Author: Danielle Christopher
Friends of L.A.’s art and music scene got a taste of local organic food last Thursday at an event called Concreat. In the heart of Downtown L.A., artists Hit + Run, Jessica Grillo and Babydelic showcased and sold their artwork, which ranged from screen-printed tee-shirts to murals of cats. Non-profit web radio Dublab provided an eclectic variety of music and many local musicians performed live, including Young Old Man, Seven Davis Jr. and Puro Instinct. To the left of the stage, Young Folks Urban Farmers sold vegetarian tacos made from local ingredients. Organized by Occidental alum Daniel Lawler ’10, Concreat combined the conscious creativity of like-minded people hoping to bring about change through their respective art-forms and food values.
After graduating with a major in Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP) at Occidental, Lawler started volunteering at a farm outside L.A. He and his friend Julia Carr soon thereafter founded Young Folks Urban Farmers to change the way people view healthy eating. “Julia Carr and I started Young Folks Urban Farmers with the intention of promoting farming to youth,” Lawler said. “We are a group of young people who want to change the way our communities feed themselves.”
Lawler looked forward to having his organization host Concreat and blend L.A. culture with wholesome food. He felt that people in this community need more exposure to farm-fresh produce and healthy lifestyles, just as they need to connect to the art culture of L.A. ”There’s a sort of disconnect between the art scene and music scene in L.A. A lot of people don’t know that they live in basically the art capital of the world,” Lawler said. “And I’ve also seen that disconnect in the food values too, with people not knowing how to eat healthy or that local and organic food exist.”
Carr, co-founder of Young Folks Urban Farmers, viewed Concreat as a means of promoting healthy ideals rather than simply publicity for their organization. “The main goal of this event was to bring creative conscious people together in a space to celebrate beautiful things,” Carr said. “Providing food and alcohol is only the first step to having people come out and celebrate positivism.”
Isaac Cohen ’11, one of the artists from the screen-printing company Hit + Run, also recognized the importance of hosting this unique event. “I think the idea of the event is phenomenal,” Cohen said. “Dan did a great job of bringing in live music and art and channeling all those energies into one great event.”
Local artist Jessica Gilla, who showcased her cat-themed sewn art, agreed that these types of events need to happen in order to promote a positive outlook in an environment like L.A. which often lacks personal connection. ”These events mirror the type of change we, as artists, are trying to create in the world,” Gilla said. “The world has been manipulated by forces out of our control, whether that be art or healthy eating. But now we are coming together to change this.”
A handful of Occidental students attended the event, several of whom saw the event advertised on posters around campus. Carr personally invited Julia Kingsley (sophomore) during a Sept. 11 day of service event at the Young Folks Urban Farmers’ farm. Kingsley thought the event was particularly successful at getting the name of Young Folks Urban Farmers out in the community. “[Combining music, art and food] makes so much sense,” Kingsley said. “A lot of people who are really interested in music and art will come out and see the food here too, so it’s a great way for them [Young Folks Urban Farmers] to get their name out there.”
Concreat was the first event hosted by Young Folks Urban Farmers, but Lawler hopes to continue this tradition of bringing art and organic foods together throughout L.A. “We want to build a movement. We’re always looking for volunteers to help us out at the farm, and I just think, ‘What better way to meet people and promote the organization’s ideals than to throw a big party?'” Lawler said.
To learn more about this organization, their upcoming events or how to volunteer at their farm, e-mail Daniel Lawler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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