CALABASH – A Festival of Gourds, Art and the Garden Happens Sunday, October 5

Food For Thought, Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank, in collaboration with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, will host the 14th annual CALABASH – A Celebration of Gourds, Art and the Garden on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Sonoma County’s unique and inspiring harvest event, Calabash was voted Best Fundraiser by the North Bay Bohemian in 2013 and 2014, and features a silent auction of fine gourd art along with tours of Food For Thought’s beautiful, organic garden

Guests at Calabash enjoy a sumptuous array of fine food and wine from the county’s bountiful harvest, a chance to buy gourd art by local artists, and live music played on hand-made gourd instruments.

CALABASH is a benefit that supports Food For Thought, a nonprofit that serves 700 men, women, and children living with HIV/ AIDS by providing high quality groceries, fresh produce, and nutrition services at no cost. The truly grassroots organization is staffed by over 600 volunteers who participate in all facets of the operation supporting people with HIV/ AIDS.

“There are people in our community living with HIV/AIDS who have to choose between spending their limited money on food or on medicine. We think that’s a choice nobody should have to make, especially those who are living with a serious chronic illness” said Ron Karp, Food For Thought’s Executive Director. “There is a peace of mind and security in knowing where your next meal will come from, and that your food, because it’s healthy, is actually part of your medicine.”

Food For Thought, in its 25th year, serves anyone in Sonoma County with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. HIV remains a significant challenge in our community, as more people are affected by the epidemic than ever before. And as those living with HIV age, their circumstance and needs are even more urgent and complex.

Particularly inspiring at the Calabash event are the gourds themselves. The prehistoric gourd is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, and is traditionally used for art as well as storage, hauling water, and making cooking and eating utensils, musical instruments, bird feeders, bird houses, and rattles.

Many of the gourds for this event are harvested from the food bank’s own gardens, where clients and volunteers work side-by-side, breathing in the bounty that nature provides. More than 100 participating artists fashion their pieces from the gourds in this unique West County fundraiser.

Tickets: $45 in advance either online (FFT.org) or at the Forestville offices, or $50 at the door the day of the event. For advance tickets sales and more information, call Food For Thought at 707-887-1647.