ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A Twin Cities artist has teamed up with a chef and an army of volunteers to do something that’s never been done in Minnesota before. On Sunday, they are setting up an outdoor dinner table for 2,000 people.

The meal will stretch across eight blocks of Victoria Street in St. Paul, but what’s more impressive is what will be on those plates. All the food is coming from Minnesota farms and each dish is designed to showcase healthy eating.

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The event is called “Create: The Community Meal.” The meal will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Seitu Jones, an artist known for large scale public art, called on chef James Baker from Sunnyside Cafe in Minneapolis to help pull the project off. Jones is passionate about making sure everyone has access to healthy, fresh food and learns how to cook it.

“The philosophic base of my work is you should leave your community more beautiful than you found it,” Jones said. “Folks have forgotten how to cook. So this meal for 2,000 people at a table a half-mile long, in my neighborhood for my neighbors, is a demonstration on healthy eating.”

With money from a grant and help from St. Paul Public Art to produce the event, Jones and Baker are now just days away from making the project a reality.

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They chose chicken as the entrée, a meat that’s popular in most cultures. It’s being seasoned with ginger, soy sauce, and honey. The menu also includes black beans, collard greens, green beans, brown rice and cornbread.

Think cooking all that food is a challenge? Imagine serving it. Six food stations will be set up along Victoria Street so that volunteers can serve everyone around the same time.

Victoria Street from University Avenue to Minnehaha Avenue will be blocked off to accommodate the community meal. They plan to have 42 tables per block and eight people per table.

“People who sit down and break bread together find out they have more in common than dislikes, but we don’t sit down and do it any more together,” Baker said.

All 2,000 free tickets have been given out, but they still need volunteers to help get the food to the table and to clean up afterwards.

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By the numbers, the dinner menu involves:

  • 550 chickens, each four pounds
  • 60 cases of collard greens, each with 24 bunches
  • 400 pounds of green beans
  • 400 pounds of brown rice
  • 500 pounds of black beans
  • 2,200 servings of corn bread