By Ashley Quintana, Senior Program Associate for Sustainability and Environmental Programs

TFN’s 2018 Annual Conference will bring plenty of opportunities to learn and explore Houston —including the region’s thriving food culture.

We are delighted to once again feature our annual dining extravaganza Eat Here! on Tuesday March 20 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at McGovern Centennial Gardens, a centerpiece of the city’s Hermann Park Conservancy and one of the city’s most historically significant green spaces. This fun strolling dinner features local farmers, providers, and chefs who place a special emphasis on health, justice and sustainability. The Eat Here! dinners began in 2003 as an effort to link the issues of sustainable agriculture/food with smart growth, urban renewal, rural development, land use, and transportation. The dinner will feature six food vendors serving tapas style dishes – appetizers, entrees, and desserts with vendors representing a diversity of dishes, ethnicities, cultures, and points of entry into the food system, providing a holistic, nutritious, and delicious meal representative of the region. Each vendor will be serving both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes highlighting locally sourced produce and meat. Our hope is that the funders will leave inspired by a meal prepared by good folks working in various aspects of community development through something that connects us all, food and health.

We’ve teamed up with Houston-based Urban Harvest, a leader in the local food movement, to curate this signature TFN Annual Conference event.

Don’t miss out on this celebration of local food: Register today for TFN’s 2018 Annual Conference!

Curious for a sneak peek of this year’s Eat Here! menu? Take a look at our highlights below.

Meet the Vendors!

Little Kitchen HTX

Winner of Edible Houston’s 2017 Local Hero Award for Best Food Artisan, Becca Reyenga of Little Kitchen HTX started her business after seeing the mass appeal and demand for her mom’s homemade pralines. Reyenga’s mom, Ruth Ann, is a Louisiana native, and has been making these delicacies for years.


El Topo Food Truck

“We use happy, sustainable, seasonal ingredients and we waste nothing. The deep flavors of our food are borne from the complexity and quality of our ingredients,” said Tony Lurhman, who named his food truck El Topo, in honor of a 1970’s psychedelic Mexican western he saw in film school. “Oh, and we make everything. We cure our bacon, we press our tortillas, we render our lard. This is the only way, we feel, that we can call the food ours.”


Relished Taste of Africa

Owner, educator, and chef at Relished Africa, Josine Kagoyire (Ms. K), was born and raised in Rwanda. It was there that she learned to cook at an early age by watching her mother. Through her mother’s expertise in farming and knowledge of horticulture, Josine also developed a keen interest in growing her own food. Through her travels to various countries, she has adopted distinct cooking techniques, often using exotic spices, producing delicious flavors that keep people coming back for more.


Ripe Cuisine

Chef Stephanie Hoban, a native Houstonian with a passion for promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet and making it accessible to the people of Houston by way of delicious, homemade meals. In 2013, Stephanie began offering meals at a pop-up restaurant at the Urban Harvest Farmers Markets. Customer response was so overwhelmingly positive that in early 2014, encouraged by customers to expand her nascent operation to a food truck, she raised $12,000 through Kickstarter. A few months later, Ripe’s food truck served its first customers.

Food Music Life Food Truck

Chef and owner Casey Guhl started the Food Music Life food truck in 2015 and Green House Catering in 2014, with a determination to serve locally sourced cuisine using a basic Italian approach. Chef Casey went to culinary school in Florence, Italy and worked in kitchens for more than a decade prior to opening his catering company and food truck. He credits this time with helping him to learn the importance of using quality ingredients. Once in Houston, he realized he had an opportunity with the food truck to highlight not only local food and farms, but also emerging street artists from the local art community. The food truck has been painted with the works of seven Houston artists so far, including 13 Empires‘ mural Garden of Eden.


Breaking Bao Food Truck

“I saw bao as the perfect vessel for flavors. It’s fun to eat. From it’s texture, flavor, and handheld size, it has great versatility and addictive qualities,” said Phillip Kim, a Korean-American chef whose food truck, Breaking Bao, recently won first place at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! Wine and Best Bites. “I love that cooking is an open book. There are no right or wrong answers. In the end if it tastes good, you can’t hate on it.”


Don’t forget to join us a garden tour!

6 p.m. March 20

Join us right before the Eat Here! local food showcase for a tour of the Family Garden at McGovern Centennial Gardens with Daniel Milliken, lead horticulturist of this extraordinary Houston landmark. The Family Garden is an edible, interactive garden designed to showcase vegetables, herbs, fruit, citrus, and berries that can be grown successfully in the Houston area. Throughout the year, Houston children of all abilities are invited to participate in cultivating these beds, and to experience the touch, the scents, the colors, and the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs.

If you’re joining us for the tour, please gather in the lobby of the Hotel Zaza by 5:45 p.m. for the short walk to McGovern Centennial Gardens.


About Urban Harvest

TFN is excited to work with Tyler Horne, director of farmers markets for Urban Harvest, to develop this year’s Eat Here! event.

Founded in 1994, Urban Harvest is a leader in the local food movement and encourages community, good nutrition and sustainability through the teaching and support of organic gardening.

Want to learn more about Urban Harvest? Tyler and his team will be on hand at Eat Here! to answer any questions you might have about sustainable agriculture and food culture in the Houston region.