Tooting your own horn is sometimes frowned upon—best left to the provinces of PR firms—but as we measure the success of our business in ways other than purely bottom-line economics, this is the time and place for it!
We have tallied the results from our 2011 Eat Drink Local Week fundraiser for local food nonprofits Sustainable Food Center and Urban Roots, and we are properly impressed with ourselves. This event raised more money than in any of our previous four years—in a tough economic climate, with pocketbooks stretched and resources limited. Raising over $52,000 during a weeklong celebration of local food could only have happened with an outpouring of support from the community.
Our community appreciates the value of investing in their food growers, producers, chefs and markets—and having a rollicking good time in the process. This is both gratifying and essential to our continued efforts to transform the way we relate to our food and choose a conscious way to eat. We are happy and humbled to be part of this movement.
Here are some of the comments we received from our participants this year.
“Eat Drink Local Week—great food at soooo many places. I love it!” —Emmett Fox, ASTI Trattoria and FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar
“Eat Drink Local Week was a great first experience for Twin County Lamb. With your help and through our constant presence and work in Austin, we were featured at two restaurants that week. The chefs were happy with our product and it worked well for all. I would have liked to have tried the leg of lamb taco [at Tacodeli] which sounded so, oh so delicious and I was so impressed when I delivered the meat to Hopdoddy and found, at about 2 p.m., a lunch line going all the way outside the building. Austin is hungry for good, healthy food and we love it!”—Isabelle Marie Hélène Lauzière, Twin County Lamb
“Had a great Eat Drink Local Week this year! Folks came in just to support our efforts. Thanks to all of our farmers for taking care of us.”—Chef Jack Gilmore, Jack Allen’s Kitchen
“Our featured dish sold wonderfully that week. It was something that we took a lot of pride in creating and executing. We love participating in Eat Drink Local Week because supporting local businesses and farms is a core value of our restaurants.”
—Chef Rene Ortiz, La Condesa
“What we appreciate most about the event is that it helps to raise public awareness about the fact that Manuel’s is buying and cooking with lots of locally grown, all natural Texas ingredients. We also enjoyed participating in some of the events like the Pig Roast at Springdale Farm, attending the Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry event at the Paramount, getting to know some potential new suppliers and the chance to make new friends within the local sustainable community movement.”—Jennifer McNevin, Manuel’s
My personal high for the week was moderating the conversation with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson at two sold-out shows at Stateside at the Paramount Theatre. The pleasure of their company and the measure of their words was invigorating and unforgettable. If you missed this event, you can listen to an excerpt from their conversation on Episode 115 Growing Home show on Edible Radio (edibleradio.com) and bask in their wisdom of why “It all turns on affection, don’t you know.”