Emily Torgrimson, at left, and Emily Rumsey prepare a community feast in Minneapolis, at a home near Lake Harriet. Eat for Equity meals are prepared by volunteers in homes throughout the Twin Cities area. Torgrimson, a native of the Lanesboro/Preston area, is one of the founders.  FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS ANDERSON
Emily Torgrimson, at left, and Emily Rumsey prepare a community feast in Minneapolis, at a home near Lake Harriet. Eat for Equity meals are prepared by volunteers in homes throughout the Twin Cities area. Torgrimson, a native of the Lanesboro/Preston area, is one of the founders. FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS ANDERSON
For the past two years, Eat for Equity (E4E) has assisted Lanesboro Local to raise support for various projects to enhance the community. On Saturday, Feb. 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m., an E4E-style meal will be returning to Lanesboro The hosts of this year's event are David and Linda Tacke at their home in the Churchill School House Condos in Lanesboro overlooking the falls.

The official description of E4E found on its website reads, "Eat for Equity raises awareness and funds for organizations that work to address inequities in health, environment, education and opportunity. We also support organizations working within communities to facilitate short-term relief and long-term sustainable development."

This year, the E4E event will be raising money to aid Lanesboro Local's 2014 education projects.

Not only does the event provide an opportunity to eat as the name implies, but it also gives the people of the area a chance to build up their community through volunteer and serving efforts as well as entertainment. E4E meals create a friendly and fun environment for those who turn out to support their local organizations and projects.

Linda Tacke, one of the hosts of the event, has been to past events with E4E. "E4E is a good cause and helps us celebrate and promote local foods," she stated. "It also gives people a chance for pure enjoyment with their neighbors, gathering together and eating great food."

Organization of this third annual dinner event is based on the E4E model. E4E seeks to support another nonprofit cause through building community and a full stomach.

Founder Emily Torgrimson stated, "The point is to go to another person's home, even if that person is someone you do not know, connect with new people and maybe see some old friends while supporting some other organization through eating. Each person donates $10 to $20 dollars for the meal and each meal is supporting a different cause."

"This is the third year Lanesboro Local has done an event like this," Torgrimson said. "The first year E4E was pretty closely involved in the meal. Last year we really just shared recipes. This year Lanesboro Local has taken the responsibility to put everything together," she continued.

This type of system is exactly what Torgrimson wants. E4E now has branches in 10 different cities, including Seattle, Phonix, Minneapolis, Madison, Boston and Portland to name a few. However, the organization wants to continue starting new branches through grass roots efforts like in Lanesboro.

In April, E4E will begin an eight-month national tour with their newly remodeled trailer to establish more branches around the country.

Meanwhile, the execution of Lanesboro's E4E event is headed up by locals Enid Dunn and Nancy Martinson, with the help of dozens of area volunteers who will prepare and serve the meal. The dinner will celebrate Lanesboro Local's progress over the past five years and its new directions in 2014.

Mary Bell, one of the coordinators of the event, emphasized, "E4E is one way to offer services within the community. It is the fundraiser for Lanesboro Local. Lanesboro Local's underbelly is to support the community. We want to celebrate who we have been through having the store become more of a service and where people want to see us going."

One new thing this year is the opportunity for the people to give Lanesboro Local feedback on the event. "We hope this event will become a tradition. As such, we want to ask for people's input on how they see Lanesboro Local as being helpful in the community, what direction to go in the future and how connected people become, both as buying and selling as well as encouraging."

Some of the coordinator's ideas include class offerings, fieldtrips and programming aimed at enriching the diets, the health and lifestyle possibilities of residents of the area. Lanesboro Local is to sponsor hands-on and how-to classes giving the people opportunities for learning how to make fermented foods to enhance health, how to paint Plein aire, how to make fresh cheese and how to dry and preserve food from the garden. People may also suggest more ideas for a class or field trip to take or even teach.

The Feb. 8 Eat for Equity evening begins with an assortment of delectable appetizers and local libations. At 6:15 a gourmet dinner will be served. Courses include a pomegranate and pear salad with Gorgonzola and candied pecans on baby greens with a champagne vinaigrette dressing, and a delicious rustic Boeuf Bourguignon served with artisanal bread. Dessert will be a Grand Marnier chocolate mousse made with Kappers cream whipped with orange zest and topped with raspberries. The menu incorporates many ingredients that have been donated by or purchased from area growers and producers.

One of the event's coordinators, Jennifer Kimbel Olson, listed the sources of the menu's items. "The menu was chosen by assessing the inventory at Lanesboro Local and using many locally grown goods. We are using local beef for the rustic main entree, Boeuf Bourguignon. Local greens grown by Liz Bellina with St. Pete Cheese from Faribault Dairy, pears and pomegranate dressing will create a refreshing salad."

She further stated, "The cream from Kapper's Dairy of Chatfield and locally produced eggs will be the main ingredients for a delightful dessert - chocolate mousse laced with Grand Marnier. Local members are supplying home baked artisanal breads."

The food preparation will take place at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center and be transported to the Tacke residence in Lanesboro for the event, so the menu was chosen to be both memorable and portable.

Olson expressed the hope that most of Bluff Country would enjoy the gathering. "The event is for any and everyone. We look forward to as many people from the surrounding area attending this year's E4E as those who came last year," she reiterated.

Likewise, Bell shared, "We hope to have 60 to 70 people to attend, but everyone is welcome."

Lanesboro Local is a non-profit organization that encourages local food growers, artists, artisans and visitors from near and far whose interests and success directly contribute to the strength of the local economy. Its members and board of directors welcome everyone to attend this event. There are no tickets or reservations. Admission is simply a donation to Lanesboro Local's 2014 education project.