Wednesday evening’s screening of Nourish the film at Wilton Library kicked off an evening of lively moderated discussion about local and sustainably grown food with guest panelists Annie Farrell, Tim LaBant and Jim Hunter.
Every seat in the house was taken, a testament to the popularity of the topic and guest panelists and coordinated team effort in planning and organizing the event by the co-sponsors: Wilton Library, Wilton Go Green, Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm and Fairfield Green Food Guide.
About the Film:
Nourish is an educational film about the story of our food – food from a global perspective to personal action steps. Nourish illustrates how food connects to such issues as biodiversity, climate change, public health, and social justice. Hosted and narrated by Cameron Diaz, Nourish features interviews with best-selling author Michael Pollan, sustainable food advocate Anna Lappe, eco-chef Bryant Terry, pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke, and organic farmer Nigel Walker. With beautiful visuals and inspiring stories, Nourish traces our relationship to food from a global perspective to personal action steps. Nourish the film was created by WorldLink, an Emmy Award-winning media group with twenty years’ experience in designing education and outreach programs, in order to deepen our national dialog about our food.
About the Panelists:
Annie Farrell, Master Farmer, Millstone Farm.
Millstone Farm is owned by Betsy and Jesse Fink and is a for-profit working farm whose mission is to operate in a sustainable manner, both in economics and best farm practices. Millstone Farm is an important provider of high quality fresh produce to local families, restaurants and retailers. Annie Farrell, Betsy Fink and Millstone Farm are celebrated in a newly released and very beautiful cookbook, Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans, that was just named Best Cookbook Overall 2010 by Epicurious and will be featured on the Martha Stewart Show next Wednesday, November 24. Look for Betsy Fink and Annie Farrel in the audience.
In keeping with their goal to see local food production become the norm rather than the exception, Millstone Farm also serves as an educational outreach hub, supporting other farmers, community organizations, school groups and restaurateurs who are interested in learning more about the practice of sustainable agriculture, its implementation and its impact on local economies and food quality. The Millstone Farm Charitable Fund helps support philanthropic initiatives, such as school and community gardens and healthy food initiatives. Millstone Farm was recognized with a Green Coast Award at the Third Annual Green Faire at the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa on the morning of this event.
Tim LaBant, Chef/Owner of the Schoolhouse at Cannondale.
Tim’s uncompromising commitment to serving the highest quality fresh, local, and seasonal food has won Schoolhouse numerous awards including a Top 10 Ranking on Open Table’s Best of the tri state area, Best Special Occasion restaurant 2010 by Westport Magazine, and the top Fairfield County Pick for the Best of New England 2010 guide. Much of the food on the menu is sourced from Millstone Farm and some is even picked by the chef himself.
Starting Dec. 9 Tim and his team will be serving lunch, along with other farm-to-table chefs, on rotating Thursdays at the indoor winter farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s in Westport from 10-1 pm.
Jim Hunter, Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher and founder of the organic edible school garden at Wilton High School
Jim has taught at Wilton High School for the past nine years and recently founded Wilton High School’s edible school garden, made possible through funding from Newman’s Own Foundation and funding and other support from The Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation and Millstone Farm. Jim spent years learning to garden organically from Annie Farrell and her time and expertise were key contributors to the project’s success.
The panel discussion lasted about an hour and we invited the audience to submit questions on question cards that were collected during the final 20 minutes of Q&A.
It was my great pleasure to serve as moderator for the guest panel and this was my introduction:
“We are delighted so many of you were able to join us tonight. I know you will leave feeling uplifted and inspired by our guest panelists Annie Farrell, Tim LaBant and Jim Hunter. As you listen to their stories, it will become evident that Wilton is indeed a very special place where people who care deeply about nourishing the community are working in concert with one another for the greater good.”
The following questions were presented to the panelists by the moderator and some of their answers can be read in the article Residents Encouraged to’Eat Local, Think Global’ by Kara O’Connor, a staff writer at the Wilton Villager who attended the event. A second article, Panel Promotes Farm Fresh Food, by Anthony Buzzeo at The Daily Wilton conveys a few additional thoughts. And my favorite is Film and Discussion at the Wilton Library Nourishes the Community by Audra Carbone of the Wilton Patch.
Q1: The final chapter of the film encourages us to Be the Difference. Each of you IS the difference, working to transform the way we eat and nourish the community. Would you please tell us more about your work?
Q2: The film encourages us to Vote With Our Forks. What does that mean and what are some ways to do that here in Fairfield County?
Q3: Is being a conscious eater enough? Should we all be growing some of our own food and finding ways to support programs and initiatives working to transform the food system into something more sustainable, just and healthy?
The following audience questions were taken on cards and answered by Jim Hunter, Tim LaBant, and Annie Farrell, respectively.
Q1: Will gardens be put in the elementary and middle schools in Wilton?
Q2: What’s local in season November through April?
Q3: What workshops and programs are offered at Millstone Farm, how do you find out about them, and how do we encourage more people to grow in their own backyards?
Many thanks to Tim LaBant and Schoolhouse Restaurant for the delicious cassoulet, Wave Hill Bread for the bread used in the dish, and Vintage Fine Wines of Wilton for their support with the wines. A red and a white wine were served, a 2008 Bonterrra Vineyards Chardonnay and 2006 Lolonis Cabernet, both California wines made from 100% organic grapes.
Guests enjoyed the food and wine during the networking event that followed with panelists and exhibitors Wilton Go Green, Millstone Farm, Fairfield Green Food Guide, Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm, and Ambler Farm.
Thank you to the many guests who supported the library through donations and purchased DVDs from the non-profit Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm to share with their family, friends, businesses, school and organizations. Many thanks to the Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm for their sponsorship of the Nourish screening.
Nourish is a multi-year media and education initiative. The purpose of Nourish is to open a broad public conversation about our food system that encourages citizen engagement, particularly among young people and families. To inform and inspire, Nourish combines television programming, short films, web content, and learning tools. With a distinctly positive vision, Nourish celebrates both food and community.
Nourish is a project of WorldLink, an Emmy Award-winning media group with twenty years experience in designing education and outreach programs. To maximize the effectiveness of Nourish, WorldLink is collaborating with more than 40 organizations dedicated to creating a sustainable food future.