The Village Feast is a low-waste event, put on in Davis, California, by Davis Farm to School. The nonprofit benefits Les Dames D’Escoffier, Sacramento, and Davis Farm to School.
Both organizations work in support of early and continued education around food and agriculture. The Dames provide scholarships to women in food, wine, and agriculture, while Davis Farm to School provides garden grants, farm field trips and support for farm-fresh food in the schools. All proceeds from The Village Feast go toward these missions.
Presented as a Grand Aioli communal meal, a traditional late summer feast of Provence, France, the feast celebrates the Sacramento region’s Farm to Fork month. This year’s family style meal served around 350 people.
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Long tables stretched through Central Park in Davis, where Yolo County wines, fresh baguettes, and bowls of salt adorned the table. The meal kicked off with a short talk by the different board members and stake holders. The first course began with platters of heirloom tomatoes drizzled with local olive oil. Steamed and grilled end-of-season vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and bowls of garlic-scented aïoli soon followed. A main course of grilled lamb follows, with a final course of galette filled with local pears.
One aspect of The Village Feast focuses on low-waste, where patrons are required to bring their own table settings. Multiple plates, silverware, water glasses, and napkins are all required. Some people brought a few more things, some brought a little less. All in all, each person attending this event had at least their own plate and silverware. The organizers provided wine glasses and serving plates for the food.
I had never attended a large event where bringing your own place setting was required. I was fascinated. This entire concept was incredible. I spent a good part of the beginning of the Feast walking around the tables, checking out what people had brought and discussed how they interpreted what makes for an appropriate place setting.
As a first-time plate-bringer to an event of this caliber, I discovered a few things to impart upon future plate-bringers.
- Review the menu first to determine what you need. I brought a bowl and too many spoons. I could have brought a third plate for dessert.
- Bring a reusable bag or other contraption to place your dirty dishes in. You’re going to have to wait until you get home before you can clean them. Oh, and if you are using reusable bags to wrap each plate, like I did – don’t forget to wash them in your washing machine immediately after.
- Consider bringing your own to-go container of glass or plastic or whatever for leftovers. I didn’t think about this, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I wasn’t sure how to deal with some of my ill-planned food waste.
After experiencing an event where each attendee brings their own place setting, I was enamored. I would love to see more events like this. The creativity and selection is fun to peruse, and it adds a fun element to the whole idea of sharing a meal with strangers.
Zero waste and low waste concepts are quickly gaining traction, and this is one successful take on reducing your person footprint in the world.
In fact, next time you have a dinner party with friends, tell them to bring their own place setting.
These are a handful of the wonderful selections of place settings I platespotted at the beginning of the event.
While the event is over for 2019, follow the two nonprofits for info on future endeavors and next year’s Village Feast.
Posted on the Davis Farm to School Facebook page, which included the many contributors to making this event a success:
Thank you to everyone who made this weekend’s #davisvillagefeast (benefitting @davisfarmtoschool and @lesdamessac) a huge success! 🎉
Thank you to @buckhorn_catering @ministerofmeat @fermented_chill @emariec for preparing such a delicious meal 🍽
Thank you to @cobramestateusa @superiorfarms @chocfishcoffee @bellabrucafe @zspecialtyfood @cafigs @hemlycider @threeladiescafe @uppercrustbaking @greatbearvineyards @heringerestates @senderswines @matchbookwines @boglevineyards @berryessagapvineyards @turkovichwines @farmfreshtoyou @rancho_gordo @a_grand_affair_davis and many many more for such a lovely afternoon ✨
Thank you to the event co-chairs @annevans1234 @rachaellikesfood @elisebauer @deemanator for planning and executing a meal for 352 of our closest friends 🤣