Partners with Organic Valley on Nationwide Earth Dinner Series to Encourage Urban-Rural Connection
(Boston, Mass…February 21, 2006) In celebration of Earth Day, Chefs Collaborative, a national organization of chefs and other food community professionals dedicated to advancing a more sustainable food supply, has partnered again with Organic Valley Family of Farms on The Earth Dinner™. This annual nationwide promotion encourages people to come together as a community to recognize and celebrate the role of food in our lives.
Organic Valley, an organic farmer-owned cooperative committed to connecting farmers with their urban neighbors, and Chefs Collaborative share the same philosophies of using local, sustainable, seasonal and/or organic ingredients. Their common goal is to create a new holiday tradition of gathering family and friends around the table for Earth Dinners, much like Thanksgiving, but with a focus on meaningful discussions about our connection to food, the earth and each other.
Chefs Collaborative member restaurants from around the country will host Earth Dinners throughout the month of April. A list of participating restaurants will be available March 15 on www.earthdinner.org. Over a dozen Collaborative restaurants nationwide held public Earth Dinners in 2005—the event’s first year.
“We are proud to have our chef members participate in this project,” says Jennifer M. Hall, executive director of Chefs Collaborative. “Part of our mission is to educate communities about sustainability, and this is a perfect way to remind people about how they can support the farmers, growers and ranchers in their hometown areas when they purchase food.”
With the goal of creating a fun, new American tradition in the home, five Chefs Collaborative members have developed Earth Dinner recipes to encourage families to host their own Earth Dinners. Each of the recipes features springtime ingredients local to the chefs’ areas and together compile a five course meal: John Ash, author and founder, John Ash & Company, Santa Rosa, Calif., Beurre Maître d’Hotel, or fresh herb and lemon butter; Greg Atkinson, co-founder, Organic to Go, Seattle, Wash., Pan Seared Breasts of Spring Chicken with Carrots, Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms; Gordon Hamersley, chef/owner, Hamersley’s Bistro, Boston, Mass., Barbequed Bluefish with Smoked Shrimp Butter; Bruce Sherman, chef/owner, North Pond Restaurant, Chicago Ill., Horseradish-Crusted Steak, Roasted New Potatoes, Glazed Radishes, Parsley Jus; Robert Stehling, co-owner , Hominy Grill, Charleston, S.C., Shrimp and Grits with Asparagus. Recipes will be available March 15 on www.earthdinner.org.
Earth Day became a U.S. national holiday on April 22, 1970, making this year its 36th anniversary. The annual celebration represents a time to herald the arrival of spring, while highlighting the importance of eating local and seasonal foods. To help initiate lively discussions about food and encourage new thought about the food choices we make each day, Organic Valley and award-winning author Douglas Love have created Earth Dinner Creativity Cards to be used as a game during Earth Dinners both in the home and in Chefs Collaborative restaurants. The deck of cards can be purchased through www.earthdinner.org. Organic Valley will donate all proceeds from card sales to the Organic Farm Friends Foundation, a program fostering a strong connection between rural organic farmers and urban communities.
“This new tradition offers countless creative interpretations while helping us all to celebrate the earth – one dinner at a time,” said Theresa Marquez, founder, Earth Dinner, and chief marketing executive, Organic Valley.
The Earth Dinner is supported by a broad-based coalition of organizations including Beyond Pesticides, Bioneers, Chefs Collaborative, Children’s Environmental Health Coalition (CHEC), Earth Day Network, Environmental Working Group, Ecotrust, Om Organics, Slow Food, The Organic Center and Waterkeeper Alliance.
About Chefs Collaborative
Chefs Collaborative is a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local, seasonal, and artisanal cooking. While celebrating the pleasures of food, Collaborative members recognize the impact of food on our lives, on the well-being of our communities, and on the integrity of the global environment. Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is the only culinary organization that provides its members with tools for running economically healthy, sustainable food service businesses and making environmentally sound purchasing decisions. For more information, visit www.chefscollaborative.org.
About Organic Valley
Organic Valley Family of Farms is one of America’s leading national organic brands and is the largest independent and farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative. Organic Valley represents nearly 750 organic family farmers in 23 states. Stewards of the earth who use nature as their teacher, Organic Valley farmers produce organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, juice and meat sold in food cooperatives, natural foods stores and supermarkets throughout the country. For further information, contact Organic Valley at 888.444.MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop.
Feb. 22, 2006