A new dining event will bring the farm to a table in the heart of downtown Elkhart.

The inaugural Feast to Feed meal is being planned for Aug. 20 at Central Park between the Elkhart Riverwalk and Civic Plaza.

The event will put as many as 200 people at two long, curved tables enjoying a menu inspired by the farm-to-table concept.

Ed Battjes got the idea from a restaurant near LaPorte and wanted to use it to help others. He’s on the boards of both the Elkhart Salvation Army and St. John’s Episcopal Church, which has a pantry that distributed 60 tons of food to people in need last year.

There are hundreds of charitable organizations locally. “These two have similar missions of feeding those in need,” he said. A meal that benefits both will unite people at least in a small way, he added.

Kurt Janowsky, who owns Artisan and other restaurants and catering businesses in the Navarre Hospitality Group, has gone to dinners called “Outstanding in the Field” and was wanting to model a local event after that. A giant table is put in a farm field and around 200 are served great food as the sun sets. “It just looks really cool,” he said.

His chefs and employees are ordering and preparing the food for the meal that won’t be in a farm field, but downtown. If it rains, the meal will move to Wellfield Botanic Garden.

The ingredients will be local, including vegetables from Steve Kruse and chicken and pork Gunthorp in LaGrange. “It’s a good time of year to do that kind of stuff and keep it local,” he said.

The meal, which starts at 5 p.m., will be served family-style at two curved tables to seat 100 each, he said.

Tickets are $100 each and available from the Lerner Theatre box office or its website. About 100 tickets were still available as of Monday, Aug. 8.

“Should be fun. I’m hoping this becomes something people really enjoy talking about, something we can do annually,” Janowsky said.

There’s been a lot of community support already, Battjes said.

The event has a number of sponsors, including Flavor 574, 1st Source Bank and Navarre Hospitality Group.

“I think it’s a great event for Elkhart,” Battjes said. “It’s great for downtown. Downtown’s coming back.”

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