Getting Ready for TEDx Manhattan 2012 Viewing Party

by Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

We’ve had an overwhelming response to attend our TEDx local viewing party — Changing the Way We Eat — this Saturday, Jan 21.  While formal registration for the event is closed, guests are invited to visit throughout the day.  If you plan to join us for breakfast or lunch, please email cheryl@fullplateventures.com.

Lunch is our local, seasonal potluck lunch challenge (see details below).  Free weekend parking is available in the public garage on Woodmont Avenue, a block from Bethesda Green.

If you can’t stay for the whole day, select your visit by program offerings.  See our calendar page for more information about the TEDx presentations.  Here’s the line up:

9 am – 10:30 am — Welcome to Bethesda Green and Who’s in the Room?

10:30 am – 12:05 pm — TEDx Session 1 – ISSUES

12:05 pm – 1:20 pm — Local Lunch Potluck Challenge

If you join us for lunch, please bring a seasonal, locally-grown and/or locally produced dish to share — homemade is encouraged — according to the category by last name.  Honest Tea, hot tea, and coffee will be provided.  There is a refrigerator but no warming facilities.

A-H — appetizers, bread, cheeses, spreads, veggies

I-P — main dishes, side dishes

Q-Z — desserts including fruit

Our Local Discussion Panel

  • Growing Legacy On Metro’s Edge — a film teaser by Mark Leisher Productions
  • Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve — Kristina Bostick, Montgomery Countryside Alliance
  • Introducing the new Montgomery Food Council — Caroline Taylor, Montgomery Countryside Alliance
  • Local Food Goes Digital: Connecting local food producers with buyers on the web — Cheryl Kollin, direct to consumer; and Kash Rehman, Foodem for wholesale markets
  • Tracing your food from farm to fork — Dick Stoner, Maryland Small Farmers Cooperative
  • Hunger in Bethesda? — Susan Kirk, Bethesda Cares

1:20 pm – 3:15 pm — TEDx Session 2 – IMPACT

3:15 pm -3:45 pm — Hunger For Change – Intro to new local discussion circle with Marney Bruce, Simplicity Matters

3:45 pm – 5:30 pm — TEDx Session 3 – INNOVATION

5:30 pm – 5:45 pm — Closing thoughts at Bethesda Green

This TEDx local viewing party is presented by: Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures, and SlowFood DC.

We gratefully acknowledge our sponsors’ food and drink donations for this event: South Mountain Creamery, Honest Tea, and Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company.

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View Globally, Act Locally

By Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

Why spend your Saturday at Bethesda Green staring at a webcast all day?  “I have a fascination with learning about sustainable food production, healthy living, and nutritious and traditional cooking methods,” offered one registrant who signed up for Changing the Way We Eat 2012, a viewing party January 21 at Bethesda Green. When the topic is the state of our food system and progress toward sustainability, people with various interests come to take a seat at the table. Last year’s event drew 46,000 viewing streams from 11 countries including the 40 attendees at Bethesda Green’s viewing party.

TEDxManhattan 2012, the independently organized TED talk, hosted by the Glynwood Institute has a full lineup of speakers engaged in various aspects of our sustainable food system, including public health officials, community organizers, public policy advocates, farmers, restaurateurs, business entrepreneurs, and writers.

Speakers include: representatives from Johns Hopkins’ Public Health, The Humane Society, The James Beard Foundation, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Food & Water Watch.

Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures, and Slow Food DC are co-hosting the second annual viewing party. During the national breaks, local speakers will share their knowledge of our burgeoning sustainable food movement and what’s emerging in Montgomery County. “This is a great way to learn about what’s happening right here in our community,” said Beverly Firme, who writes the Green Around Town column for Bethesda Patch, the community’s hyper-local online newspaper. “It’s also a great way to connect with others.”

“I’m a public policy graduate student interested in food issues; I’m hoping to learn more about organizations and projects and to network.”

We’ve built in morning activities to get to know who’s in the room. Once again we offer our Seasonal Local Pot-Luck Lunch Challenge—the challenge of course is to demonstrate that we can eat locally—even in January.

Seasonal Local Pot-Luck Lunch Challenge, 2011 viewing party

There are many community-based initiatives and entrepreneurial businesses popping up this year that I’m excited to share with attendees at our lunch-time panel:

Growing Legacy On Metro’s Edge — watch a film teaser from this documentary-in -progress about our local food system and the Montgomery Country Agricultural Reserve. Produced by Mark Leisher Productions and Montgomery Countryside Alliance.

Introducing the new Montgomery Food Council — a group of diverse stakeholders, launching in February, will examine how well the local food system is serving its community, then find solutions to take action toward improving it.

Connecting producers with buyers — check out some of the on-line and social media resources to help find and connect local food producers with buyers, both retail and wholesale.

Know your food from farm to fork — How do you know where your local food actually comes from and if it is produced sustainably? Learn about seal of approval programs and how new apps bring the farm to you.

Hunger in Bethesda? Bethesda Cares and partner congregations feed the homeless every day in our affluent community. Learn from those making a difference.

“I work for the Center for Food Safety. I am also very concerned personally about these issues.”

No need to stay for the whole day–drop in as your schedule allows.

