With Thanksgiving just around the corner, a dedicated group of Grinnell students is preparing to carry on a long-time Grinnell tradition – the Local Foods Thanksgiving.
This Sunday night, students, faculty, staff and local Grinnell community members will gather to enjoy a festive, home-cooked Thanksgiving feast which will feature a locally sourced, ethically sound, sustainable spread for all who wish to partake in the tasty tradition.
“We do most of our sourcing primarily from local producers,” said Lucia Tonachel ’18, one of four organizers of the event.
“There are lots of local vendors and co-ops that we use,” agreed Meta Williams ’18, another organizer.
Specifically, they get turkeys from a local farm and produce from several different farms nearby. Though the bulk of the food comes from nearby vendors and co-ops, they supplement what’s available through those channels by buying a small amount from Hy-vee and McNally’s.
One of the main goals of the event is to highlight just how possible it is to acquire local, ethical, sustainable food in Grinnell.
“Local food is really important to me, [as well as] sourcing food ethically, which [the meal] certainly does. It highlights how accessibility that can be done here,” Tonachel said.
“I think a lot of the time, people are just like, ‘Oh, that sounds so tough,’ but I think this shows … that it can be done,” Williams said. “We make a list of where you can get everything … so you could go back to them.”
The event is also a fundraiser for Mid Iowa Community Action (MICA), to which all of the proceeds from the five dollar suggested donation will go.
In addition to showing people how possible it is to eat well and raising money for a local charity, its organizers aim to make Local Foods Thanksgiving a time for community building and connection.
“I … think food and meals in general are some of the most important times for communities to come together,” Tonachel said.
“I think that it’s really nice for people who maybe can’t go home to have a Thanksgiving meal with a good community,” Williams said.
With the goal of truly fostering that community, the organizers are attempting to get Grinnellians of all backgrounds and affiliations to attend.
“Anyone and everyone is welcome. … We want a good mix of people because this is a good opportunity for us to bridge the gap between the Grinnell community and the student body,” Williams said.
If you’re interested in attending this year’s Local Foods Thanksgiving, there are several ways to do so.
The organizers gave out tickets while tabling on Monday and Tuesday, but even students who didn’t get tickets are encouraged to show up.
“First, ticket-holders will get in, and then if you just come to the event, as long as we have space and food then we’ll welcome as many people as we can,” Tonachel said.
The organizers also gave local businesses tickets to distribute to community members upon request.
If you are interested in helping organize next year’s Local Foods Thanksgiving, “you could pretty much just ask anyone who organized the event. We’re always looking for people to do stuff,” Williams said.
And although they already have a solid team of volunteers to help during the meal, they would be delighted to have more people volunteer to wash dishes afterwards.