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"Local, Living Economies: Green, Fair and Fun"

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A national leader in the local, living economies movement visits the Triangle this week. Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and founder of Philadelphia's famed White Dog Cafe (www.whitedog.com) will give a free talk titled "Local, Living Economies: Green, Fair and Fun" Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The lecture is hosted by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), which last year presented a speech by Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini.

"We are determined to foster local and sustainable food systems that strengthen and support North Carolina's communities, farmers and environment," said CEFS Director Nancy Creamer.

For more information or to reserve seats, visit www.cefs.ncsu.edu or call 513-3924.

Panzanella (200 N. Greensboro St., Carrboro, 929-6626, www.panzanella.com) will host its last farm dinner of 2008 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15. In addition to most of its regular menu, the kitchen will prepare dishes inspired by the handcrafted cheeses made at Chapel Hill Creamery (615 Chapel Hill Creamery Road, 967-3757, www.southerncheese.com/Pages/chapelhill.html), from Flo Hawley and Portia McKnight's herd of Jersey cows. A percentage of proceeds will benefit the sustainable agriculture program at Central Carolina Community College. Cost varies; reservations are necessary only for parties of six or more.

Castle Rock Gardens (3232 Castle Rock Farm Road, Pittsboro, 545-0802, www.localharvest.org/farms/M16386) will hold a different kind of farm dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 14. This one is more participatory: Organizers of Potluck in a Pasture ask guests to bring a dish containing at least one local ingredient, the dish's recipe, beverages, lawn chair or blanket, and a donation to the Chatham County Arts Council. For more information, call 219-9840 or visit www.chathamarts.org.

And if you want to participate in an actual farm activity, head out to Benjamin Vineyards (6516 Whitney Road, Graham, 336-376-1080, www.benjaminvineyards.com) to help harvest their grapes; they'll show you how. Co-owner Nancy Zeman said that the harvesting is part of a $40 package of "harvest moon" activities with Saxapahaw neighbor businesses Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. (a moonlight canoe trip Sept. 13) and River Landing Inn (lunch, music, art Sept. 14), but if you just want to pick grapes, you can do that for free. Picking begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 14. Call ahead, and bring gloves.

Also Sept. 14, several locally owned restaurants will serve healthy dishes using fresh and local ingredients at Dish It Up, a fundraiser for the WakeMed Foundation's "Just for Kids Kampaign." The event runs from 2 to 7 p.m. at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre (www.boothamphitheatre.com). Last year, more than 30 restaurants participated, and the event raised more than $50,000 to benefit children's services at WakeMed Hospital. In addition to food, there will be live entertainment, games and activities. For tickets and more information, including a list of restaurants, visit www.wakemed.org.

Know of a food event? E-mail food@indyweek.com.

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