Gathering for Good – and Baked Goods

Zoe Nathan, co-owner of the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants, has teamed up with fellow bakers to launch Bake & Gather. PHOTO BY MATT ARMENDARIZ

“The great uniter of all people is food and social rights,” says Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants Co-Owner Zoe Nathan. The celebrated baker has teamed up with a group of women and top bakers and pastry chefs across Los Angeles to create Bake & Gather, a grassroots campaign to bring people together in a family-friendly, bake sale-inspired setting to raise funds for causes the community feels passionate about.

The first will be held from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 25 at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon Park (601 Latimer Rd.) with Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Caffe Luxxe, and Rusticoffee selling pastries and coffee to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union and Los Angeles’ Public Counsel, which supports immigrants and underserved communities with pro bono legal services. Downtown Los Angeles’ Woo Souvenir Shop has created Bake & Gather T-shirts, which will be on sale for $40 at the event and at Huckleberry. All of the proceeds from the first 100 shirts sold will be donated to the organizations. Any additional profits made from T-shirt sales will also be given to the ACLU and Public Counsel.

Additional Bake & Gather events will be held:

1-3 p.m. March 11 at the Silver Lake Reservoir’s Meadow (1850 W. Silverlake Dr.), hosted by Roxana Jullapat (behind the forthcoming Friends & Family), Proof Bakery’s Na Young Ma and Alimento’s Harriet Ha, to benefit the ACLU and Pro Publica

March 25 (time and location TBD) with The Rose Café’s Neidy Venegas and Joshua Graves and Broken Spanish’s Ivan Marquez

In April, Cake Monkey’s Elizabeth Belkind and food stylist Staci Valentine will host earlier in the month, followed by Bear Claw Kitchen’s Sarah Lange

In May, Platine Bakery’s Jamie Ginsburg and The Gourmandise School’s Clémence Gossett will host a gathering.

Coming this summer, events hosted by Hatchet Hall’s Paige Russell, Sqirl’s Sasha Piligian, Lodge Bread’s Jacqui De Borga and Bub & Grandma’s Andy Kadin

“Right now, a good majority of people are feeling helpless and scared. I believe if we can get together with our neighbors over great food and coffee, we can slowly start to connect with each other, feel less nervous and find our voices and footing again,” says Nathan. “This is not about Democrats versus Republicans, but finding the things that unite us during these unprecedented times, while raising money for some important causes in the process.”

Another core element of Bake & Gather is inspiring others across Los Angeles and the country (events are already being planned in Chicago this spring) to create their own local gatherings that benefit causes near and dear to the community’s heart—especially organizations that have recently been defunded or are needed to defend basic human rights.

“You can do anything ‘and gather.’ This is not just for professional or even amateur bakers,” says Nathan. “Kids could plan an event at their school or library, artists could sell their paintings and drawings from a friend’s driveway or surfers could teach lessons at their local beach. The purpose is to get out, talk to your neighbors and put your energy behind something constructive.”

For those interested in starting their own Bake & Gather, the soon-to-be-launched website ( will have a simple planning checklist, resources for creating posters and promotional materials and recommended charitable organizations. Become a part of the movement and learn about upcoming events in Los Angeles and across the country by following Bake & Gather on Instagram and tagging #bettertogether.

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