Saturday, March 9, 2013

Food Fare Celebrates 34 Years of Tasting and Sipping for Planned Parenthood

Wrote an article for the SM Observer on the Planned Parenthood food fundraiser Food Fare!

Rivera’s Flan de Elote: Corn Custard, Black Quinoa, and Squash Blossom Sauce 

Food Fare Celebrates 34 Years of Tasting and Sipping for Planned Parenthood

It goes without saying there are a lot of food festivals in L.A! There are a lot of events where you walk around tasting Los Angeles’ finest restaurant’s signature dishes, but very few of them do you have the opportunity to nosh for a good cause (just in case you needed more of an excuse!)! Enter Planned Parenthood’s Food Fare held last week at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Food Fare began 34 years ago, with a simple cooking demonstration from Julia Child in 1979.  Over the last three decades it has grown to become one of the oldest and most celebrated culinary events in Los Angeles.  Every year Food Fare is a one-stop shop for L.A.’s food-lovers, Planned Parenthood supporters, and the general public to sample the finest food and drink that L.A. has to offer, all in one place.

Planned Parenthood is committed to providing healthcare to low-income people.  Nearly 80% of their clients have incomes at or below the federal poverty level.  Food Fare is organized and staffed each year by the PPLA Guild, a group of nearly 200 women who provide financial and volunteer support for the organization’s programs.  Since it’s inception, the Guild has raised over $8 million for Planned Parenthood.

1,5000 guests attended this one day and night event where over a hundred and fifty restaurants, caterers, and libation companies came together for this year’s Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Food Fare 2013 including: the new Venice restaurant Feed Body and Soul, Santa Monica based candy company P.o.p. Candy, Venice based Joe’s Restaurant along with the some local Food Trucks, such as Santa Monica based Border Grill Truck and The Kosher Palate.  Some of the highlights for those looking to imbibe included La Fenêtre Wines (which make FIG’s restaurants wine label) and The Bruery, a small craft brewery located in Orange County, California.

Unlike other food festivals, the fact that this was a fundraiser seemed to energize everyone participating. “Planned Parenthood is really on it with this event!” noted Rachel from P.o.p. Candy, an all natural butter crunch candy company based in Santa Monica.  “They’re asking us to figure out all the details in the middle of the busiest time in our year, but they’re so on top of the game and have such a great attitude that everyone makes sure to take the time and get it done.”  “We’re so lucky that Feed Body and Soul was able to participate in such a great fundraiser this fine evening!” concurred Elaina Leibee, general manager of Feed Body and Soul.

For the fourth year, Food Fare is honoring one of its participating chefs as Planned Parenthood’s Chef of the Year. This year it was Joe Miller, chef and owner of Venice based Joe’s Restaurant and Santa Monica based Bar Pixto, as PPLA’s Chef of the Year. “As a big supporter of Planned Parenthood over the years, it is truly an honor to be named as PPLA’s Chef of the Year! I am very touched to be part of this fantastic event for a cause that is close to my heart”, said Chef Joe Miller.

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles provides care to more than 138,000 women, men, and teens in Los Angeles County.  It is now the third largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country.  Planned Parenthood LA has 17 health centers, 2 Planned Parenthood Basics, one school based health center and a Clinic Without Walls program.   Planned Parenthood provides a comprehensive range of reproductive health care, including birth control and education; screenings for breast, cervical, and testicular cancer; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); pregnancy testing and counseling; adoption and prenatal care counseling and referrals; medicine and surgical abortion; and teen-sensitive services.  

Nearly 19,000 women come to Planned Parenthood each year for PAP tests, which screen for cervical cancer.  Each year Planned Parenthood Los Angeles administers nearly 2,000 HPV vaccines.  93% of their patient visits are for contraception and preventative care such as cancer screenings and STD testing.  7% of their visits are for abortions.  Of every dollar spent, $0.87 goes directly to client services, education and advocacy.  

Planned Parenthood LA’s education and community outreach programs reach more than 45,000 teens, women and men in Los Angeles County.  Their Middle and High School Education program has their staff and highly trained interns provide more than 17,000 students with comprehensive and medically accurate information focusing on pregnancy prevention, safe decision making and healthy relationships.   Promotoras Comunitarias or community health educators use a peer-to-peer model and multi-session Spanish-language programs to increase health care access and education for nearly 14,000 people in the Latino community. 

Planned Parenthood’s Sexuality Education Initiative has created a groundbreaking high school demonstration project in LA County that aims to evaluate a multi-component sex education program and its impact of teens.  With a combination of classroom education, after-school peer advocacy and youth development work, parent education, and access to health care on campus may soon become the national model to provide effective sex education to high school students.

For those looking to contribute Planned Parenthood LA will be able to bid via CharityBuzz for items such as: 2 tickets to the World Premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and After Party in LA, a meet and great with Evan Handler and a tour of the set of Showtime’s Californication, and VIP trip and tour of the world famous Hollywood Magic Castle for 8 People. 

Kat Thomas is a food writer.  You can check out more of her work at