Berry Good Food’s virtual gift auction will take place on the organization’s website starting Thursday, November 19, at 12pm PST, to support its sustainable food programs in San Diego and Northern Baja. Bidding is open to the public until the auction closes on Monday, November 23, at 7pm PST. Additionally, buyers can take advantage of a “Buy It Now” option to purchase an item immediately.
The Berry Good Food Holiday Gift Auction is a win-win opportunity to find unique, one-of-a-kind gift items for friends and family while supporting uplifting community initiatives. Items for purchase include original artwork from noted Mexican-American artists Gennaro Garcia and Ramiro Gomez; high-end fashion accessories from Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, and Eskandar; hotel, wine, and food packages in Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe; a private dinner for ten people with Chef Drew Bent of Lola 55; a private sushi making class with Chef Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub; a plant-based feast with wine for eight people at The Plot in Oceanside; hotel stays at Monarch Beach Resort and Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina; spa services; artisan jewelry; a family photo session, and much more.
Proceeds from the auction will support Berry Good Food initiatives that include its garden grant program that awards stipends to local schools promoting the teaching of agriculture and healthy eating; affordable monthly cooking classes held at Studio Kitchen by Specialty Produce; its award-winning Future Thought Leaders panel series, filmed and distributed by University of California Television with 2.5 million views; and continuing to foster community partnerships with like-minded organizations to deepen the impact of our shared missions.
During the pandemic, much of BGF’s regular in-person programming had to be suspended due to social distancing restrictions, and the nonprofit pivoted to assist urgent community needs. BGF’s COVID-based initiatives included organizing care package donations to essential workers; delivering 2,200 pounds of Specialty Produce farmer’s market boxes to food-insecure San Diegans, the UCSD Triton Food Pantry, We All We Got SD Mutual Aid Program, and Ronald McDonald House; and supplying tools and on-the-ground assistance to construct edible gardens at Enrique C. Rébsamen elementary school and Niños de Baja orphanage in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja, Mexico, in partnership with ProVino, a progressive alliance of wine producers in the area. The Berry Good Food Holiday Gift Auction proceeds will continue to support these programs as BGF remains flexible to address community needs during the pandemic.
“The pandemic really highlighted how important it is for everyone in our community to have access to nutrient-rich food,” says Jessica Waite, president of Berry Good Food and proprietor of three restaurants in Oceanside. “It is also really clear that having a strong local food system creates resilience, and when times get tough, we need our local farmers more than ever. I am super proud of how our Berry Good Food team has come together in such a challenging time to keep working toward our mission.”
Waite, host of the BGF podcast “Growing a Food Movement,” a forum for ideas about building a more resilient local food system, spearheaded a podcast Zoom series during COVID called “The Bright Side,” which highlights stories of growth and innovation during this challenging time to create new systems and strategies. Interviews with organizations like Kitchens for Good, Farmer’s Footprint, Coastal Roots Farm, and others are currently rolling out on the BGF website.