Kailyn Forbes, Special to the Daily Press

The Santa Monica Conservancy’s upcoming virtual silent auction, Plates in Places, is in honor of the city’s food legacy and while it may seem like a deviation from their usual celebration of architectural heritage, admiring the people and places that enrich the Los Angeles community is part of their mission.

The conservancy is a grassroots non-profit organization founded in 2002 with an emphasis on the cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits of historic preservation. It recognizes the ongoing need for positive community-based interaction.

“It’s not celebrating bricks and boards,” said Tom Cleys, founding President of the Conservancy, in response to how the event supports the preservation of Santa Monica’s inclusive history. “There are connections with the built environment, so it’s somewhat indirect,” he said. “It’s celebrating community, celebrating culture.”

According to the Conservancy, restaurants, bakeries, hotels and spirit vendors, both historic and emerging, are the heart of local neighborhoods, serving as gathering places and providing continuity, ultimately making the city feel like home. The outdoor lifestyle, along with its nourishing cuisine and farmers markets, is the embodiment of Santa Monica’s food culture.

“Getting your food from a farmer is a good way to ensure not only tasty food but, you know, healthy food,” said Laura Avery, former Santa Monica Farmers Market Manager, in a phone call last week.

Avery said the establishment of the downtown market in 1981 provided an opportunity to create a more meaningful relationship between chefs and farmers, limiting the need for outside vendors and sellers.

“It was like this beautiful sort of back and forth, you know, between the chef and the farmer,” she said. “I don’t know who loves who more, the chef’s love the farmers and the farmers love the chefs, but they’re very happy that they’re able to get together.”

The week-long celebration of Santa Monica’s culinary history will feature virtual panels of chefs, farmers and restaurateurs who have bridged the gap in the food market.

Avery’s panel on July 25 at 3 p.m. will explore the impact of the farmers market on dining with the help of Chef Rich Mead of Farm House, Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farms and Peter Schaner of Schaner Family Farms.

Evan Kleiman, “the fairy Godmother of the L.A. food scene” and host of the popular KCRW radio show, will celebrate Santa Monica’s food narrative with Raphael Lunetta, co-owner and chef of Lunetta, and pastry chef and co-founder of Tartine, Chad Robertson on July 18 at 5 p.m.

The silent auction, from Sunday, July 18 through Sunday, July 25, will also provide the chance to bid on exclusive culinary experiences, luxury accommodations, cooking classes, restaurant gift certificates, specialty foods, wine and more.

Participation in the auction and panels is free. Proceeds will provide essential support for the Conservancy’s community programming and tours. For tickets and more information, visit www.smconservancy.org.