Tickets may be sold out for this year’s September 18th Dinner on Main, but that hasn’t stopped the interest and buzz of the event. Linda Henigan, the event’s Director, has a passion for our area’s farming culture and is counting on the buzz to continue the growing spotlight on Yolo County growers. Using local resources and people, who are as passionate as herself, Linda is about to bring our community together for a Farm to Fork experience that Woodland has yet to enjoy.
Day in and day, on these farms, there are glorious things that are happening, and no one is shining a light on it.
Here is my interview with Linda Henigan.
Summarize what Dinner on Main is.
Dinner on Main is a celebration of the many wonderful things happening with our downtown, but more importantly to me because I was raised in the country and still live in the county, is making the connection between the food that is on our plate and where is comes from. I see this event as a nice marriage of the people who live here, the people who serve our food and those who grow it.
Why do you think it is so important to highlight the growers?
I think we may take for granted where our foods come from. I’d like us to take a moment and think about how cool it is to live in an area where our food is grown. Day in and day, on these farms, there are glorious things that are happening and no one is shining a light on it. I recently finished a documentary about a 100-year-old rice co-op. Over a five year period, I spent lots of time in Richvale (where California’s commercial rice production began in 1912) and at the celebration of the co-op and the documentary I was so touched by the grower’s response. They received a standing ovation for their dedication and work and they were emotional. They get up at the crack of dawn, to produce this rice which is shipped everywhere and no one really celebrates their work. So, I feel that Dinner on Main is our opportunity to celebrate the honorable work they do every day. Growers certainly don’t ask for accolades, but their work is so honorable. I feel Dinner on Main is our chance to celebrate their work.
You were inspired by Jonesborough, Tennesse’s Main Street Dinner. What was the process from that inspiration to being able to bring this to Woodland’s Main Street?
The first thing I did was contact Jonesborough Tennesse and they were just glorious. They were so receptive to my questions and they provided a guide. I poured through that guide, devouring it. Then I thought about who I would need to talk to, to see if this was doable. I met with Tom Stallard and he was a very big supporter of the idea. From that point on, I actually haven’t heard a ‘No’ from anyone, which has really shocked me. Everyone has been receptive and supportive of the idea and the implementation of the event.
Vendors and restaurants have really stepped up and brought more ideas and contributions. Just this morning Seka Hills was wanting to partner even more than they already are. I’ve had to do sponsorships before and you feel that your begging. For Dinner on Main, business and people are knocking down my door!
Do you have a committee helping you?
Yes. I was put in touch with Patrick Mulvaney and he’s sort of the Father of Farm to Fork in Sacramento. Patrick pretty much shared all of his knowledge and gave us direction. He also provided what he knew about the region and put me in contact with Nicole Rogers who organizes the Farm to Fork dinner on the Sacramento Bridge. She could not be any more generous. Nicole then brought in Marisa Hicks from Nugget Market. Mary Kimball from the Center for Land-Based Learning joined us as well. We’ve become a group of like-minded people working toward this goal.
How will Dinner on Main benefit our community?
One of the three non-profits benefitting from Dinner on Main is Yolo Farm to Fork. They make sure our schools have gardens. The kids then get to eat the food they’ve grown and they find they like it. They then take the message back to their parents. So, to be able to support a movement that is teaching our younger generation is really important.
What can we expect from the event?
I think you’ll be sorry if you missed out on this year’s event! Registration at Heritage Plaza will begin at 5:00. At that time, guests can mingle and enjoy appetizers from Nugget Market, Seka Hills, and Savory Cafe, to name a few. Wine and beer will also be available. It’s a chance for people to mingle and chat. Around 6:15, we’ll begin seating at the farm table. Soup and salad will be served at 7:00 and dessert at 8:30.
What do you want Woodland to know about this event?
They can really take pride in this town. I think for a long time there has been negativity about our town, and it’s nice to be a winner once in a while. We do really cool stuff around here and I think I want Woodland to say, “We are a great town!”.
Header photo courtesy of Dinner on Main