Local Matters Harvest Ball will be virtual participatory event

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
Michelle Moskowitz Brown is executive director of Local Matters, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating healthy communities through food education, access and advocacy. The annual Harvest Ball, a popular fundraiser for Local Matters, will be a virtual interactive event this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Chef Carnell Willoughby wants to elevate palates with a modern take on ceviche – but without the seafood.

The founder of Willowbeez SoulVeg catering will offer the appetizer as part of Harvest Ball at Home, a fundraiser for Local Matters, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “create healthy communities through food education, access and advocacy,” according to its website.

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the annual Harvest Ball gala fundraiser has been transformed into a virtual interactive dinner-party event Sept. 25. It will include a presentation by guest chef and cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz and a conversation with Kara Young, who has a doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and will speak about food access, food justice and racial justice.

Willoughby said he would be using his own brand of spices for the ceviche, which will feature hearts of palm in place of seafood.

He will provide the recipe, ingredients and a short video instruction in the Harvest Ball’s general-admission package.

Willoughby, 51, said he has been a vegetarian and vegan for more than 20 years. He said he adopted the diets at the instruction of his neighbor, Frank Allen Hinkle, in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood.

Hinkle, Willoughby said, was very influential in his life and he trusted his guidance about the healthy benefits of a plant-based diet.

“If you’re treating your body well, your body will treat you well,” Willoughby said.

All tickets to Harvest Ball and general information about the event are available at local-matters.org.

A general-admission ticket for two is $150. Participants must pick up their dining kits the day of the event at Together & Company’s catering venue, 555 W. Goodale St. in Columbus.

A VIP ticket, which must be purchased in advance, is $225 for two and includes delivery within 45 minutes of Local Matters, 633 Parsons Ave., just east of German Village.

An out-of-town ticket, for those who have been to the Harvest Ball and still want to participate, is $75. An electronic event kit and shopping list will be provided a week before the event.

Patrons may add a four-pack of Wolf’s Ridge brews and a specialty cocktail for two for $25 or a six-pack for $15.

A merchandise raffle also is planned.

The evening’s fare will include an entree developed by Moskowitz, whose latest book is “I Can Cook Vegan.” She is the sister of Michelle Moskowitz Brown, executive director of Local Matters.

Music will be performed by Arch City Lights.

Young, an instructor at Ohio State University, specializes in food systems and racial inequality.

Adam Fazio, director of development for Local Matters, said he expects the Harvest Ball to be fun for participants, and the money raised will be used to help provide affordable food and food education during the pandemic.

“We really wanted it to be the kind of event that could only happen online,” he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary