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Posted 02/20/2015 12:00AM

Chef Matthew Raiford, culinary arts coordinator at College of Coastal Georgia and a sixth generation farmer on his family’s farm Gilliard Farms, helped come up with the idea of the The Remedy Project’s “Supper at the Farm” fundraiser. The Brunswick News/File

There are a lot of people, particularly those from the South and Midwest regions of the nation, who can trace their roots back to one or more family farms.

These same folks have memories of dining on simply and lovingly prepared, freshly-harvested food. In the not-too-distant past, making a grocery store run for every little thing wasn’t an option. Many people, even those in town, kept substantial vegetable gardens year-round.

Those lucky enough to attend Sunday’s “Supper at the Farm” event to benefit The Remedy Project will either get to relive some of those precious memories or perhaps get to have the experience for the first time.

The Remedy Project is, according to executive director John Keen, a faith-based addiction counseling ministry.

“The counseling staff of Remedy are professional credentialed addiction counsels that offer professional services to folks in our community that cannot afford those services,” he said, adding that Remedy stresses the importance of developing the client’s spiritual life along with the clinical work. “We have a saying at The Remedy Project that says there are many ways to get sober, but only one way to be free, and that comes from a personal relationship with God.”

The Remedy Project never charges its clients for services, Keen said.

“In 2014, we gave away over $75,000 in professional services.”

The dinner was the brainchild of chefs Dave Snyder of Halyards Restaurant Group and Matthew Raiford, the culinary arts coordinator at College of Coastal Georgia and a sixth generation farmer on his family’s land. Gilliard Farms has been in Raiford’s family since 1874.

Keen explained that Lisa Wicker, development consultant for the Remedy Project, had worked with Snyder on a similar project in Macon.

“We feel it’s a unique event that has not been done in this area,” Keen said.

The sold-out event, which is the largest annual fundraising event for the organization, recently learned they had been awarded a challenge grant.

“Every dollar we raise at this event will be matched dollar for dollar up to $35,000 by the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation,” he said.

Wicker said Keen felt it would be good for people to experience an evening on a local farm.

“Gilliard Farms is one of the few certified organic farms in the area,” she said. “Much as Matthew nurtures his plants with non-toxic substances, the Remedy Project seeks to nurture our clients and support them in healthy ways during their journey through recovery.”

Raiford is enthusiastic about both the ambiance and the menu for the evening.

“We’ll be out on the farm; there will be chandeliers in the oak trees and tents on the grounds,” he said.

Dinner will take place in what family members refer to as “the valley.” In reality, it’s an old railroad bed that has been long since abandoned.

“The old Southern Railroad used to run through the property,” Raiford said.

A number of local and regional farms, including Sapelo Farms of Glynn County and Canewater Farms and Coastal Gourmet Growers, both of McIntosh County, were sourced for food.

“The hogs came from Hunter Cattle and the chickens from Grass Roots,” Raiford said. “Everything came from no more than two hours away.”

The concept for putting the dinner togethe
The Brunswick News
MARY STARR

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