Submitted by Organic Valley
LA FARGE, WI "“ March 26, 2007 "“ What do Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, even St. Patty's Day have in common? They all have traditions involving family, friends, and of course, food. Earth Day deserves a celebration too-a fun food tradition that revolves around local, sustainable and organic cuisine, and involves meaningful discussion about the impact farming has on the planet we share. That's why Earth Dinners are taking root throughout the country as a way to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd.
If Your Appetizer Could Talk, What Would It Say?
An Earth Dinner can be a simple potluck dinner or masterful multi-course meal. What’s important is having meaningful discussion at the table about the food that's being served. How was it grown? Where did it come from? Who grew it? How does this food connect to your own personal history, and those of your guests?
This season, Organic Valley Family of Farms is offering an online Earth Dinner toolkit that does everything but cook the food for your celebratory meal. Visit www.earthdinner.org for great menu and recipe ideas, party activities and décor suggestions. Tips for creating a kids' Earth Dinner also can be found. Pick up a pound of ideas and a pinch of inspiration, and mix together to make it your own signature springtime fête.
If you are hosting an Earth Dinner event for a group, you can apply for support from Organic Valley at www.earthdinner.org/support. Request monetary grants of $50 to $1,000, Organic Valley foods ranging from milk to eggs to cheese and meats, and more. Doing a fundraiser? Organic Valley can provide 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, you can even invite an Organic Valley farmer to speak and inspire the crowd.
"Our new Earth Dinner toolkit is designed to provide hosts with all the ingredients they will need to host an unforgettable dinner that we hope becomes an annual tradition for all who partake," said Theresa Marquez, Earth Dinner founder and chief marketing executive for Organic Valley, the nation’s oldest and largest cooperative of organic farmers.
Sparking Conversation from a Deck of Creativity Cards
The main dish in the Earth Dinner toolkit is the 49-card deck of "Earth Dinner Creativity Cards," written by award-winning author Douglas Love. This playful, thoughtful collection of food and farm trivia and thought-provoking questions is divided into four suits: Fun Facts "“ From start to finish, how long does it take a hen to lay an egg?; Storytelling "“ Can you name a food that emits a terrible aroma but a delicious taste?; Imagination "“ How many songs can you think of that reference food or eating?; and Inspiration "“ How many generations have gathered at your Earth Dinner table? How many different places and cultures do they represent?
Deal the deck of cards in a variety of ways, use them as place cards, hand one out to each guest as they arrive, start a roundtable discussion, or just let guests pick a card and strike up a private conversation with their seatmate.
Visit www.earthdinner.org to download a sample set of Earth Dinner cards, or purchase a full deck online ($10 each). Organic Valley donates all proceeds from the sale of cards to the Organic Farm Friends Foundation, a program that aims to foster a strong connection between rural organic farmers and urban communities.
Throughout the month of April, chairs are being pulled up to Earth Dinner tables around the country. Chefs and home cooks, professionals and amateurs, will put their twist on the annual dinner in restaurants and people’s homes, college campuses and community centers in Chicago, Seattle, Madison, Wis., St. Paul, Minn., San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Montpelier, Vt., Cambridge, Mass., and in neighborhoods throughout New York City. To seek out an Earth Dinner near you visit www.earthdinner.org/events.html. Better yet, gather friends and family around your own table using local and organic fare as your culinary muse.
The Earth Dinner is supported by a broad-based coalition of organizations including Beyond Pesticides, Bioneers, Chefs Collaborative, Healthy Child Healthy World (formerly Children’s Health Environmental Coalition), 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.
Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley Family of Farms is America's largest and oldest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 940 farmers in 27 states and one Canadian province and realized a record $335 million in 2006 sales. Focused on its founding mission of keeping small and mid-sized farmers farming, the cooperative produces 200 organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, and juice. Its sister brand, Organic Prairie, produces delicious organic pork, beef and poultry. (www.organicprairie.com) Look for Organic Valley and Organic Prairie in leading supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. For more information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop.
Note to Media:
High resolution images of Earth Dinner Creativity Cards are available at the following link: www.earthdinner.org/media
Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,766 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $715 million in 2011 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. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie 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. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.
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