For the past three years, Growing Hope has hosted the Ypsi Food Awards as our spring fundraiser and an opportunity to recognize our local food heroes. This year, we’ve decided to shake things up a bit and use this fundraiser as a platform to actively involve our community and partners in the work we do. We’re challenging you to a food fight! We’ve invited your favorite local restaurants to engage in a little friendly competition while raising awareness of and support for the Ypsilanti local food system. What’s a “local food system”?  It is the financial, social, and structural relationship between local growers, restaurants, markets, and YOU. You have more power in your local food system than you may realize. Are you using that power to support the local makers, growers, and businesses you love? When we actively take part in our local food system with thoughtful decisions about where and how we grow, purchase, make, and sell our food, we have greater control and knowledge about where our food comes from and how it influences the lives of all people in our community.  As residents of Washtenaw County, we can help create and support a food system that is rooted in where we live, is economically viable for growers and consumers, uses ecologically sound production and distribution practices, and elevates social equity. Everyone deserves to access local products and the resources and support to start their own small food business. Growing Hope is working to make this a reality for our most underserved community members. The more we as a community understand our role in the local food system, the more we can positively influence the experience of our more vulnerable neighbors and lift each other up. So let’s do this! Let’s have a party where our local food champions can be recognized, our local food leaders can showcase their talents, and you can support the movement towards food equity. To open the evening, guests will enjoy samples of the competing dishes from our participating restaurants and rate their favorites. An hour in, the chefs will enter the ring to have their dish publicly tasted and judged by five special guest judges in a blind tasting. The winner will be announced after each tasting round and guests can compare results to their own score card. Come taste the food, enjoy the party, and support a fair local food system! Purchase your tickets here: A limited number of Early Bird tickets are available at a discounted rate.