In the midst of all the Halloween events and celebrations of the weekend ahead, theClubhou.se and Augusta Locally Grown are presenting a two-day event that will explore ways in which sustainability and technology intersect to improve the local food system.
Harvest Bytes, which will take place downtown at the Clubhou.se on Telfair Street, allows members of the public to participate in seeking ways in establishing a healthy local food system. Friday, October 28, participants will splinter off into groups and kick off a 23-hour food hackathon.
Themes to be examined throughout the hackathon will provide an overview of the unique challenges faced by local food growers, farmers and suppliers. These challenges differ according to local market, culture and economy, geographical anomalies and demand. Harvest Bytes looks to the collective intelligence of its participants to overcome these challenges with creative, innovative and sustainable solutions.
Working in teams of three or four, participants will hack and explore six categories — food waste, transparency, urban farming, school gardens, farmer prosperity and home gardening. Each topic presents a unique problem. How can we help farmers avoid food waste? How can we verify chefs and restaurants are actually buying from local farmers? How can we help urban farmers identify and cope with the pollutants in their soils?
The hackathon will also take a look at how technology can be used to help volunteers maintain school gardens, and how to improve the design of the hand-pushed Amish planter used by the local farmers of J and L Farm. And, what low-cost rain water distribution system would be an affordable and effective solution for the average home gardener?
At 6 p.m. on Saturday, things get fabulously foodie. The relationship between microbes, such as fungi and bacteria, and our wellness is the focus of speaker Dr. Steve Fountain, a physician and interdisciplinary scholar. Fountain has lectured and published in both the sciences and humanities in the U.S. and abroad. His current research interests revolve around emerging paradigms of disease and wellness, fertility and sterility, and the importance of microbiota in macro-environments such as the human body.
Attendees will also enjoy a farm-to-table dinner, one that the Clubhou.se promises to be “gastronomically elegant.” The dinner is the creation of Chef Charleen Tinley of Culinary Connections and Chef Jonathan Marks, formerly of the Rooster’s Beak. Using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, the dinner features numerous exciting dishes, such as a wild mushroom goat cheesecake, country-style ribs roasted with rosemary, smoked apples and onions, and the roasted vegetable stew. For dessert, there is a coconut and sweet potato cake with homemade whipped coconut milk frosting.
The proceeds from Harvest Bytes will go toward raising money to install a commercial teaching and incubator kitchen at the Clubhou.se. The kitchen will offer space for food business start-ups to grow their businesses in a commercially-approved kitchen. It will also offer them the start-up support for which the Clubhou.se is known.
The Harvest Bytes Hackathon begins Friday, October 28, at 5 p.m. and lasts 23 hours. The farm-to-table dinner with special guest speaker is Saturday, October 29, at 6 p.m. The hackathon only is free; the dinner is $65-$700. Visit harvestbytes.org.