Organic Valley Partners with National Chefs Collaborative to Honor Earth Day at the Table
As families and communities prepare to commemorate Earth Day and the Spring Equinox with tree plantings and cleaning up stream banks, Organic Valley encourages people across the nation to celebrate their relationship with the planet by sitting down to a special and meaningful meal—an Earth Dinner. To seed the movement, Organic Valley and Chefs Collaborative are partnering to host a series of Earth Dinners prepared from local, organic, seasonal foods, and served at tables in toniest restaurants and most humble homes, from coast to coast.
Earth Dinner was launched in 2004 with the idea that Earth Day deserved its own holiday meal, a festive gathering where people could re-forge their relationship with the planet and farmers that provide the food sustaining their bodies and bringing them together with family and friends. Earth Dinner is an opportunity not just to eat, but to talk about, learn from, and rejoice in the food the Earth provides. Organic Valley has created a whole menu of ways to make Earth Dinner a new and simple tradition on Earth Day and beyond.
Again this year, Organic Valley is teaming up with Chefs Collaborative to host Earth Dinners open to the public. Chefs Collaborative is a nationwide network of chefs committed to sourcing and cooking with local, sustainable, and delicious ingredients. In 2008, dozens of restaurants, from the lauded Union Square Café in New York City to Ciudad in Los Angeles, partied for the planet with an Earth Dinner. This year, restaurants will inspire eaters to deepen their relationships with food, farmers and the Earth through delicious menus and inspiring talk. A complete schedule of 2009 Earth Dinners will be available in early April at www.earthdinner.org.
"Earth Dinners are my opportunity not just to 'talk the talk, but to walk the walk,'" explains Diane LaVonne, chef and owner of Diane’s Market Kitchen in Seattle. "These dinners are a pleasure and delight for our staff and guests."
Across the nation in New Haven, Connecticut, Chef Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia sees the Earth Dinner as a chance to follow her own advice, which is that people take this day to "cook like you care about tomorrow."
To deepen the experience--and to make it even more fun—Organic Valley encourages playing with a deck of Earth Dinner Creativity Cards during your meal. The cards, created by author Douglas Love, are divided into four suits: Fun Facts (How long does it usually take for a chicken to lay an egg?), Storytelling (What kinds of foods did your grandparents eat?), Imagination (Select a dish on the table and create a haiku to describe it) and Inspiration (What food or plants have you grown yourself?). This playful, thought-provoking collection of food and farming trivia and questions is available at www.earthdinner.org ($10 each). Free sample cards are also available for download.
Organic Valley also encourages families and friends, schools, and nonprofit organizations to host their own Earth Dinners. To make it easier and more meaningful, at www.earthdinner.org Organic Valley has provided a free toolkit for planning an Earth Dinner, walking Earth Dinner hosts through everything from menu suggestions to readings about food and nature to planning tips.
Also, for non-profits and others hosting Earth Dinners, Organic Valley is accepting requests for support at www.earthdinner.org/support. Types of support include a Silent Auction Kit featuring Earth Dinner Cards, 52 Organic Valley free product coupons and a display poster to merchandise the auction or raffle item. For events with 100 or more guests, request an Organic Valley farmer to speak and inspire the crowd. Small cash grants are available as well as food donations.
Earth Dinner is supported by a broad-based coalition of organizations including Beyond Pesticides, Bioneers, Chefs Collaborative, Healthy Child Healthy World, Earth Day Network, Earth Pledge, Eco Education, Ecotrust, Environmental Working Group, Heifer International, Slow Food USA, Small Planet Institute, Social Venture Network, OM Organics, The Organic Center, Organic Consumers Association, and Waterkeeper Alliance.
Note to Media: High-resolution Earth Dinner images are available at this link: www.earthdinner.org/media
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 1300 farmers in 35 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop.
About Chefs Collaborative
Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is a non-profit culinary organization that advocates for sustainability in the greater food community; provides chefs with the information and tools (through workshops, publications, and events) necessary to make sustainable purchasing decisions; and connects chefs and sustainable food producers. Chefs Collaborative has more than 3,000 active and passionate food community professionals as members, 70% of whom are chefs. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Melissa Kogut, Chefs Collaborative, firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-236-5286. www.chefscollaborative.org