Changing the Way We Eat 2012
TEDxManhattan Viewing Party
Saturday, January 21, 2012 9am-5:30pm

Bethesda Green
4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814

Viewing Party Schedule and Pot-Luck Lunch Challenge Details

Register to attend — FREE event

TEDxManhattan’s “Changing the Way We Eat” is a one-day event in New York City that will be simulcast at viewing parties all over the world. Visit Invited Speakers to see the TEDx speakers. The full list and schedule will be published closer to the event.

Bethesda Green brings business, government and community together to promote a healthy economy and sustainable living practices in order to reduce our collective impact on the environment.

Cheryl Kollin of Full Plate Ventures, LLC is passionate about building sustainable, regional food systems. She provides business consulting and educational programming to social enterprises to enhance their profitability while serving their social mission.

SlowFood DC is a community that promotes and celebrates local, seasonal, and sustainable food sources; works to preserve the culinary traditions of the region’s ethnically and culturally diverse populations; and supports the right of all people to enjoy good, clean, fair food.

By Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

“We will seat everyone at one long table and serve dinner family style—just like Thanksgiving,” envisioned Chef Tony Marciante as we discussed final preparations for dinner. And what a festive event it was, as 28 guests dined together at Chef Tony’s Restaurant on Monday, September 19 in downtown Bethesda.

Savor Local Flavor dinner was the finale of our three series event, On the Farm, Around the Table: connecting food, farmers, and community in three meals, hosted by Bethesda Green and Full Plate Ventures.

Even though I was a wreck waiting to write the program until Tony finalized his purchase of seasonal and local ingredients and created the menu just hours before serving, it was well worth the wait. He created a fabulous four-course meal. “My approach to cooking is to choose the freshest ingredients that dictate the evening’s menu,” Chef Tony shared with guests as he introduced the evening’s dinner. “Then I prepare each dish simply—so that the flavor of the food speaks for itself.”

The early autumn menu started with two appetizers–Cherry Glenn Goat Cheese variety served with fresh figs and a Balsamic vinegar reduction and an array of Carolina Gold and Red tomatoes with basil. Huge platters of pan-seared Virginia rockfish and chicken scaloppini followed with more platters of couscous ringed with tiny cubes of roasted beets, baked spaghetti squash, and a medley of tomatoes and zucchini. Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, Tony served a warm Honey-crisp apple and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

“Did you feel the magic happen from eating together around this huge table, sharing platters of delicious, fresh, locally-grown food?” asked Caroline Taylor, Executive Director of The Montgomery Countryside Alliance. “We have much to be grateful for tonight.”

Indeed, I felt the magic of the evening as I did at each event in the series, reflecting on our shared learning. Bethesda Green and Full Plate Ventures’ intent in creating this educational series was three fold.  First we wanted to increase public awareness of what a local, sustainable and healthy food system looks like, starting with the land where our food is grown. Caroline taught us about today’s challenges she faces in advocating for Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. She and our other presenters throughout the series discussed these challenges including:

  1. Access to affordable farmland in our region
  2. Financial and technical support for new farmers
  3. Aggregation of small farmer’s products, retaining their story and brand and efficient distribution systems to bring food to market, especially to small businesses like Chef Tony’s Restaurant and Yamas Mediterranean Grill
  4. Food access for all—changing federal and local food and farm policies
  5. Learning where and how to shop seasonally; the lost art of cooking, and making healthy food choices

    Cheryl Kollin and Chef Tony

Second, because our local food system is still nascent and has many gaps, we wanted to begin to connect stakeholders with one another. We introduced buyers to producers in the series— by visiting the Bethesda Central Farm Market, touring of Rocklands Farm, and introducing chefs to farmers. The series also connected businesses with one another—farmer Shannon Varley found new sources of animal feed, growingSOUL’s Jessica Weiss found a lead on land for her food composting operation, and a photographer scouted out her next subject—a farm in the Agricultural Reserve.

Third, even though there are many challenges ahead in creating a sustainable, healthy, and local food system, we showcased our speakers, sponsors and contributing partners who are already active in this effort. And we see many entrepreneurial businesses, partnerships, and initiatives emerging to piece together this puzzle, including:

  1. The On the Farm, Around the Table Series has been filmed as part of Growing Legacy on Metro’s Edge, a new documentary film by Mark Leisher
  2. Montgomery Countryside Alliance’s Land Link, connecting farmers with affordable available land.
  3. An increasing number of producers who are farming more sustainably—raising pastured poultry, grass-fed meat, building soil, and protecting our waterways and our health.
  4. Emerging National and local models of aggregation and distribution systems called—food hubs or value chains, such as The Food Hub in Charlottesville.
  5. New technology tools for small business such as coordinated production among many small farmers; online ordering for individuals, restaurants, and institutions; and digitally tracing where your food comes from—learning about the farmers’ and their story
  6. Newly created Montgomery County Food Council

As we end this series, here are some ways to stay connected to the issues and learn more:

  1. Join non-profits to keep abreast of local food issues and opportunities: Bethesda Green, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, growingSOUL, and SlowFood DC.
  2. Learn more with others through Simplicity Matters Discussion circles: The Northwest Earth Institute’s newest six-session discussion course, entitled Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics and Sustainability, will be available soon. Visit the Simplicity Matters website to join a Discussion Circle
  3. Participate in Food Day-Oct. 24, spearheaded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest with local activities throughout the U.S.
  4. Support businesses that walk the talk.

Bethesda Green and Full Plate Ventures gratefully acknowledge our supporters, including MOM’s Organic Market, Chef Tony’s Restaurant, Norman’s Farm Market, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; and all of our contributing partners.