Guests enjoy dinner at Farm Discovery at Live Earth's benefit dinner in 2017. —Photo by Liz Birnbaum/contributed

WATSONVILLEFarm Discovery at Live Earth Farm, an organization aiming to empower youth and their families through farm-based education programs, will host its annual benefit dinner on Sept. 24.

“Mesa: Farm Discovery Fall Feast in the Fields” will have guests enjoying a multi-course meal with a view of the Pajaro Valley, featuring local, seasonal food and wine, live music, auctions and more. All proceeds will benefit Farm Discovery’s programs. 

Jessica Ridgeway, executive director at Farm Discovery, said that last year’s event was their most successful to date, raising $80,000—nearly double the amount in 2019.

“There was a special energy and our supporters were really generous,” Ridgeway said. “We hope we can inspire the same level of support or more this year.” 

Ridgeway said that Farm Discovery recently invested in its produce distribution program by creating a new field manager position.

“We are hoping to raise enough to buy a van,” she said, “to help move that produce from our fields to our partner agencies.”

The benefit dinner, which will be held at Live Earth’s upper farm, will feature a dinner prepared by Chef Jessica Yarr and students from the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s culinary program. The meal will include appetizers and a salad course, Chef Diego Felix’s empanadas, wine and beer, cocktails from Venus Spirits, Dos Hombres Mezcal and Iconic Cocktails, and dessert from NotPie Cakery.

The event will also include live music by The Squirrels of Wisdom and speeches by Congressman Jimmy Panetta and local students. A live auction will be held at the event, and a silent auction that is available to anyone will launch online Sept. 17. 

Ridgeway said that the dinner is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

“We raise almost 25% of our funds that support for almost 4,000 kids and families,” she said, “and the growing and distribution of over 85,000 pounds of organic produce to our community members in need.”

“Mesa” will be held Sept. 24 from 4-8pm at Live Earth Farm, 172 Litchfield Lane. Tickets are $200 for a single general ticket and $250 for a single premium ticket. Group tickets for tables of 10 are also available. 

Ridgeway said she hopes attendees will be inspired to continue to support the work being done at Farm Discovery. 

“We put so much love into everything, from the theme and the aesthetic to the impeccable ingredients, skilled artisans and carefully curated auctions,” she said. “Whether it is through financial support or the gift of time or expertise, we hope they will feel appreciated and spoiled by this truly unique event.”

For information, to purchase tickets and for information about sponsoring, visit

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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