Mike Cundick of Artists For Local Agriculture, a local organization dedicated to educating artists and musicians on sustainable gardening. Photo provided by frankBENNETT photography
At times, it can be depressing to see how much of our mass communication potential is squandered on the lives and exploits of completely useless people. Though that is not likely to change any time soon, there is an opposite side of that coin. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences are put together with one goal in mind: assemble a wide range of intellectual and creative rock stars, have them offer solutions to some serious world issues and broadcast their ideas online. TEDx events, like the one that recently took place here in Salt Lake, are independently organized and operated by third-party groups that are looking to recreate the TED experience on a local level. Though TEDx sold out quickly, there was still plenty of intellectual stimulation to be had at the After Glow event that evening, hosted by Revolution United.
The atrium of the Salt Lake Hardware Building is one of the most aesthetically pleasing environments in the city—perfect for hosting an event like After Glow. Moving among exposed brick walls and towering support beams, guests were treated to a plethora of stations that featured everything from local art to information about nonprofit organizations that are trying to make our state a better place.
After Glow’s schedule was designed a lot like its TEDx progenitor. Speakers from local organizations such as Olanova, Impact Hub Salt Lake and Spy Hop shed some light on what they’re trying to accomplish and how people can get involved. In between these presentations, aerial contortionists Amy Olson, Piper Mathews and Adriane Colvin treated attendees to shows of acrobatic prowess.
Among the several innovative and progressive organizations present, I found the story behind the Spice Kitchen Incubator to be inspiring on two levels—first, it offers an avenue for refugees from outside of the United States to learn the skills necessary to provide for themselves and their families; second, it involves the cooking of exotic and delicious food.
As a business incubator, Spice Kitchen not only provides its members with cooking skills, but also helps them find affordable restaurant space along with workshops that provide information about how to make an independent business become viable within the community. This means a more diverse dining landscape within our state and it gives refugees an opportunity to provide for themselves while retaining a crucial part of their culture.
Members of the Spice Kitchen Incubator as well as folks from local Indian favorite Saffron Valley provided this evening’s catering. I piled a plate almost vulgarly high with vegetable and meat sambusas (a bit like fluffy samosas—I’m a sucker for dough stuffed with meat), and three chicken dishes—tandoori tikka, hariyali kebabs and nawabi. In addition to this flavorful meal, homemade baklava and kunafeh was provided. All of the food was excellent, and I found myself lured back to the buffet table more than once.
Towards the end of the event, we were treated to the alt-folk music of Birds in the Trees and Tim Greenlagh with guitarist Morgan Snow. It was the kind of relaxed and effortless music that nicely punctuated an event that opened our minds with new and intriguing ideas and filled our bellies with new and intriguing food.
After attending this event, it’s pretty clear to see that Utah is no stranger to innovative community members. Make sure to check out the above links if you’re interested in learning more about some of the people who are striving to make our state and our planet a better place.