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Vernal Cabaret at the Gershwin Hotel Sat 3/22/08 NYC

Vernal Cabaret at the Gershwin Hotel, Saturday, March 22nd, 8–12 pm

There will be an evening of poetry and music to celebrate the vernal equinox—and with it, the return of farmers carting their green wares to the city. Proceeds will benefit Nesenkeag Farm and the New Farmer Development Project in New York. The Vernal Cabaret will take place in the Gershwin Hotel Living Room, 7 East 27th Street, New York City, starting at 8 p.m., bringing together poets, artists, stand-up comics, green market promoters, musicians, urban agriculture activists and other visionary spirits for an evening of high-falutin’ sustenance and fun. Suggested donation at the door is $10.

The lively line-up of performers includes David Abel, Bare Hand Wolf Chokers Association, Lee Ann Brown, Scott Chaskey, Brenda Coultas, Jason Eisenberg, Russ Gershon, Kim Lyons, Edgar Oliver, Simon Pettet, Nicole Peyrafitte, Janine Pommy Vega, Eero Ruuttila, Sparrow, Steven Taylor, Laki Vazakas, and George Wallace.

The benefit is grateful for the support of co-sponsoring organizations, including the Chef’s Collaborative, the NY Food Museum, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). Regional farmers from NOFA -NY will donate organic produce so that caterer Peggy Wallace has plenty of good stuff to work with in providing snacks to the audience. In making the Living Room and Lounge available for this benefit, the Gershwin Hotel continues its mission of supporting innovative arts and culture in New York City.

Nesenkeag Cooperative Farm, located on the Merrimack River in Litchfield, New Hampshire, has established itself as a model of cutting-edge organic agriculture and community outreach. Marketing its high-value specialty crops directly to top chefs in Boston and Southern New Hampshire, Nesenkeag Farm donates more than $10,000 of food to the New Hampshire Food Bank each year, with the support of Share Our Strength. The farm has a strong relationship with the large Cambodian immigrant population in and around Lowell, Massachusetts, employing farm staff from this community and participating in market-garden projects involving the Coalition for a Better Acre, the New Immigrant Farmer Project and the United Teen Equality Center.

Farm Manager Eero Ruuttila has won recognition for pioneering bio-intensive sustainable methods and is a well-known speaker at organic farming conferences throughout the Northeast region. He is a poet and photographer, as well. “I have been inspired to find common ground with practitioners of alternative agriculture as well as those of the alternative arts,” he says. This inspiration is evident every fall at the Annual Nesenkeag Farm Day, where visitors tour the fields, sample Cambodian cooking, and then gather to listen to featured poets and musicians. Even without tractors or bonfires in the background, this Nesenkeag Farm benefit cabaret will produce the same kind of green alchemy that results when artistic inspiration mixes with activist consciousness. Ruuttila is also happy to offer recognition and financial support to the New Farmer Development Project.

The New Farmer Development Project, with support from the Council on the Environment’s Greenmarket program and the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, works with agriculturally experienced immigrants in the NYC region, encouraging them to start their own environmentally sound farms through classroom and practical training, access to New York City’s farmers markets, and small credit opportunities.

We would appreciate it if you would help get the word out about this event. Any questions can be addressed to Lorna Smedman (ljsmedman@mindspring.com) or Kimberly Lyons (kimlyons@excite.com).

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