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Real Food Share Hosting Seed To Plate Local Harvest Celebration



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Real Food Share is inviting the public to come out and dig in to locally grown fare at its first Seed to Plate Local Harvest Celebration and fundraiser at Castle Hill Farm on Saturday, October 2, from 6 to 9 pm. Real Food Share is a Newtown-based nonprofit that works to eliminate hunger by distributing locally grown food to those who need it most.

Newtown resident Sean Fitzpatrick, founder of Real Food Share, explained, “Real Food Share is founded on the thoughts and belief that everyone should have access to healthy food. We believe that in every community there are resources that, if there are coordinated efforts, we can make that happen.”

The organization currently manages the Giving Gardens at Sticks and Stones Farm, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, and as of recently, Western Connecticut State University’s Jane Goodall Permaculture Garden. It also partners with the Victory Garden in Newtown, the Newtown High School Greenery Class, and the Farmers Market at Fairfield Hills.

In doing so, Real Food Share has been able to train 15 young interns how to farm and educate them about food security issues in the region.

The group also has an initiative where it works with small farms and farmers markets in the region to collect produce that does not make the cut for being sold, but that is still high quality and nutritious.

After collecting those goods, they bring them to contracted food pantries, such as FAITH Food Pantry in Newtown, for those in need of fresh, healthy food.

“We have collected, harvested, and delivered almost 20,000 pounds of food this year and should have another 10,000 pounds before the end of the season,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are laying the groundwork for a great couple years moving forward in terms of training and preparing and including the youth in our communities to be part of this movement, and also to make sure none of the good, healthy, local food goes to waste.”

The Seed to Plate Local Harvest Celebration will give the community an opportunity to support Real Food Share for the work it has done thus far, as well as help the organization reach its goals to help more people in 2022.

Fitzpatrick explained, “In year three, we are realizing that in Newtown, Monroe, Southbury, our neighboring towns, that with coordinated effort, we could take care of the fresh food demands in these food pantries pretty capably.”

He continued, “So that pushes us into the realm of ‘How do we help out a little bit more in Danbury, Bridgeport, and areas that have higher food insecurity?’ That is what we are looking for. We are pretty fortunate in Newtown, and we want to bring our community together as strong as we can to make an impact across the region.”

Fitzpatrick hopes the event will become an annual fundraiser for Real Food Share to support even more people in need.

All Local Fun

The Seed to Plate Local Harvest Celebration will take place outdoors and feature a variety of food, live entertainment, and even a bonfire.

The local chefs for the evening will be Michael Bick of Some Things Fishy, Pam Buchler of Aquarian Catering, and Steve Forgione of Phinney’s. Each chef will have their own station where they will be creating unique small plates from Real Food Share’s local harvest.

Dessert will be from Uncle Matt’s Bakery.

Farms participating in donating produce are Shortt’s Farm, Waldingfield Farm, Daffodil Hill Farm, and Laurel Glen Farm.

Goods are also being donated by Mary Taylor Wine, New England Brewery, BD Provisions, Kori Andrea Photography, REVV Fitness Club, AnnMarie Skincare, Castle Hill Chocolate, Villarina’s Pasta Shop, Aquila’s Nest Winery, Sticks and Stones Farm, Wonderland Jam, and WrenHouse Atelier Candles.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the Amber Anchor Acoustic Band.

Fitzpatrick expressed gratitude for all those who are taking part in making the event possible, including all the members of the Real Food Share team and Newtown Savings Bank for being an event sponsor.

“There are still opportunities for sponsorships and for donating goods to be part of it,” he said.

Those interested can e-mail info@realfoodshare.org.

Tickets for the Seed to Plate Local Harvest Celebration are currently available for purchase and are $125 per person.

“All the proceeds are going to go to our two primary programs for next year, and that’s running our giving gardens and our farm surplus program… it’s going to provide infrastructure, internship scholarships, the seeds, the materials, all the expenses for those primary programs,” Fitzpatrick said.

To learn more about Real Food Share and to register for the event, visit realfoodshare.org.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Real Food Share founder Sean Fitzpatrick and board member Nancy Zychek were all smiles this summer working to grow the nonprofit’s mission to help people facing food insecurity locally receive fresh, healthy produce. —photo courtesy Sean Fitzpatrick
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