Upcycled Fashion Show at 2nd Annual Food & Farmers Expo

By Karen Klaus

Operation Food Search Nutritionistas inspired by Colors of the Fall Harvest Upcycled Fashion Show Planned For Sept. 18 at Food & Farmer’s Expo. Operation Food Search.

Local hunger-relief leader, Operation Food Search, partnered with RUNG, a boutique featuring upcycled clothing, for a fashion photo-shoot at Wayside Community Garden in Normandy, one of the local community gardens where OFS teaches on-site nutrition classes.   These same fashions and more will be on display at an Upcycled Fashion Show, 12-1pm at the 2nd Annual Food & Farmers Expo being held at the Webster Groves Recreation Complex, 33 East Glendale Road in Webster Groves.

Fall fashion conjures up yummy colors – the dark purple of eggplant, deep green kale, crimson beet, vine-ripened tomato red, mustardy squash, and flaming pumpkin.  “We thought it would be fun to replicate the cornucopia of colors available in the garden through fashion to reinforce the importance of adding a colorful palette of food into one’s diet,” said OFS nutrition education manager, Leslie Bertsch, MPH, MS, RD, LD.

Unfortunately, some areas of our community are known as “food deserts” – where the only vegetables available come from a can, or potatoes are only found French-fried.  The good news is that community gardens have popped up all over, offering access to an oasis of fresh produce, fruits and vegetables.   “The gardens offer entrée to foods some once considered foreign, or that people perceived they would not like,” stated Bertsch.  We can take our cooking demos straight to the gardens and teach people how they can easily and deliciously prepare the bounty of the garden, and incorporate a color palette of food into their diet.  These on-site classes allow people to cook close to the source.  It’s very rewarding to see the fruits of our efforts as people learn to eat well on a tight budget, particularly enjoying fresh, vitamin-rich produce.”

More than 4,000 individuals in the St. Louis community benefit each year, ranging from children to seniors, from the nutrition education outreach programs taught by the nutritionists at Operation Food Search.  If you like to cook and are interested in joining our nutrition team, contact Leslie at leslie.bertsch@Operation FoodSearch.org or visit www.OperationFoodSearch.org.

Be sure to check out the fresh crop of fall fashion at RUNG, 9739 Manchester Rd. in Rock Hill.  RUNG’s motto is “bring a bag, or leave with one.”  All proceeds from RUNG benefit the Women’s Foundation of St. Louis.  Visit www.ShopRung.org. And stop by the Food & Farmers Expo, Sept. 18 for the Upcycled Fashion Show.

Concept & Artistic Direction:

Karen Klaus, Operation Food Search

Photography: J. Pollack Photography / jpollackphoto.com

Makeup: Kelly Kossakoski

Stylist: Erica Dunk, RUNG


Operation Food Search models:

(lower left & cover) Leslie Bertsch, MPH, MS, RD, LD – Nutrition Education Manager. (left) Nuts About Fashion: Vintage skirt, Chanel sweater, Faux reptile belt, Gold cuff, Peanut necklace and Crystal Nava Zahavi ring from the S. King Collection, (cover photo:) Radiantly Radishing: Forever 21 sweater, Daniela Knapp hat, Big Buddha purse.

(upper left & middle) Kari Hartel, RD, LD – Program Coordinator, Operation Backpack & Cooking Matters. 24 Carrot: Vintage peach chiffon gown.   Beet Generation: Bailey of Hollywood fedora, Roxanne Heptner tee, Exhilaration brown fringe vest, Ann Taylor green pants.

(middle right) Mariella Funk – Program Coordinator, Cooking Matters. Secret Garden: Vintage flower garden skirt, Exhilaration peasant top. “Circle Verde” earrings from Anointed Jewelry.

(Bottom right) Kayla Hansmann – Program Specialist, Cooking Matters.  Upbeet: Purple James & Joy dress, Gold Ben Amun bangle from the S. King Collection.

(Upper right) Brittany Crump – AmeriCorps Direct, Cooking Matters. DiVine: Vintage silk dress, “Haute Hippie” agate necklace from Hyper Haute.