THIS IS WHAT I KNOW-If there’s an upside to the turmoil caused by the Trump Administration, it’s this: grassroots activists have been coming out of the woodwork. Newly minted and lifelong activists linked arms at the Women’s March and in Huddle Up events throughout the U.S.
Now, Huckleberry Bakery and Café’s Zoe Nathan and other talented artisan bakers and pastry chefs throughout Los Angeles, including Friends & Family’s Roxana Jullapat, Proof Bakery’s Na Young Ma, The Rose Café’s Neidy Venegas & Joshua Graves, have joined forces for a new grassroots campaign called Bake & Gather, neighborhood bake sale events to encourage dialogue and raise money for important causes about which the community feels passionate. Nathan hopes to expand the movement to other U.S. cities.
The first SoCal “neighborhood gathering and bake sale” will be held Saturday, February 25 at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon Park, 601 Latimer Road. From 9 a.m. to noon, participants will be able to purchase pastries and coffee from Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Caffe Luxxe, and Rusticoffee to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Counsel, which supports immigrants and underserved communities with pro bono legal services. Downtown LA’s Woo Souvenir Shop has created Bake & Gather t-shirts to sell at the event and at Huckleberry for $40, with 100 percent of the proceeds from the first 100 sold going to the organizations. Any additional profits on top will be donated to the ACLU and Public Counsel.
Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants co-owner Nathan says, “The great uniter of all people is food and social rights. Right now, a good majority of people are feeling helpless and scared. I believe if we can get together with our neighbors over great food and coffee, we can slowly start to connect with each other, feel less nervous, and find our voices and footing again,” says Zoe. “This is not about Democrats versus Republicans, but finding the things that unite us during these unprecedented times, while raising money for some important causes in the process.”
Nathan hopes Bake & Gather will inspire others across Los Angeles and the U.S. to create their own local gatherings to benefit worthy organizations, especially ones that have been recently defunded or are needed to defend basic human rights.
“You can do anything and gather. This is not just for professional or even amateur bakers,” adds Nathan. “Kids can plan an event at their school or library, artists could sell their paintings and drawings from a friend’s driveway, or surfers could teach lessons at their local beach. The purpose is to get out, talk to your neighbors, and put your energy behind something constructive.”
The Rustic Canyon event will be the first of many Bake & Gathers in LA.
- Saturday, March 11 from 12-3 p.m. at the Silver Lake Reservoir’s Meadow (1850 W. Silverlake Drive), hosted by Roxana Jullapat (behind the forthcoming Friends & Family,) Proof Bakery’s Na Young Ma, and Alimento’s Harriet Ha.
- Saturday, March 25 (time and location TBD) with The Rose Café’s Neidy Venegas and Joshua Graves and Broken Spanish’s Ivan Marquez.
- April – Cake Monkey’s Elizabeth Belkind and food stylist Staci Valentine will host earlier in the month, followed by Bear Claw Kitchen’s Sarah Lange.
- May – Platine Bakery’s Jamie Ginsburg and The Gourmandise School’s Clémence Gossett will host a gathering, with more to come.
- Coming This Summer – Hatchet Hall’s Paige Russell, Sqirl’s Sasha Piligian, Lodge Bread’s Jacqui De Borga, Bub & Grandma’s Andy Kadin, and more.
If you’re interested in starting your own Bake & Gather, a website will soon feature a planning checklist, collateral for posters and promotional materials, and a list of recommended charitable organizations. Join the movement and learn more about upcoming Los Angeles events (and across the country) by following Bake & Gather on Instagram and tagging #bettertogether.
(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.