Heifer’s International’s third annual Feast in the Field event took place on Saturday, May 30 to raise awareness and funds to help smallholder farmers in Arkansas through Heifer USA’s program. The more than 400 guests, in all white attire, enjoyed a lovely summer evening and sunset on the grounds of the Heifer campus and the newly completed Heifer Village pavilion in Little Rock.
The sold out event featured a cocktail reception catered by YaYa’s Euro Bistro, music by Brian Nahlen, and many special guests from Heifer Ranch including Oliver the donkey, goats, chickens, rabbits and sheep.
Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International reminded everyone that the night was about raising funds, “for the hard work and dedication of smallholder Arkansas farmers.”
One of those farmers, Cody Hopkins, said, "As a first generation farmer I've seen first hand how farming can rebuild rural economies. I also know that Heifer is truly making the world a better place."
For dinner, guests were treated to a family style meal of slow roasted pork shoulder and Caribbean spiced grilled chicken provided by the Grass Roots Farmer’s Cooperative and Arkansas fresh vegetables. The menu was designed and prepared by the talented chefs from the Little Rock Marriott Hotel’s own Heritage Grille Steak & Fin restaurant.
After dinner and the short program, guests danced the night away, to the amazing sounds of Donna Massey and Blue Eyed Soul.
In keeping with Heifer International’s mission of caring for the Earth, Feast in the Field wasa “zero-waste” event using only reused, reusable, recycled, and compostable products and electricity produced through Heifer’s own solar panels.
Notably, Heifer International partnered with a new, local start-up, The Urban Food Loop to divert food waste from the event to be made into nutrient rich compost. The compost will be donated to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Gleaning Garden at Western Hills City Park which grows and donatesfresh produce to several local food pantries in Central Arkansas.
Read Admire, founder of The Urban Food Loop, coordinated the entire food waste collection setup.
"Large amounts of food waste are usually created at big catered events-- the Feast in the Field team knew this and set out to change it. Not only did we recover and compost over 500 lbs. of food waste from the event, but also central Arkansans are enthusiastically starting to engage with the issue of food waste reduction.“
“Just since the Feast in the Field celebration we have composted events for the Marriott’s Heritage Grille, the Dunbar Community Garden Project, and local residents are signing up for ourIt’s incredibly uplifting to work with an organization that not only acknowledges a universal problem in event production but also addresses the issue starting with themselves."
*The Little Rock Marriott Heritage Grille Steak & Fin will share a portion of their proceeds for the month of June to support Heifer International’s Arkansas farmers.