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Election Information: Board Candidate Statements and Proposed Budget Details
2005 Annual Membership Meeting Recap
Produce News: The Effects of Chemicals on Our Foods
Eating Well, Being Well and Having Fun While You're At It!: The Food for Thought Festival
Book & Housewares News
Health & Wellness News: Teas
Recipes & Drink Recommendations
Organics: In Our Beds, On Our Bodies and On Our Minds
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Putting Your Organic Garden to Bed
Member Services News: Our Annual Farm Tour
by Erin Oliver, WSGC Member, REAP Food Group Volunteer
Mark your calendars! The Food for Thought Festival is coming September 14th-17th. This annual tradition celebrates the bounty of fresh, local and sustainably grown food available in Wisconsin. The theme for the seventh annual event is “Eating Well, Being Well.”
Miriam Grunes, Executive Director of REAP Food Group (the festival’s host organization), says the group is gearing up for another exciting event. When asked what sets the Food for Thought Festival apart from other special events in Madison, Miriam said, “It is one of those rare times when ‘activism’ gets to be totally fun. ‘Eating healthy’ and ‘supporting a sustainable local food system’ are serious topics, but the Food for Thought Festival’s approach is pure joy.”
Food for Thought Festival events include: the Friday Night Forum on September 16th, the festival itself on Saturday, September 17th, and, new to the Festival this year, “Local Night Out” on Wednesday, September 14th.
This year’s keynote speaker, Joan Dye Gussow, has been a pioneer advocate for healthful and sustainable eating for over 30 years. Her famous quote: “I prefer butter to margarine, because I trust cows more than I trust chemists” sums up her sharp observations and witty speaking style. Professor emeritus of the Nutrition Education Program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, Dr. Gussow is the author of five books on healthful eating, most recently This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader.
Madison’s own Odessa Piper will join Dr. Gussow at this year’s festival as guest chef. Well-known as the founder, chef and owner of L’Etoile Restaurant from 1976 through the spring of this year, Odessa’s passion for cooking with Wisconsin’s fresh farm products began when she first moved to Wisconsin, to train under JoAnna Guthrie at the Ovens of Brittany restaurant. Ms. Piper’s artistry is known nationwide. She has been featured in Gourmet, Sierra Magazine, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, New York Times, National Public Radio and National Public Television. She is also a recipient of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef–Midwest.
Ms. Piper and Dr. Gussow will participate as panelists at the Food for Thought Forum on Friday September 16th, to be held the at the Health-Science Learning Center auditorium on the UW-Madison campus from 7:30–9:00 pm. The keynote address by Dr. Gussow entitled “Of Pyramids and Parsnips: Just Eat Food,” will be followed by a group discussion with Odessa Piper and Matthew Sharp, a registered nurse and grass-fed beef farmer from Highland Hearth Farm.
The Food for Thought Festival continues on Saturday, September 17th on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. off the Capitol Square from 8:00am –1:00pm Previous festivals have drawn upwards of 5000 participants. “Main tent” activities will include a presentation by Joan Dye Gussow, a cooking demonstration by Chef Odessa Piper and a tribute presentation to Odessa to acknowledge the contributions she has made to our local food system in her 28 years at L’Etoile.
The winners of the Food for Thought Recipe Contest will be announced at the Festival and the grand prize will be awarded: a trip for two to San Francisco, donated by RP’s Pasta in celebration of their tenth year in business. Other things to enjoy at the Festival include demonstrations, delicious local foods, and over sixty exhibitors providing hands-on (and mouths-on) offerings. There is also plenty to entertain the kids, from stringing fresh vegetable necklaces to feeding urban chickens.
“Local Night Out” is the newest feature of the Food for Thought Festival. On Wednesday night, Sept. 14th, many of Madison’s favorite restaurants will offer meals made from locally-grown products. From pizza by the slice to a full fixed-price dinner and a free meal program, anyone can dine out and enjoy the bounty of the season. Participating Madison restaurants include: Blue Marlin, Bunky’s Café, The Dardanelles, Eldorado Grill, Greenbush Bar, Harvest, Ian’s Pizza By the Slice, L’Etoile, Ovations, Roman Candle, the White Horse Inn and the Wednesday night free meal at St. Martin House.
Local Night Out organizer Sarah King says the response she’s received from restaurateurs has been fantastic. “Local restaurants serving food grown by local farmers—makes perfect sense. We hope everyone will enjoy a meal at one of these restaurants on September 14th and let them know you support them for “buying local!”
The Food for Thought Festival is made possible by the generous support of Willy Street Co-op, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Friends of Troy Gardens, Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (MACSAC), MATC Culinary Arts Dept., Ovations Restaurant, and others. For more information and updates on Food for Thought and Local Night Out, go to www.reapfoodgroup.org.