Forging a better way: Fundraiser at Art Museum aims to plant a seed |

Forging a better way: Fundraiser at Art Museum aims to plant a seed

Klara Meyer
The Aspen Times
Vegetables grown from the greenhouse garden of Chef Tiffany Pineda-Scarlett and her husband, Chef Joey Scarlett, the founders of The Farmer and Chef and operators of the Aspen Art Museum Rooftop Café.
Aspen Art Museum/Courtesy Photo

At 6 p.m. Sunday, the rooftop cafe of the Aspen Art Museum will open to ticket holders with an array of artful cuisine sourced from the crops of Seed Peace founder and farmer Casey Piscura. 

Seed Peace works to forge a better food system starting at the seed through seed research, farmer training and hunger relief. 

“We are working on the things that people need,” Piscura said. This includes “developing the varieties (in crop seed) that end up being the backbone of the producers, so they’re sure they have a resilient seed that knows how to grow in this climate.” 

This event is combining a community of local, small-scale farm advocates. The Farmer & Chef founders Tiffany Pineda-Scarlett and Joey Scarlett, as well as Bosq Aspen head chef Barclay Dodge have partnered in the kitchen to create a culinary experience from Piscura’s abundant selection of crops. 

Aspen Art Museum/Courtesy Photo

They have joined forces with the same goals to build healthy soils, plants and bodies for the longevity of our planet and local food system. 

Pineda-Scarlett tells of her belief in hyperseasonal and hyperlocal foods: “We feel that one of the most important things that our food system needs is to shift away from large-scale agriculture and towards small-scale agriculture.” 

The Farmer & Chef duo commends the efforts of small-scale farmers who are “really putting their money where their mouth is and changing people’s outlook on farm fresh products.”

Their support is more than just words. They source between 80% and 90% of all their produce used daily at the AAM cafe from the Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys. 

These champions of regenerative agriculture have found a way to bring local art from the soil to the plate. Everything from the unique quality of Piscura’s seeds to the decorations on the tables will display this form of living art at the event on Sunday. 

On the menu

In the collaboration of these three chefs, the menu is showcasing culinary-art sustainability and 100% locally focused. Having bonded quickly over the process of fermenting fresh produce to create lasting powders of flavor all season long, these chefs are doing everything possible to minimize waste. 

Aspen Art Museum/Courtesy Photo

The menu has been curated to highlight what Seed Peace and Piscura specialize in. Based on the current selection of produce, including a rare high-mountain watermelon, the menu makes the most of available crops and minimizes waste. 

Seed Peace is located on Sunfire Ranch in Carbondale. This is the same land that once belonged to the original settlers of Crystal Valley 128 years ago. 

The team aims to bring guests into the history of the land itself. Using a variety of seeds and fermented herbs and powders, they plan to bring the life force of these crops to the main dishes. 

The founders of The Farmer & Chef said that we are all a part of the land we grow, live, and eat from, and these dishes act as an artful reminder of that.

“We will be serving carrots cooked in soil from the farm, so that the whole ecosystem and microbes are included in that dish,” Scarlett said. “We’re making an edible soil out of (fermented herbs and powders).” 

Using the colorful variety of mountain-grown seeds, the team is designing the shape of a stream across the tables. But, at the end of the event, each seed that contributed to the visual art will have to be collected and stored carefully, ensuring the longevity of Seed Peace’s mission. 

“We’re just trying to show off the art of growing, the magic of seed saving and what you can create,” Piscura said. “We are excited to highlight this other form of local art that is growing, and we hope to catalyze even more growth.”

The Aspen Art Museum has played a large role in allowing them to showcase the work of seed saving as an art form. 

“It drives people to it,” Dodge said. “The venue really offers the ability to capture the upvalley clientele, and it did.” 

This event sold out in the middle of September for $150 per ticket. 

All funds will go toward Seed Peace and their mission to change food systems and possibly save the planet through small-scale farming, research, and education.

“The way that we have done seed saving tells a story on its own because, over the last 10 years, we have developed new varieties, colors and flavors and, ultimately, really dived deep into how you can create art on the farm in the form of seeds,” Piscura said. 

See the details of the event on the Aspen Art Museum website.