"Enhance the health and well-being of residents by uplifting natural and cultural amenities and improving greenspaces, walkability, and resiliency. Build on the use of Adinkra symbols into physical spaces and programming. Develop Cleo’s Café and Bodega as a community anchor to provide healthy food that is a ordable to current neighbors and accepts EBT. Create an integrated campus between Flanner House and Watkins Park with focus on existing successful events, such as Jazz in the Park and Open Bit..." Read more
"» Open Bite Night: Ridiculous! is this Saturday (October 7) at Flanner House (2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.). The food festival started last year in the back yard of Ro and Earl Townsend as a fundraiser for their nonprofit #GRoE, Inc. (Gather Resources, Offer to Everyone), and was moved less than a year later to Flanner House to accommodate more than..." Read more
When Ro and Earl Townsend opened a corner store in their home in the Clifton Rader community northwest of downtown Indianapolis, they saw the shop as an opportunity to get to know new neighbors. When they learned the candy, chips and walking tacos that some of the neighborhood kids had purchased would serve as their dinner, they decided to do something about it. The Townsends started feeding the neighborhood kids a couple times a week, then later decided to take it a step further and throw a block party and cookout. They called the event Open Bite Night. “The very first one w..." Read more
JULY 5, 2017 ~ by DREW DAUDELIN PBS/WFYI "Ro and Earl Townsend live in what some call the MLK neighborhood, northwest of downtown Indianapolis. It’s one of the poorest areas in the city. They're known for hosting fine dining events, starting an open-mic poetry show, and handing out bags of food to hungry kids. These are all fairly manageable side projects for the couple, who are also raising five children. But their latest project got really big, really fast. It started with ..." Read more and listen to the audio HERE
This is the story of a husband and wife who started their own nonprofit to create positive change in their neighborhood. Ro and Earl Townsend are all about their community, and when they saw a need there, these social entrepreneurs didn't wait for someone else to fill it - they stepped up and addressed the issue themselves. RoE's (Ro + Earl) primary goal is to illuminate the worth and value in individuals, and use resources and community partnershi..." Read more
Justin Jacobs, IndyStar correspondent Published 11:02 a.m. ET April 17, 2017
"Getting started in the food industry is no easy task—and that’s why local non-profit GRoE, Inc. launched Open Bite Nights. These nights shine a spotlight on local talent and give the community a great place to eat delicious food and spend time together. For the Revolution installment, expect 20 local cooks to be slinging their best dishes, alongside poe..." Read more
Questions, comments or suggestions?
When we, Earl and Ro, were catering toddlers wobbling around the world of independent food service, we quickly realized not only how important it was to have an audience taste our food, but rather how IMPERATIVE it was to our success. After completely and utterly flubbing our first big catering event, we rebounded by hosting our own 'Launch Night' where we shed around $700 out of pocket to turn our house at the time into a fine dining establishment and invited 40 or so of our closest friends over to eat our food. It was an invaluable and necessary investment into ourselves. That particular night went really well, with our friends posting pictures on various social media platforms and tagging us. It was exactly what we needed to get our feet off of the ground.
Reflecting on our humble beginnings in catering, along with an impromptu meeting with then caterer, Chef Oya Woodruff of Chef Oya's the Trap, led us to the idea for Open Bite Night. Starting a business from the ground up is expensive, exhausting and requires full focus and commitment. Because we're a part of that world, we wanted to do something in order to give other up-and-coming cooks, chefs and caterers a platform for people to try their food, thus giving them the exposure they need without coming out of pocket for anything besides ingredients.
The first OBN was planted on July 9, 2016. Our desire was for each cook to focus solely on cooking and plating their food, and we would provide the stage. They didn't have to pay for vendor space and we provided some of their supplies. This was our investment into these businesses. Each cook prepared 2-4 small plates and we asked for $2-5 donations per dish.
The second part of Open Bite Night was the incorporation of local artists. In addition to catering, we are artists as well, so we have many artistic friends that range from spoken word poetry to jazz singers. And because food and entertainment go hand in hand, we solicited performances from roughly 20 or so local acts. Some, we were familiar with, and others we were e-introduced. Visual artists that were participating in an art installment in the neighborhood were also incorporated in a subtle yet powerful way. The artistic side of the show was phenomenal.
Our first OBN in 2016 was expected to draw 50-75 patrons; roughly 300 actually attended. We have since grown with our most recent event, Open Bite Night: Roots, garnering nearly 3,000 neighbors. This formula of food, art, and business has continued to illuminate the love, talent, and village culture that exists in Indianapolis, and it is a force to experience.
• We want to empower people and unearth their hidden talents. • We want to help people achieve personal successes. • Our motivation is unification. • We can ALL win.
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