Fred UnLEEshed: Oct. 12, 2016

SEEDING HOPE: Sole Food Street Farms is an urban agriculture project founded in 2008 by Michael Ableman and Seann Dory to provide residents of the Downtown Eastside with jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers. The social enterprise has been met with significant community support, creating employment and produce for restaurants and local farmers markets. Chefs from Burdock and Co., Hawksworth, Bishop’s, Farmer’s Apprentice, Savio Volpe and Homer Street Café convened for the society’s An Evening in the Orchard dinner, a celebratory feast yours truly hosted to mark the release of Abelman’s new book, Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier. In addition to the multi-course feast, attendees dug deep into their wallets and purses to help keep the urban farm — one of the largest in North America — alive and flourishing.

ART PARTY: Out on Screen — the folks who run the Queer Film Festival — held its annual Fall Art Auction Gala. An event Carl Meadows and his husband of 27 years, Les Dick, created initially as a condo party to raise funds for the organization’s Out in School program has become a leading date for the firm’s fundraising efforts. When the numbers outgrew their home, the couple eventually moved the event to larger venues. The new BMO Theatre in Olympic Village recently played host to the yearly gala. Several hundred business and community leaders convened for the festivities that included a live art auction and raffle draw and performances by Isolde N. Barron and Adam Zapple. Barry Dumka curated the art sale, which featured 20 works of art by local and international artists. Notable names on the auction block included works by David Burdeny, Dina Goldstein and John Ferrie. The event raised a reported $45,000 for Out on Screen’s Out in Schools initiative engaging students across B.C. on issues of homophobia, transphobia and bullying.

HOUSE PARTY: Imagine tail-coated singers as hosts, serving you epicurean delights paired with fine wines, between tasting plates serenading you with exquisite choral music in the most magnificent mansion in the city. Such was the scenario for 150 lucky guests who snapped up tickets to Chor Leoni’s annual At Home benefit in the historic and storied Casa Mia property in Southlands. CBC’s Gloria Macarenko and yours truly fronted the unforgettable evening chaired by society maven Lesley Stowe and sponsored by Blue Shore Financial. A highlight of the evening was the unveiling of a painting created in the memory of the choir’s founder Diane Loomer. Painted by celebrated artist Gabryel Harrison depicting a glowing rose in all its stages of bloom, open throated and singing skyward like her many choirs, the masterpiece fetched the night’s top bid of $9,000 contributing to the more than $30,000 netted for the choir’s youth outreach initiative MY Voice, a free music mentorship program for 150 aspiring male singers in the Lower Mainland.

ENTREPRENEURS FETED: The Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year is an annual global awards program celebrating high-achieving game-changers and risk-takers. Thirty of them across 10 categories were feted at the Pacific Region’s 23rd staging recently staged at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Some 1,300 business leaders and VIPs attended the awards ceremony hosted by Global BC anchor Chris Gailus. A venerable who’s who in the business community made the scene to support the finalists. Among the notables feted: Roger Hardy and Sean Clark of Shoes.com; Ken Sim, Cathy Thorpe, and John DeHart, principals of Nurse Next Door; and Elana Rosenfeld, CEO of Kicking Horse Coffee. By evening’s end, Dr. Allen Eaves, president and CEO of Stemcell Technologies would earn the night’s top honour as the region’s Top Dog. Eaves will go on to compete with winners from more than 50 countries for the title of EY World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monte Carlo June 2017.

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