On a gray rainy day my friends, husband, and I huddled around a laptop in our living room with a fire glowing in the background. In honor of Earth Day we decided to throw a Dinner and Some Ed party.
I sent a casual email to my friends a few days earlier inviting them to supper and explained to them what Dinner and Some Ed was about. I told them that we would prepare the main course and dessert and provide the wine. They were told they had the option of bringing a dish with them if they wanted, as long as it met one of the following criteria; made from local or organic ingredients.
Shortly after my friends arrived, and the glasses of wine poured, we sat down in front of my computer and I played a TED talk given by Eben Bayer called Are Mushrooms the New Plastic? Then I played the TEDxManhattan talk given by Kavita Shukla called Can a Simple Piece of Paper Change the Way We Eat? My friends were blown away by her product and were excited about the possibility of extending the shelf life of their produce with a simple piece of paper. Everyone agreed on how frustrating it is when food spoils before you have a chance to eat it. And there were grumblings about spinach always getting slimy within a few days of purchasing. As it turns out I had a sample pack of Fresh Paper and I passed it around for my friends to smell it. I told them from my experience it really does work. Ever since I put a sheet in with a bag of my cherry tomatoes and found that they were still good two weeks later, when usually they are wrinkled within 3 days of purchasing from the Farmers’ Market, I was converted.
We took a break from the video’s to eat our sustainable meal.
My husband and I love to cook and we are devoted patrons of our local Farmers’ Market. The perfect place to buy local ingredients for our sustainable meal. We bought asparagus, rhubarb (both first of the season!) potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. We would make Shepard’s pie, with a mix of local beef and lamb, and for desert strawberry rhubarb crisp (using local frozen strawberries) with vanilla ice cream made from our own eggs and local milk.
Our friends brought home made dinner rolls and a pasta and pesto salad. The pesto was made with leeks and dandelions. We served bottles of Gamay Noir from Whitecliff Vineyards, which paired really nicely with the Shepard’s pie.
Over supper we told our friends that the meat in the Shepard’s pie is all local and that we purchase a 1/4 cow, 1/2 a pig and whole lamb from local farms. Everything comes pre-cut, pre-wrapped, and frozen we just put it in our deep chest freezer and it lasts us the whole year. It works out to be pretty cheap per pound, for local grass-fed or pasture raised, meat.
Before dessert I showed one more talk given by Paul Lightfoot at TEDxManhattan 2012 called BrightFarms: A Produce Supply Chain Revolution. This video got us talking about rooftop farms, urban agriculture, and aquaponics. The only thing we were disappointed about was there were no pictures of the greenhouses in his talk. So I went to Bright Farms website and found a video that showed a more in depth look at their greenhouse technology.
While I didn’t necessarily have a theme in mind when I selected the three talks, I chose the talks because they had some connection to food and the environment. Everyone enjoyed them. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day.
By Krystal Ford