The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2017

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Page 47 of 133

Farm to Table(aux) works closely with chefs and artists in nonprofit communities. 46  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2017 CAUSES T he leaders of most nonprofit organizations see fundraising as a necessary evil. Not Elaine Honig. The Napa Valley–based entrepre- neur saw an opportunity to flip the staid practice on its head, doing exactly that with the 2004 launch of Wine Women & Shoes. Since her first playful wine-and-fashion event, Honig has helped produce more than 300 fundraisers, raising a total of $44 million for nonprofit partners. As her team members like to say, they "put the fun back into fundraising." Now, under the newly launched umbrella company STUDIO 4forty, Honig has added a twist to her strategy. Her Farm to Table(aux) event model is a riff on the farm-to-table approach to dining, crossed with the theatrical art form tableaux vivants, or living pictures, in which costumed performers strike poses to illustrate various scenes. "I came across a blog post about the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman and thought, wouldn't it be fabulous to create that with real people?" Honig says. "Wouldn't it be fun if you could do it with local artists and performers?" Her team produced the first Farm to Table(aux) evening in October 2016, to raise funds and boost donor participation for the Boys & Girls Club of Kern County, California. The event far surpassed expectations and was well-received by attendees, Honig notes. The Farm to Table(aux) model allows for attendance by a broader spec- trum of patrons than the women-focused Wine Women & Shoes events, working closely with chefs and artists in each nonprofit's community. "In Bakersfield, we had the good fortune of having theater kids," Honig says of the Boys & Girls Club event. "They were amazing. What's really cool about their participation is that the money raised went to them, and the donors got to witness the direct connection back to the mission." In addition to live actors, the event featured a visual artist who made a painting throughout the evening, as well as performances by dancers from the Kern County Ballet. Honig says Farm to Table(aux) is a versatile event option that can be tweaked to fit a variety of themes and non- profit organizations. It's also a platform to celebrate what contemporary Americans are increasingly seeking: locally sourced food, art, community and fine wine. As to why these events are so successful, Honig says, "We have a fun formula that works, we put our shoulder into it and we really care." NAPA VALLEY–BASED ELAINE HONIG ADDS A NEW DYNAMIC TO NONPROFITS WITH THE FARM TO TABLE(AUX) MODEL by Amy Collins Changing the Fundraising Under a new umbrella company, STUDIO 4forty, Elaine Honig has added a twist to fundraising with the Farm to Table(aux) event model. Farm to Table(aux) is a riff on the farm-to- table approach to dining, crossed with the theatrical art form tableaux vivants, or living pictures. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FARM TO TABLE(AUX) Game

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