'Graze on Greens for Good' cook off

The "Graze on Greens for Good" cook off will take place at the Athens Farmers Market on April 27.

Mama always said to eat your vegetables.

On Saturday, you can eat your vegetables while voting for the best incorporation of greens at the Athens Farmers Market for Campus Kitchen’s “Graze on Greens for Good” cook off.

The contest, which will take place on Saturday, is open to anyone, and the public taste testers are the judges. The competition is still accepting anyone interested in participating. Earth Fare gift baskets are awarded to the winners in “Best All Around,” “Most Creative” and “Best Taste.”

“We just feel like it’s a good way to really reach out to the community and get them involved and learn about the food insecurity issues here in Athens,” said Nathalie Celestin, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Campus Kitchens.

She graduated from the University of Georgia in December with majors in dietetics and consumer foods.

The fundraiser is hosted by Athens Farmers Market, Earth Fare and Campus Kitchens, a national student-run group of 33 schools that work to reduce food waste in the community.

The UGA Campus Kitchens chapter focuses exclusively on serving seniors — those raising their grandchildren and homebound seniors. The group feeds 53 people every week.

“It’s a great collaboration between the market and Campus Kitchens and Earth Fare,” said Jan Kozak, the market manager of Athens Farmers Market. “The work that Campus Kitchens does in terms of getting food out to hungry people is great, and we very much see ourselves falling in line with that kind of work.”

The money raised from Saturday’s cook off was going to remain in the club, but recent events changed that.

“Originally we were going to use the money for Campus Kitchens as part of our expansion,” Celestin said. “But because of the fire last week at [Oconee Street] United Methodist Church, we decided to donate the money to Our Daily Bread, which is a part of that. We knew they could use the money more than we could.”

The “greens” requirement of the cook off is open-ended. Salads, soups, pizzas, sautés and stews are all welcome, so long as you incorporate some greens.

“We wanted to orient the event more towards local food,” Kozak said. “So we landed on greens, because at this time of year there is an amazing bounty of greens coming in from local farms. So it makes a lot of sense.”

The cook off is a great opportunity for students to cook and eat healthy greens, and raise money for a worthy cause.

“Students are definitely in a period in their lives where it’s acceptable to basically be very malleable,” Kozak said. “Now’s a good time to change eating habits for the better. We’re trying to get more students participating in the market, get them thinking about food more consciously.”

“GRAZE ON GREENS FOR GOOD” COOK OFF

WHEN: April 27, 9 a.m.-noon

WHERE: Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park

PRICE: free to compete, $5-8 to taste test

Contact: for more info and to sign up your recipe to compete, bit.ly/greens4good

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