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Refuge Coffee Company, based in Clarkston, will be on hand at the Feed Diversity event serving coffee.

Restaurants and businesses from around DeKalb will help out with an inaugural event to highlight the vast contributions of local refugees and immigrants in building Atlanta’s food and beverage scene.

Friends Jason Santamaria of Second Self Beer and Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates came up with the idea of “Feed Diversity: Building a Bigger Table” after discussing the diversity that makes up many local kitchens.

“We wanted to take a stand to say here in Atlanta, we love what makes us diverse and we’re a melting pot of different cuisines. We want to celebrate the way we all meld together and work well together,” said Bowers.

The outdoor tasting event will feature Second Self pours and a pig roast and grilled chicken from Chef Andre Gomez of Porch Light Latin Kitchen in collaboration with Riverview Farms, Springer Mountain Farms and Big Green Egg. There will also be side dishes and bites from DeKalb restaurants including Steinbeck’s Ale House and Taiyo Ramen. Refuge Coffee Company, which serves the global community in Clarkston through coffee-related job creation, job training, social networking and commerce, will also serve coffee beverages from their espresso cart at the event.

“Many different restaurants have been invited to show up with a side dish that doesn’t necessarily represent their menus but more so the people who make up their kitchens,” said Bowers. “We’ve encouraged those participating to bring a dish that tells a story.”

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Danny works preparing bacon in the kitchen of Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates.

The event will be held on September 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Second Self Beer Company on the Westside located at 1317 Logan Circle NW. Tickets are available for $28 per person for food only or $42 per person for food and three pints of beer.

Second Self Beer Company will be brewing a special sour guava beer for the event and Santamaria said the outdoor tasting is open to everyone. “We wanted to keep the prices of the tickets down to host a casual and fun event, but we’re really aiming to bring awareness to a couple of nonprofits that will be on site as well,” said Santamaria, who is a resident of Kirkwood in DeKalb County.

Proceeds from the tasting will go to local nonprofits Global Growers and Friends of Refugees. Global Growers specializes in providing comprehensive agricultural support in refugees, including farmland acquisition and management, aggregation and distribution services which facilitates market access and sales for partner farmers, as well as education and technical assistance in organic fruit and vegetable production. Friends of Refugees, based in Clarkston, has a mission to empower refugees through opportunities that provide for their well-being, education and employment. The nonprofit’s programs have facilitated hundreds of job placements, served hundreds of children summer camp and after-school programs, taught hundreds of mothers and children English together, welcomed dozens of healthy babies born in their labor doula program, filled family kitchen tables with fresh produce from their plots in their community gardens, created thousands of handcrafted items in the Refugee Sewing Society, and helped launch new businesses through the StartME business accelerator.

Bowers and Santamaria said they hope to see the Feed Diversity tasting grow and become an annual event. “This is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts,” said Bowers.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. May 23: Neighbor Newspapers informed this afternoon that the event was rescheduled to September 16.


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