ENCINITAS — Environmental stewardship, organic gardening, nutrition, healthy and active lifestyles — these are all too familiar topics with the community of Encinitas — and now more than ever, it seems — for other communities throughout San Diego County.
Five years ago, Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center broke ground in National City, sowed seeds and began harvesting organic produce — all with the idea of making those same topics a staple to its residents in the community.
On Aug. 16, Encinitas resident, author and artist Jolee Pink and her husband Larry are opening up their home and garden for the first time to the public for a special fundraiser to benefit Olivewood and the many educational programs it offers.
As a nonprofit, Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center offers free programs for classes, children and adults in cooking and gardening.
“And the only way that we’re able to offer those programs for free is because we have such great support from the community and donors,” said Healy Vigderson, executive director of the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.
Giving back to the community was the driving factor for Jolee to host the Olivewood Gardens Benefit Concert, Gourmet Tasting and Art Show.
And as a food writer, Jolee specifically chose to help benefit Olivewood because of its connections with sustainable organic gardening.
“There’s definitely a huge movement in San Diego, and I think San Diego is way ahead of the curve in terms of connecting people to where their food comes from and connecting the farmers directly with the consumers,” Vigderson said.
Patrons will have the rare opportunity to visit the gardens and see works from Jolee and Larry, as well as the hanging fish hurricane piece, which adorns one of the property’s fichus trees from Rick Hartner of Sitting Duck Studios. They’ll also be able to peruse the paintings of Encinitas artist Donna Butnik.
The artworks from Butnik, and the Pinks will be available for purchase, with 25 percent of the sales being donated to Olivewood.
Besides the shimmering of sun reflecting off the angles of glass artworks adorning the gardens, live music from Jimmy Patton and Enrique Platas, including a special appearance from singer Ella Shreiner will waft in the wind.
With Olivewood’s location in National City and the Triton Garden Gallery in Encinitas, Vigderson said the event also serves as a nice opportunity to bring north and south together.
Apart from fundraising, the event will provide a backdrop for the two communities to form connections over farming and education and building a strong food network where people know where their food is coming from.
Rising star Chef Brandon Brooks of Quad Ale-House will be providing the menu, which features smoked pork belly, Yellowtail Crudo, Sopa Fria de Aguacate and more.
A cash wine bar is available with 25 percent of sales going to Olivewood.
The event will be at the Triton Garden Gallery in Encinitas Aug. 16 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Tickets are $49 per person and are available online at wabisabigreen.com. All proceeds go to benefitting the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.