Friday, April 20, 2007

Ideas for Earth Day (Sunday)

As we prepare for Earth Day, a festival recognizing nature’s bounty and our responsibility to protect it, our thoughts turn to how food can enrich our understanding of the day, enliven our observance, and stimulate us to action.

Start the day with an organic breakfast

Earth Day was begun to remind us that we can not continue to deplete and poison our environment. Organic farming offers us natural foods bursting with flavor and nutrition, grown without pesticides, herbicides, genetic modification, or artificial fertilizers.

Play in your garden

Earth Day is a great time for preparing the soil, cleaning your tools, building a mulch bin and beginning to plant your vegetable garden. If you don’t have a yard, consider planting an herb garden in a window box, preparing container gardens for your front steps, or making friends with a gardening neighbor.

Make an Earth Day centerpiece

Collect twigs, rocks, azalea boughs, moss, tulips and other spring flowers, and new leaves and create a natural centerpiece for your table.

Have a picnic lunch with locally-produced foods

With a quick trip to a local co-op or farmers’ market, you can pick up all the supplies you’ll need for an Earth Day picnic using produce grown locally. Buying local supports sustainable agriculture by members of our community, cuts down on fuel needlessly burned up transporting our food, and connects us with the seasons and our own environment.

Visit a local farm

Among the many ways to celebrate Earth Day, one of our favorites is visiting a farm. Call ahead and arrange to meet the farmers and take a walk in the fields and orchards. Take your picnic with you and consider buying a homemade pie for dessert.

Join Slow Food USA

We’re not the only ones who like to celebrate good food. As part of the international Slow Food movement, the mission of Slow Food USA is to support and celebrate the food traditions of North America. The non-profit organization values sustainability, cultural diversity, pleasure and quality in everyday eating experiences, inclusiveness, authenticity, and integrity.

Host a neighborhood Earth Day potluck

Earth Day helps us remember that we are all in this together. It’s a great time to get to know your neighbors. Ask everyone to bring their favorite ways of enjoying earth’s bounty. In the spirit of the day, try using reusable utensils, plates, and napkins rather than disposables.

Enrich your meal with a poem, reading, or song

Before, during, or after your celebratory dinner, invite guests to share poems, environmental readings, and earth-themed songs with your family and friends. Many cultures have rich meal-time traditions; explore your own culture or learn a new one. We’re thinking of incorporating some Jewish Tu B’Shevat rituals into our Earth Day celebration. Also consider using these discussion starters.

Enjoy Fair Trade chocolate and coffee for dessert

The Fair Trade label allows consumers to purchase items produced where workers labor in safe conditions, are paid fair wages, and producers have committed to sustainable practices that are mindful of the environment. What a sweet way to end your Earth Day celebration.

May this Earth Day renew our commitment to building a sustainable world, strengthening our communities, and nurturing our families.

* * *

A True Earth Day Feast

(Put together by Son)

“They began with rich brown loam that looked almost exactly like chocolate…. When the rich loam had taken the edge of their hunger, the trees turned to an earth of the kind you see in Somerset, which is almost pink. They said it was lighter and sweeter. At the cheese stage they had a chalky soil, and then went on to delicate confections of the finest gravel powdered with choice silver sand. …For the most part they quenched their thirst with deep drafts of mingled dew and rain flavored with forest flowers and the airy taste of the thinnest clouds.”

from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

If you would like to have your own Earth Day Feast and you don’t eat dirt as the trees do, try this recipe. This dish is made with many ingredients that grow in the earth. It’s a wonderful meal and I hope you enjoy it!

Earth Day Earth Stew

(Senegalese Mafé)

2 large onions

2 sweet potatoes

4 turnips

4 medium potatoes

2 large carrots

½ small cabbage

2 large tomatoes

1 bunch fresh leafy greens

2 chili peppers or 1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 cups tomato sauce

¾ cups peanut butter

Finely chop onions. Chop sweet potatoes, turnips, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes into bite size chunks and coarsely shred the cabbage and greens. Brown onions in four tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet or stew pot. Add the vegetables one at a time, sautéing each for about a minute before adding the next.

Stir in tomato sauce along with a cup of water, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Spoon out about a half cup of hot broth and mix it with the peanut butter to make a smooth paste. Add peanut butter paste to the pot and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice.


Sheepish Annie said...

"Prince Caspian" is one of my don't hear that one quoted all that often. I also love "The Magician's Nephew."

Thanks for the stew recipe! I wonder how it would work with tahini instead of the peanut butter? I always seem to have gobs of that around for hummus production but never use it for anything else.

Happy Earth Day!

Birdsong said...

What a wonderful post... I can do the chocolate part:) Happy Earth Day, every day.


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