The Junior League of Ogden will host its second annual cook-off event, Get Fresh with the Junior League, at the Oasis Community Garden this Saturday to motivate community members to bring their food from the farm to the table. The event will act as a preview to the Oasis Learning Pavilion that is currently under construction at the garden on Monroe Boulevard.
The Oasis Learning Pavilion is about two weeks from completion and should be ready by the end of the month, according to Rebecca Macias, president of the Junior League.
“It’s causing a lot of interest and buzz around the community,” Macias said. “We’re excited for it to be a resource for the community.”
The Oasis is a 1.7-acre lot with 38 agricultural plots for community use. All of the plots are currently in use and unavailable.
“Having the community garden where we do is really important for that community,” said Clairesse Walton, president elect of the Junior League. “It’s on Monroe between 24th and 25th, which has been known as the food desert because the only stores to get food in the area are gas stations.”
Once completed, the learning pavilion will feature a greenhouse, kitchen and rainwater harvesting as well as a gathering space for community members. The Junior League will offer up the pavilion for community use and host workshops and events at the pavilion such as the annual cook-off.
Walton, who is also the chair of Get Fresh with the Junior League, said the pavilion will be a nice addition and be helpful for next year’s event.
“It will be nice to have a kitchen,” she said. “More than anything, though, having the greenhouse there will help a lot so we can start our seeds early on.”
Get Fresh with the Junior League will take place at 2-5 p.m. and is a free, public event. The Junior League invited chefs, restaurant owners and community members to participate in the competition, which involves putting together dishes made from raw, fresh ingredients from the garden.
Competitors for this year’s event are Gary and Gloria Bartlett from Good Life Cafe, Tony Chen from Tona Sushi, Steve Ballard from Sonora Grill, Danielle Smith from the Pretty Smitty Pie Company, Mikaela Shaffer-Platter from Indie Ogden and Alise Roberts from The Seductive Soul.
Attendees are invited to sample the food created by the competitors for a donation of $1 per sample. The chef with the most donations at the end of the night wins the competition. All of the proceeds from the event will help fund other Junior League projects to benefit the health and nutrition of women and children in the community.
In addition to the competition, there will be live music by local performers, family-friendly activities and a ribbon-cutting for the pavilion.
Walton said she is excited to see the turnout for the event. Last year, the event having minimal preparation, around 150 people showed up and joined in, she said. She expects that number to increase this year.
“The garden is really coming along,” Walton said. “It’s been wonderful to see people taking ownership of the garden and not only just using it for gardening, but really having fun and becoming engaged in the community.”
The Junior League works with the community to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve the community. Other events it hosts include Kids in the Kitchen, an event focused on teaching children about nutrition, and Oasis Summer Nights, a weekly summer event held at the garden.