SEEDS Harvest Dinner to bring a night of food, fundraising, and community

In an effort to raise money and bring the community together, SEEDS will be hosting its 12th Annual Harvest Dinner at the Pavilion at Durham Central Park on Thursday, Sept. 24.

SEEDS (South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces) is central Durham’s nonprofit community educational garden. Since 1994, the garden has been working to promote sustainable agriculture and establish an educational space.

“It is really a place that is important to the community,” said Vianey Martinez, a Durham resident and former SEEDS teen gardener who is now a senior at UNC-CH.

Emily Egge

SEEDS Executive Director Emily Egge poses in front of the recently finished dry-stack stonewall, one of the newest additions to SEEDS. Proceeds from the Harvest Dinner will go towards renovations such as these in the next few months. (Staff photo by Palak Patel)

Emily Egge, executive director of SEEDS, says the Harvest Dinner is the single largest fundraiser SEEDS holds. Therefore, the dinner plays a very important role in the community. Egge says this year the Harvest Dinner is expected to showcase a variety of tastes from 10 to 12 local chefs and restaurants.

“We are so fortunate to have such a creative group of culinary artists in this community that really embrace the same values SEEDS does,” said Egge.

According to Egge, every year there is something new to look forward to with the dinner. This year it will be Picnic, a new restaurant located at 1647 Cole Mill Rd. Owner Ben Adams will be debuting the food at the dinner before the restaurant opens later this year.

Last year, the dinner added a silent auction to the evening’s lineup. The auction has since expanded and become a community effort. SEEDS will be auctioning off gift packages, the theme of which Egge describes as “Durham-based experiences.”

According to the SEEDS website, the silent auction will feature everything from an elegant Durham date night to a private flying lesson with a licensed pilot.

“We wanted to focus on things that really reflect what it is that we do and what we believe in,” said Egge. “The silent auction is special because it continues to give exposure to local businesses and opportunities for our community to connect with each other.”

However, the Harvest Dinner is not only a cocktail, fundraiser, and auction. Jody White, Development and Outreach Coordinator for SEEDS, says the dinner is also a reflection on SEEDS.

According to White, every year during the Harvest Dinner, the executive director and the program directors give a brief update on what SEEDS has accomplished in the past year.

“The staff is really great at emphasizing the importance of everyone here at SEEDS during the dinner,” said Martinez.

White describes the dinner as a way for the garden to give back to the community. The money raised from the dinner will help SEEDS complete a number of projects.

“It is a review of how far we’ve come,” said White. “It is time for all of us to come together to financially and emotionally support what we’re doing here at SEEDS.”

Egge encourages all members of the community to come out the event, old and new.

“We have built this for the last couple of years as the most delicious night in Durham and I still believe it is,” said Egge. “This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get a taste of Durham.”

For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit or contact Jody White at