The Soup's On at FIG Dinner

Macomb, IL – A dinner in Macomb offered not just free food - but free, locally produced food.

This is the first time the Food Initiatives Group (FIG) hosted a free dinner. It took place at the First Presbyterian Church.

FIG's Holly Stovall hopes the group will organize more free dinners. She says free dinners offer a chance for people from different parts of the community to come together and break bread.

"Everybody can enjoy good food, everybody and anybody. So we were glad to see that so many different kinds of people have come out today," says Stovall.

Stovall says there are many reasons to cook with locally produced foods. She says shoppers who buy local foods contribute to the local economy.

Stovall also believes bonds are built through local foods.

"I like the idea that people can sit down together in the same room and not know each other and enjoy this really good food," says Stovall. "And there was definitely a lot of bonding all day today while we were cooking. I got to know a lot of people a lot better."

Stovall also thinks healthier, better quality food is produced through smaller, local farms.

"When we use industrialized food, especially when they're animals, I call those sad animals, and I think we should be eating happy animals," says Stovall. "When these animals are happy they're also healthier for us to eat."

She says local foods raised in a more traditional way are usually richer in nutrients and lower in chemical residue.

The menu for FIG's free dinner included chicken noodle soup, an Italian chickpea soup, sweet potato soup, and a chili. Diners also feasted on rolls, cornbread, and apple crisps.

Booths at the dinner provided information about plans for a community garden and tips for growing sprouts at home. Diners could also pick up copies of the soup recipes.