Since the onset of coronavirus, the Fayetteville Roots team ensured the struggling Northwest Arkansas music community has at least one source for nutritious food. Through the Roots Meals for Musicians program, the organization distributed weekly care packages curbside on Thursdays out of the Roots HQ on Mountain Street on the Fayetteville Historic Square, which helped stretch the savings for musicians out of jobs and live shows.

Culinary art students from longtime Roots partner, Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, will provide meals to musicians out of the Brightwater mobile food lab truck, parked outside of Fayetteville Roots headquarters, on Dec. 10 and 17. Brightwater’s Culinary Capstone is the pinnacle of the Brightwater Culinary Arts degree, where students demonstrate skills learned throughout the program such as basic culinary skills and sanitation, management and front-of-house responsibilities and running a restaurant successfully. Meal preparation and execution are all part of the students’ capstone projects, according to a press release.

“We have always been a fan of Brightwater and the work they do with students. Our long-time collaboration with Brightwater is key to our educational outreach mission. We are happy to have found a way to keep their culinary students involved with our music community,” said Fayetteville Roots Co-founder Bryan Hembree.

Fayetteville Roots and Brightwater are strong partners–the school hosted the Roots Festival’s annual Master Classes, where chefs like Graham Elliott, Edward Lee and Jennifer Booker have led student seminars and public demonstrations. When Brightwater Executive Director Marshall Shafkowitz was looking for a safe place for students to cook and serve customers for their capstone, he immediately considered the Roots Meals for Musicians program.

“We consider the relationship with the Roots Festival team as one of our cornerstone partnerships, and it is an honor to provide meals to other artists as a part of the Roots Meals for Musicians program,” Shafkowitz said.

If you’re interested in helping elongate the program, Fayetteville Roots accepts donations for the Meals for Musicians program via

Photo by Meredith Mashburn