Cara Di Falco, star of “Cara’s Cucina,” will host Groundwork Elizabeth’s WinterGreen gala Feb. 27 at the Hilton Newark Airport Hotel.

A nonprofit founded in Elizabeth in 2003, Groundwork Elizabeth builds sustainable communities in Elizabeth, NJ and in nearby Union County communities with urban agriculture initiatives, youth programing and more.

“So much of what they’re doing aligns with what I’m trying to do on ‘Cara’s Cucina,’” said the Montclair resident, who is also an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

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“Cara’s Cucina” was nominated for an Emmy award in 2018 — a pretty big feat or something shot in her parents’ kitchen, Di Falco noted, though she and her husband, who produce the show together, both have backgrounds in broadcast.

The gala will feature a silent auction with items donated by local businesses, such as dinners out and gourmet goodies to enjoy at home, she said.

“The centerpieces are going to be something really special,” Di Falco said. The edible decorations are being grown by Groundwork Elizabeth for guests to enjoy and take home.

“We’re going to have a great time and we’re hoping a lot of people from the community come out and support Groundwork and support Elizabeth,” Di Falco said.

City of Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, NJ Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, members of Elizabeth City Council, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and other local elected officials are slated to join Di Falco for the event. Honorees that night will include Bette Jane Kowalski, chair of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Maria Carvalho of the Elizabeth Board of Education; Paul Pasternak of the Elizabeth Police Department; MaryFaith Chmiel, director of the Elizabeth Public Library; Dave Williams, owner of Williams Nursery; and Luis Leiva, CEO of Culture Estate Real Estate.

Partnerships with the City, Union County, the NJDEP, Federal Agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, the private sector, nonprofits, foundations and the community at large will be featured during the evening’s award ceremony. Groundwork Elizabeth’s Youth Green Team and members of the Come Grow With Us urban agriculture program will be among Groundwork’s program members joining in the festivities.

Tickets start at $125. To buy tickets, and to learn more about Groundwork Elizabeth, visit For more information about Di Falco, visit her website at

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