Exactly when Kristina Cash realized her connection to community is unknown, but it has always been a part of her. Cash grew up in a rural town in Southern Colorado, aware of the seasons, and the plight of the farmer, and the way everyone looked after one another. That deep seeded set of relationships inspired the Farm dinner series, where she pairs farms, chefs, beers and local food together with a group of change-makers and thought leaders also known as the Fort Collins Community. The Last one of the Season features eight local breweries, eight local chefs, and a silent auction benefitting the Growing Project. Six courses at Fossil Creek Nursery on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2019 from 5:00 PM — 9:00 PM.
“The reason I started Fortified Collaborations is I had been working with Sustainable Living Association then Be Local and learning about BALLE, Business Alliance for Local Living Economy. It reinforced my deep beliefs about the importance of relationships and connection and community. That feeling that we all have is essential to our condition of wanting to feel connected.”
Cash brings Chefs out of the kitchen, she brings farmers out of their land; she brings brewers to show off their crafts; she brings community members to sit at one long table, and she fosters relationships from sharing a meal. Kristina believes that by sharing a meal, in the place where the animals grew or the plants were seeded nourishes the soul and the physical body. It forms a relationship with the earth, but Fortified Collaborations forms relationships with everyone who is a part of the process. Kristina is investing in the community and strengthening the roots of the city.
“It’s coming back to the table; it is the slow food concept, but then there is slow money. To which was also deeply connected with the Be Local, where investors are taking their money off for Wall Street and investing it in soil and food base endeavors,” Kristina says. “It is very entrepreneurial and incubative for Farmer’s food-based businesses which is the most sustainable thing. After the sustainable living fair, I was like, how can I most deeply use my time talent and energy to make our community more sustainable.”
“I think the biggest takeaway from that is people then going to the restaurants of the chef’s that were involved. Supporting the farmers through buying a CSA or half a hog or going with your friends buying a whole hog or beef,” Cash says. “I feel like physiologically there are things that happen in our body that make you happier when you’re actually breathing in the soil that the animal was breathing in and that the food was grown at. I think it affects us on a profound level, and often there are not even words for it.”
Fortified Collaborations Farm dinners prepared 2,000 plates of food since they started. They have raised almost $100,000, $50,000 alone for The Growing Project. So beyond the collaborations, there is a profoundly moving philanthropic appeal. The dinner you are sharing is tipping off point for food cultivation in underprivileged communities. These places may not have the resources to build a farm or perhaps they are in a food desert. As rich as you feel inside when you experience the farm dinner, know that it is helping the community on an even broader scale.
“People cry at these dinners they are so moved. They laugh, they cry, they dance, they fall in love, and that is a beautiful thing to watch. It’s an emotional, very organic experience. I like to think its kind of my life’s work and it is a very precarious thing and very vulnerable.”