Green Heart’s annual dinner set Thursday

David Quick/Staff Students at Mitchell Elementary were all smiles during the fourth annual Green Heart Project Harvest Dinner.

In what is becoming a tradition for the end of the school year in Charleston, a nonprofit “farm-to-school” program will hold its fifth annual Green Heart Harvest Dinner 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Mitchell Elementary School.

Locals are invited to attend the fundraiser, featuring a menu of local food, musical performances and other activities, for $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Founded in 2009 at Mitchell, the Green Heart Project builds garden-based learning projects not only to educate students, but connect people and build community through growing, eating and celebrating fresh food.

“The Harvest Dinner is the culmination of what we do at the Green Heart Project,” says Executive Director Drew Harrison. “It brings the community together to eat and celebrate what the garden can teach us — that math, science and healthy ingredients can be delicious.”

Thursday’s menu includes barbecue pork and chicken prepared by Jamie Westendorff; sides of curried sweet potato salad or smoke potato salad; a charred leek and red romaine salad with Italian herb and roasted tomato vinaigrette; raw bitter greens salad with “intensely aromatic” lemon vinaigrette; summer strawberry salad from Verde; lemonade by The Juice Joint; and popsicles by The King of Pops.

Harrison says the menu for the event was created by chef Ira Hill of the Burke High School culinary arts program and that each menu item incorporates fresh ingredients from Mitchell’s school garden.

Harrison says the event “really fills our kids up with pride, as they’ve worked so hard to grow some of the ingredients.”

Besides the food, the event will feature garden tours, a mobile farmer’s market, games, a bike valet and music by the Garage Cuban Band.

Besides Westendorff and Burke’s culinary program, Limehouse Produce and Green Heart’s restaurant partner, Taco Boy, help to make the event “spectacular,” says Harrison.

“Last year we had over 700 people come out for the event, and are hoping to have a similar turnout this year.”