual student can stay on the gastronomic straight and narrow.

Kaleb’s family was anything but supportive. Egge told me they would actively work to undermine him, bringing him to McDonald’s and telling him if that he didn’t want that, he could go hungry. It is this very mindset that Michelle Obama and those who make us conscious of concepts like urban Food Deserts are pushing back against. Obesity is an epidemic in America. Astonishingly, Kaleb with SEEDS support held strong in his 30 day “Healthy Eat-a-Thon.” He lost 15-20lbs and to this day prefers fresh veggies to sodden fast food fries.

You can make outcomes like this happen again!

Can you donate a pie?

If you want to showcase your baking skills, you or your establishment could enter the 6th Annual Pie Social contest, which comes with a $500 first prize in addition to Durham city-wide bragging rights.

Not a baker, donate something to the Skill Share Auction, which help funds the DIG crew.

At the Clarion Content, we dig what SEEDS is up to…

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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