Earth Fare: An Organic Earth Day Dinner

Plant the seeds of tradition with an Earth Day Dinner.

| March/April 2006

On Thanksgiving, we stuff ourselves with turkey. For Easter, we boil eggs and snack on jelly beans. On Valentine’s Day, we give loved ones chocolate. So when Theresa Marquez, director of consumer affairs for the Organic Valley agricultural cooperative, contemplated how to broaden the appeal of Earth Day, she naturally thought of food.

Earth Day, she sensed, needed a traditional meal to gather folks around the table every year.

Organic Valley contacted Chefs Collaborative, a national network of more than 1,000 cooks whose shared goal is to promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local and seasonal cooking. In 2003, the two organizations began what they hoped would grow into a national tradition, a way of honoring and celebrating our planet through food.

Around the country on Earth Day (April 22), people are invited to prepare special menus inspired by regional and seasonal organic ingredients. Marquez envisioned Earth Dinners as a celebratory way to help people slow down and appreciate how we nourish ourselves, each other and our planet.

Chef Claire Criscuolo loved the idea and happily picked up the tradition at her 30-year-old New Haven, Connecticut, restaurant, Claire’s Corner Copia, the oldest ongoing vegetarian restaurant in the United States. For Earth Day 2005, Criscuolo invited Yale University recycling director C.J. May and his family to attend a beautifully prepared organic dinner. “The entire evening was a joy,” Criscuolo says. In fact, it was so successful that Criscuolo has made bigger plans for Earth Dinner 2006. She intends to partner with a nonprofit organization to market the Earth Day dinner as a fundraising event. Guests will “buy” tables and the day’s proceeds will be shared with the nonprofit.

Claire's Corner Copia Earth Day Menu:

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