CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – The Homegrown Tomato Festival returns July 17. This year’s event presented by Duke’s Mayonnaise features nationally recognized speakers and guests from around the U.S.
To accommodate participants, the free festival will be virtual with the option to watch from home or take part from one of four viewing party locations.
The annual festival benefits 100 Gardens, a Charlotte-based non-profit that implements aquaponics farming programs in schools to provide hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), with additional emphasis on nutrition and business for at-risk students.
“Teaching people how to grow their own food has been my life’s mission. So, supporting 100 Gardens, a non-profit that educates our youth through gardening, is a natural fit. I’m proud to be a featured presenter this year,” says Joe Lamp’l, host and producer of the nationally syndicated PBS show, Growing a Greener World.
Founded in 2013 with the goal of creating 100 aquaponics gardens in the U.S., 100 Gardens currently operates 15 programs in three states. Within each school’s greenhouse, students learn how to grow fresh fish and vegetables using aquaponics. Staff from 100 Gardens install the system, develop lesson plans aligned with state requirements, train teachers, and organize workshops and internships for the students.
“We want to inspire young people to think differently about where their food comes from and the role we all play in preserving our environment,” adds Britt Weaver, president of 100 Gardens Board of Directors. “Our programs span from schools in the Charlotte, N.C. area to the Cabarrus Youth Development Center in Concord, N.C. to Eastern N.C. School for the Deaf in Wilson, N.C. to two new schools in Utah and beyond.”
“The Homegrown Tomato Festival is a way to learn and taste all things tomato while advancing hands-on education for local disadvantaged students,” says 100 Gardens Co-founder and Executive Director Sam Fleming. “Many of the children who take part in our programs have never had the opportunity to garden or taste fresh vegetables. It can be a life-changing experience.”
The July 17 festival is from 1-3:30 p.m. Registration is required. The waiting room will open at noon. The program includes virtual greenhouse tours, cooking demonstrations, and cocktail demonstrations.
For those who prefer to enjoy great food and drinks with others, you’re invited to attend a virtual viewing party complete with a complimentary ‘mater Sammy and goodies from Duke’s Mayonnaise at one of the following four locations:
- The Evening Muse (NoDa)
- Midwood Country Club (Plaza Midwood)
- Southern Strain Brewing (Concord)
- Aldersgate – RSVP only
“There’s no better way to celebrate summer than homegrown tomatoes and Duke’s Mayo. The Homegrown Tomato Festival supports such a unique mission, combining STEM and sustainable nutrition, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” added Eric Boonshaft, Core Geography Manager with Sauer Brands, Inc.
Useful Article: Getting Started With Aquaponics