Celebrate spring at tonight's third annual Sprout Down at the Mercury Café

Upstairs at the Mercury Café tonight, it's all about local food as Sprout City Farms takes over with Sprout Down, a celebration of urban homesteading. A sliding-scale donation gets you two tickets to taste food from the Queen Anne Urban Bed & Breakfast, The Garden, Hanson's and the Truffle Cheese Shop, along with plenty of entertainment and a chance to mingle with other city farming folk.

See also: - Pickled vegetables at City, O' City: My favorite dish of 2011 - Tonight: Sprout Down Kickoff Fundraiser & Hootenanny at Mercury Cafe - Chickens in Denver neighborhoods: City Council takes on the urban homesteading clusterpluck

Now in its third year, this spring fundraiser helps Sprout City Farms with its mission to bring fresh foods directly into Denver Public Schools, as well as support educational programming and agriculturally based summer camps. A portion of the night's proceeds will go directly to all of these initiatives, through the Denver Green School Community Farm.

Set in the southeast part of the city, the Denver Green School Community Farm is a one-acre plot devoted to growing food for the attached school's cafeteria as well as the surrounding community, while providing education opportunities for its students. Sprout City Farms hopes to extend this program to other areas in Denver.

In addition to food prepared with care, Sprout Down will host performances by local musicians and presentations by local artisans, crafters, magicians and urban farmers. A silent and live auction will also benefit the program, and kids are welcome to join in for special activities and face painting.

Tickets to tonight's third annual Sprout Down are on a $7-to-$15 sliding-scale donation, and can be purchased at the door. For more information on Sprout City Farms and participating restaurants, visit the event page on Facebook.