EmpTea Bowls Fundraiser to help fund garden program

Barbara Hootman

Local potters’ handcrafted tea bowls stand ready to help raise money for the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden apprenticeship program at the EmpTea Bowls fundraiser event on April 17. The event, from 3:30-7 p.m. at Dobra Tea Room and Vegetarian Café in Black Mountain, is being held for the third year.

Weather permitting, the fundraiser will be held on Dobra’s outside patio, business owner Andrew Snavely said. There will be vegetarian food and gluten- free pastries. Aditi and Jay Brown, two local musicians, will perform.

“We are delighted to help the community garden and our town at the same time,” Snavely said.

“This fundraiser has become essential to the garden,” said Diana McCall, manager of the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden. “In the past, partnerships paid for annual internship opportunities at the garden, but that funding source ended. Although the garden relies on volunteer labor, internships are important educational opportunities the garden has provided for many years. Interns provide the garden with consistent and predictable labor.

McCall likes having interns because she can build a relationship with them that may be more solid than those created with occasional volunteers. “We can build on skills from week to week, and they can take on greater responsibilities and contribute in a bigger way. I take pride in offering a high-equality experience. The presence of interns in the garden means I am motivated to be constantly learning and improving our programs.”

Karen Scott, a volunteer in the garden since 2006, hopes to become a paid intern. The EmpTea Bowls fundraiser will determine whether the garden is able to hire her, McCall said.

“Karen has been a community garden member for many years and has a deep love for the garden,” McCall said. “Recent events in her life showed her that she wanted to work in the garden and become more fully involved. Money is a necessary component for Karen to join our team.”

Scott is coordinating the EmpTea Bowls fundraiser this year.

“We will have approximately 100 tea bowls on hand for the event, at a cost of $15 each,” she said. “Four potters have donated bowls for the event - Maud Boleman of Black Mountain Studios, Andrea Freeman from Odyssey and Martha Nelson and Sadie Musick, ceramics students from Warren Wilson College. There is a possibility that more tea bowls will be donated by students from Black Mountain Center for the Arts.”

For more, contact Scott at