Can a potluck spark a sustainability movement in Cincinnati? Three entrepreneurs are out to prove it can this weekend.
Good Food is a one-day, meatless potluck that is part pop-up dinner and part community gathering event. Hosted by Ohio Against the World founder Floyd Johnson, Free People International founder Joi Sears, and A Few Hungry Girls founder Ray Ball, the event will take place this Saturday, June 11 in the West End.
Organizers are encouraging participants to come hungry in order to enjoy all the food, but the larger purpose, they say, is to generate awareness and conversations around food justice, food insecurity and food waste.
Johnson and Sears first came up with the idea for the event through a shared interest in community engagement around social issues. Sears, through her work with Free People International, focused on environmental sustainability; while Floyd, international travel for his business Ohio Against the World grew into a passion for food.
“The partnership just kind of clicked,” Sears told UrbanCincy. “We’ve been conceptualizing some larger scale projects like a vegan restaurant, food truck or perhaps a cooking show, but wanted to test the waters and see how the community responded to our big ideas.”
“We both wanted to find something that we could do to make a lasting impact on our city, and to transform all of our creative energy into something productive. Good Food is the first iteration of this idea.”
Once Johnson and Sears decided on a food event, they brought on blogger Ray Ball, whose blog A Few Hungry Girls focuses on cooking accessible, healthy foods.
At Good Food, visitors will be able pick their own herbs at the water detox station or check out the living wall installation sponsored by Urban Blooms. The evening’s guest speakers will include Oliver Kroner, Cincinnati’s new Sustainability Coordinator, who will share his plan to make Cincinnati one of the greenest cities in the nation by 2036, Lily Turner from Urban Blooms, and Foundation 513’s Zach Franke.
The facilitated dialogue is part of a series of creative community engagements funded by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, which is also serving as a sponsor for the event.
In addition to installations and discussions with the guest speakers, organizers say that attendees will have an opportunity to share their own ideas for what Cincinnati should look like in 20 years through a variety of interactive activities and art-making.
Still, with all of that programming, the agenda will be fairly informal.
“The floor will be open for anyone, not just the list of speakers,” Sears said. “At the end of the day, Good Food is just like any other dinner – good food and good conversation.”
Good Food will take place on Saturday, June 11 at Foundation 513, located at 1984 Central Avenue in the West End, from 6pm to 10pm. The event is free and open to the public, though donations are accepted. Attendees are asked to bring a vegan or vegetarian dish, and the event is B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Plate). For those who are less culinarily inclined, event organizers suggest bringing a bottle of wine or beer instead.