Eileen Roaman’s Life Remembered with Angels

Eileen's Angels
Eileen's Angels. Photo credit: Ellen Watson

The late Eileen Roaman, who was a beloved local gardener, artist and cook, will be honored at Eileen’s Angels, a garden party and art auction hosted by Estia’s Little Kitchen.

Nick and Toni’s Chef Joe Realmuto and Estia’s owner Colin Ambrose will be at the grill. The event will take place on Sunday, June 28, and will benefit Project MOST, a nonprofit after-school enrichment program at the Springs School. Roaman was instrumental in starting Project MOST, and generously donated a greenhouse now used for Springs Seedlings, a garden classroom that is a part of the program.

In line with Roaman’s values, the event will be celebratory and local, with donations from Hamptonites in honor of Roaman’s life. Highlights of the art auction include donated works from Cindy Sherman, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, David Salle, Clifford Ross, Toni Ross, Paton Miller, as well as works from more than 30 other artists.

All of the food served at the party will be organic. Roaman believed in eating sustainably, and she used organic techniques in her own gardening. “She really strove to spread the word about organic communities and organic foods,” recalls Susan Gentile-Hackett, the director of development for Project MOST. “Teaching children about the science and benefits of growing food was really important to her.” Proceeds from the Eileen’s Angels event will help fund summer camps and help maintain the Eileen Roaman greenhouse. Because of generous donations and selfless service such as Roaman’s, the summer camp program has been able to provide this experience to students free of charge for the past five years.

What the children take away from participating in Project MOST and Springs Seedlings is invaluable. “The idea of knowing where their food comes from is pretty incredible.” says Hailey London, who teaches the students about nutrition and gardening. “If you ask students who don’t have an environmental connection where a hamburger comes from, they have no idea. They don’t understand that carrots are underground. It makes them realize they have the power to control the types of food they eat and where their food is from. Sustainability is something at that age they don’t normally understand,”

As a part of Long Island’s rich agricultural community, Springs Seedlings stresses the importance of understanding sustainable farming and eating. “To have children really be in touch with what’s coming out of the ground and what organic food actually is, and how to eat naturally and sustain themselves—it’s all about eating sustainably,” says Gentile-Hackett.

Springs Seedlings is a two-part program. One part is integrated into the school day, as students leave their usual classrooms for hands-on lessons about agriculture that are applicable to what they’re learning in other subjects. The other part of the program is the Project MOST after-school program, which runs three days a week, when students plant, harvest, and cook with the crops they’ve helped to grow. In addition, many students in what are considered challenge classes spend a lot of time in the greenhouse, learning fine motor skills and being educated on food and cooking. “These kids can grow anything for some reason,” London says. “It must be their little fingers and love, but everything they touch grows.”

Eileen’s Angels will take place on Sunday, June 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Estia’s Little Kitchen, 1615 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Sag Harbor. Children are welcome and tickets are modestly priced at $150 and available from projectmost.com.

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