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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Sharing is caring with FixaPlate community potlucks launch
Virtual get-togethers for conversation and food
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2021 2:30 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

FixaPlate Virtual Community Potlucks combine activism for food security and community conversation.

FixaPlate Virtual Community Potlucks are bringing together to share family recipes, memories of Charlotte and dreams for the future.

Charlotte native Kathren Martin, who is also a theatre professor at Johnson C. Smith and Winthrop universities, created the concept through her theatre company, Mixed Metaphors. The virtual potluck component is underway as an extension of FixaPlate. An immersive theatrical element will be introduced this fall, including art installations and experimental performance art. The virtual potluck serves as an oral history and community connector during a time of physical distance.

Martin delivers jars filled with recipes the Thursday prior to the potluck, as well as a conversation guide. It also includes community partners who will help shape the final product. Potlucks are scheduled for April 10 at 6:30 p.m., April 11 at 5:30 p.m., April 24 at 6:30 p.m. and April 25 at 5:30 p.m. Potlucks will house six to nine households, pods or individuals.

Tickets are $33 per household and $18 per individual, with 40% of proceeds going to community organizations and leaders involved. Participating organizations include the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, Druid Hills and Little Sugar Creek Community Gardens, Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for the Arts and Civic Engagement at Queens University of Charlotte, Community Building Initiative.

Community leaders include Rickey Hall of West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, Nadine Ford of Druid Hills Community Garden and historian Tom Hanchett. Martin said the series’ success will be measured in part by the amount of funds raised.

“We want to make sure that for all community partners we measure the success on if they see an increase in donations,” she said. “If people who came to this go click on their website. If people go, volunteer with Nadine. That is part of the way if we are going to define success of this project, because to create the possibility for people to answer those questions themselves.

“Working with people like Rickey Hall, Nadine Ford and Tom Hanchett are people who have been working in the community for so long. We want to use the artistic voices to point there and to say, ‘we do not claim to know. We claim to feel. We claim to want to create a possibility to bring people together.’ Then we want to shift that focus to the people who have been working in the community for so long.”

Hall sees the series as an excellent way of addressing food insecurity he has been fighting against in Historic West End for years. He also wants people to know where their food comes from and the importance of fresh healthy food access. Because the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity, Hall wants people to understand the food system and how it used to community wealth and health.

“Access in a growing and dynamic community as Charlotte-Mecklenburg is not afforded to everyone,” he said. “The difference between accessing foods in a convenience store or a dollar store where a lot of processed foods and foods that are high in fats and salts and those types of things don’t necessarily contribute to good health, but when you have access in a market environment and/or a local urban farm, these foods contribute greatly to the health and wellness of community.

“But they are also used as an economic development tool where dollars remain in the community and actually benefit the community. It is that life cycle of food from the ground to the table or from the shelf to the table.”

Hall is an advocate for the Three Sisters Market, Charlotte’s first grocery co-op and a community meeting space on the westside. The city’s Corridors of Opportunity program committed $35,000 last fall to support interior uplifts to the market. The city committed to supporting the proof of concept phase for the next four years, at a total cost of $60,000.

The program also included a multi-year $80,000 commitment per year to the WBNC to develop the West Boulevard Merchant’s Association and expand on the Seeds for Change Farm’s youth programing.

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