The 2021 Tampa Bay Collard Eco-friendly Competition did not disappoint –

Just shy of his 97th birthday, Mordecai Walker (middle) was topped the 2021 Collard Green King. Pictured below with his son Andrew Walker (left) and occasion co-founder Boyzell Hosey. Photos courtesy of Octavio Jones

BY MARK PARKER, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The fourth yearly Tampa Bay Collard Environmentally friendly Competition, held Saturday, Could 15, was a resounding results irrespective of organizers switching from a virtual to a travel-via structure and then last but not least to a hybrid in-person and virtual occasion.

“We’re truly pleased the way the festival turned out this 12 months – in fact, fairly ecstatic,” claimed co-founder Boyzell Hosey. “Early on, we regarded canceling completely, but users of the community inspired us to locate a way. The turnout, weather, and the in general fantastic vibe are however staying talked about in a large amount of circles.”

Held powering the Chief’s Creole Café on The Deuces, the sights, sounds, and smells ended up a delight to the senses as you walked in. Young ones joyfully ran close to and played with just about every other, seemingly with out a treatment in the environment. Songs to put you in a energetic spirit was everywhere, and the rhythmic appears of the drum circle could always be listened to in the qualifications.

Healing Fyah led the drum circle that also showcased Dundu Dole City African Ballet. They stored the crowd going and dancing in concerning shows and were 1 of several highlights of the working day.

Then there was the food items.

Instantly upon coming into, the smell of collards that had been cooking all day wafted by means of the air. A scent that probably introduced many individuals again to grandma’s home for Sunday dinners. The greens experienced their possess area to appreciate them, and for just $5, people today ended up taken care of to a smorgasbord of the well known southern dish.

Collard greens are not just a delicious staple of southern cooking they also provide many well being positive aspects.

“Collard greens are very nutrient-wealthy, contributing enough amounts of natural vitamins A, K, B-6, and C, calcium, iron, and magnesium,” said Rachel Lustgarten, a dietician specializing in diet at Weill Cornell Drugs to “Health positive aspects of collards include things like reduced cancer chance and improved coronary heart well being.”

These gains were powering the concept for the collard eco-friendly smoothies handed out by members of the American Culinary Federation of Tampa Bay. Even though the concept alone may perhaps switch some persons off, they gave out hundreds of samples, and virtually everyone that attempted them came absent impressed. They tasted like a banana and grape smoothie, other than with the additional gains of the collard greens.

Mary Frances from GiGi’s Playhouse was the inaugural collard eco-friendly recipe winner. Image courtesy of Octavio Jones.

The ACF also structured the very first substantial university collard environmentally friendly recipe winner. Mary Frances from GiGi’s Playhouse was the inaugural winner. GiGi’s offers totally free academic, therapeutic-dependent and job progress plans for persons with Down syndrome.

Frances’ chocolate and collard green cupcakes have been a colossal strike. Not only did she enthusiastically pass out samples, but they also gave out no cost cans of collard greens. Judging by Frances’ beaming smile, she appeared to be acquiring the time of her everyday living, sharing her delectable development with any one that handed by.

Whilst the ubiquitous collard eco-friendly was the star of the demonstrate, there was a myriad of meals vendors to fulfill virtually any craving. Holding with the emphasis on overall health and nourishment, most of these selections did not just flavor good but had been also great for you. There were being fresh new and domestically developed vegetables, eggs, and even vegan soul food stuff.

Holding with the concentration on advertising the wellbeing of the neighborhood, the pageant also highlighted a quantity of suppliers offering free companies. These integrated free COVID checks, signing people today up for Medicare, and registering men and women to vote. There have been booths selling mental well being and literacy, and Urban Agriculture was educating people about city farming.

Carla Bristol (remaining) and the Youth Farm Contributors| Image courtesy of Octavio Jones.

When Carla Bristol and some of her young children from the St. Petersburg Youth Farm took the phase to explore some of the lots of positive aspects of the farm, one youthful person, in individual, gained a rousing ovation for his honest, general public appreciation for the do the job and effort that Bristol puts into the undertaking and its young children.

“I am so grateful for Carla,” said Justin Bowman, 16. “She is so effective in the neighborhood and presents us the most critical factor – her time.”

“Choked up, surprising,” mentioned Bristol when requested her reaction to the form text.

The in-person part of the celebration was concluded with a specific presentation to Mordecai Walker, the 2021 Collard Eco-friendly King.

Gwendolyn Reese, president of the African American Heritage Affiliation, gave a rousing speech detailing the abundance of contributions that Walker has designed to the local community in the course of his prolonged and prosperous life, significantly battling again tears at periods.

“A few of months quick of 97, he is still a pillar in the group,” Reese reported.

Just after telling the story of Walker acquiring a pair of the first inexperienced benches that are fondly remembered by some and a resource of damage and humiliation by other people from St. Pete’s previous — 1 of which sits in Walker’s front lawn these days — Reese mentioned, “Not only does he have portion of our record, he is portion of our background.”

Whilst scaled back again this yr, the 2021 Tampa Bay Collard Inexperienced competition was not quick on food stuff, family, enjoyment, and health and fitness and was loved by a numerous group of all colours and ages that ended up content to be capable to arrive jointly yet again.

“This year’s turnout was definitely incredible I could not have prayed for a superior final result,” mentioned co-founder Samantha Harris. “I met so numerous men and women from different walks of lifestyle having fun with the festivities with their family members, pals, and even animals. I am so happy we decided to press forward this yr.”

If all goes in accordance to strategy, the 2022 competition will be held on Feb 19, from 10-5p.m.

To get to Mark Parker, email [email protected]

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