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Community Potluck at Fort Wayne's Wunderkammer hopes to bring homemade-food lovers together

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Get the details:

What: Community Potluck by the Northeast Indiana Food Swap
When: Noon on Sunday, March 9
Where: Wunderkammer, 3402 Fairfield Ave.
Cost: Free

-Watch out for more details on the Fort Wayne swap at Facebook page. Any other questions or concerns? Contact swap coordinator Mary Willems-Akers, at neifoodswap@gmail.com.

-For more information on Wunderkammer visit the website or Facebook page.

Friday, March 7, 2014 - 7:40 am

Potlucks are for more than office parties - now they're an invitation for the whole neighborhood.

From savory pies to homemade carrot cake, Fort Wayne residents are serving up dishes at the Community Potluck at noon Sunday at Wunderkammer, 3402 Fairfield Ave.

The goal of the Community Potluck is to connect like-minded people interested in local, homemade food to eat, share and chat.

All food should be homemade, and people are encouraged to bring serving utensils, dishes, flatware and drink. The more the merrier, so bring the kids along as well.

Mary Willems-Akers, organizer of the Community Potluck and the Northeast Indiana Food Swap, said it's also a fun opportunity to try new food and learn about traditions.

“At the swap, it's busy so we don't have a chance to sit, talk and eat our goods together. Our group makes amazing foods, but at the swap we are only trying samples of the product and taking it home. We are not engaging in that process of eating together,” she said.

The potluck is also an opportunity to learn more about the Northeast Indiana Food Swap without feeling the pressure during the busy event. The swap is a recurring event in which members of a community get together and share homemade, homegrown or foraged foods with one another. Swaps allow people to make direct trades with no money involved. Anything from canned jams and veggies to homemade baked goods. The possibilities are unlimited.

“It's a great introduction to the people, food and community we've built at the swap,” she said.

So far, it seems there will be a variety of options available on Sunday. One guest, who is gluten-free, plans on bringing gluten-free soup while Willems-Akers, who is vegetarian, will tote along a variety of hearty pies.

A social worker by trade, Willems-Akers just want to make sure people can have access to healthy, homemade food through building community.

Dan Swartz, owner at Wunderkammer, said partnering with the potluck since its inception last year is a no-brainer - it supports everything the gallery hopes to achieve in the mission and in the 46807 ZIP code area that they see as a food desert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as an area where one-third of the people are more than a mile from a supermarket where they can make healthy purchases. However, that ZIP code is not included in a list of Allen County food deserts.

“I love hosting them. We try make people feel, literally, at home here. For this type of event, it's perfect. What I love about it is that you have to relate to one another and share. It forces community building in this really interesting way,” he said. “I love anything that disrupts the current social system and promotes change. In the 46807 food desert, that's one of our goals,” he said.

The growing trend over the last few years is about getting to know your food, and both Willems-Akers and Swarz believe in that movement deeply.

“The culture of an art community and of the homegrown community are very similar - it's about making something by hand and that relationship. Art isn't only oil paintings, it can be food, too. We let our guards down at a dinner table - eating together can be an intimate thing,” he said.

-For more information on our group go visit the Facebook page.

-For more information on the food swap movement check out Food Swap Network

-Any other questions or concerns? Contact swap coordinator Mary Willems-Akers, at neifoodswap@gmail.com.

-For more information on Wunderkammer visit the website or Facebook page.