SEAM dinner Nov. 10

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Nov. 7, 2013 | Modified: Nov. 11, 2013
SEAM dinner Nov. 10

Community members will be empowered to make a difference in Watauga County by choosing which local food producer will receive their donation to fund an innovative and creative project during an upcoming investment dinner.

The relationship building and selection process will be held at CoBo Sushi Bistro and Bar at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10.

Dinner attendees will hear presentations from three different farmers or food producers. The guests will decide which entity receives funding through “vote-by-dollar” format, which differs from traditional grants.

The project is spearheaded by Supporting Economic Alternatives in the Mountains, a local organization geared toward community involvement in High Country agriculture.

“Investments will be awarded at either 60, 30 or 10 percent from the crowd-sourced dinner tickets,” said Dave Walker, a SEAM team member. “Using this method, community members have a clear and direct input into the projects and people that their money is funding. This process ensures that the projects are both community-driven and community-directed.”

Local food system experts previously selected applicants. Their criteria consisted of the projects’ creativity, readiness and sustainability.

Walker said the idea for the community investment dinner was developed after he attended a similar event for his brother in Burlington.

“My younger brother is an emerging farmer in Alamance County,” Walker said. “He had the opportunity to present a proposal for a composting project at the dinner, called ‘Funds for Farms.’”
What he saw greatly moved him.

“I was impressed by the simplicity of the idea and how easy it was to see neighbors and friends come together and provide a meaningful investment in my brother’s project,” Walker said.

He discovered the camaraderie that followed transcended the dinner itself.

“I saw how the dinner attendees felt closer to the project and each other than I had witnessed before,” Walker said. “I think this is the great thing about sharing a meal. I brought my experience to several friends, who are a part of the growing sustainable food system and local economy in the High Country.”

The Nov. 10 dinner costs $30, with proceeds particularly funding the cost of the event and the remaining funds split between the three selected proposals (for less than $1,000 each).

Partners for SEAM dinner include Appalachian State University’s Power Shift Team, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, CoBo Sushi Bistro and Bar and High Country Local First.

For more information, or to purchase a ticket, visit

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