State of the Plate took Chicago by storm in a one day event about sustainable meat. Booked at the beautiful Harold Washington Library and Robert Morris University the attendees were treated to a full day of presentation, discussion and tasting by many leaders in the sustainable food movement. The invigorating interaction tackled the questions and confusion about Sustainable Meat: What is it? What does it taste like? Why buy it? Where can you get it?
The goal of the event was to provide a learning opportunity and with that opportunity to connect restaurants and food professionals directly with producers and distributors in the creation of a more efficient and affordable supply chain for sustainable meat in Chicago. State of the Plate laid a foundation for building a bridge from the farm to the table that not only educates but creates real solutions to the sustainable supply issues.
Goals accomplished included the discovery of the differences between the industrial farm and sustainably raised systems for producing meat and their impact on public health and the environment. Presented were ranchers and distributors that supply Chicago with verified sustainable meat products of which Rain Crow Ranch/American Grassfed Beef is one.
In addition, the event allowed attendees to taste and compare industrial and sustainably farmed meat from the participating ranches and companies that sell in Chicago. Armed with 50 8oz patties of our grassfed beef the burgers were prepared by the Robert Morris Culinary School students and chefs. These folks kept a steady supply of fresh warm grassfed burgers coming out of the kitchen to be sampled.
Keynote speakers included Robert Kenner, writer, producer, and director of Food, Inc. Food, Inc is one of the top 25 grossing theatrical documentaries of all time, selling nearly 500,000 DVDs. The movie received widespread critical acclaim, dozens of awards and nominations and has influenced current food policy decisions. One of my personal highlights of the event was having dinner with Robert along with Troy Roush and Carol Morrison, farmer heroes who took the risk and talked to the cameras in Food, Inc.
The other keynote speaker was Fedele Bauccio, founder of Bon Appétit Management Co. One of the first food service industry professionals who made the effort to source fresh, made-from-scratch, local and sustainable foods to the contract market.
We offer many thanks to the planners and sponsors who allowed us an opportunity to speak on a panel that educated and answered questions about that which we have a passion – our grassfed beef.
The event was put together by The Chicago Restaurant Co-op and associated steering committee. It was the brain-child of Dan Rosenthal, President of The Rosenthal Group, cofounder and chairman of The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op. Other members of the steering committee included Christopher Koetke, Vice President of Culinary Arts at Kendal College; David Rand, Director Farmers Market Coalition and Farm Forager, Green City Market; Chef Bruce Sherman, President Chefs Collaborative, Chef of North Pond Restaurant; Jim Slama, Founder and President, Family Farmed.org and Kerri McClimen, Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. This group did a wonderful job of pulling the event together to make it top notch.
Sponsors included The Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, Family Farmed.org, Animal Welfare Approved, Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co., Kendall College, Chicago Dept. of Environment, Robert Morris University, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurants, edible Chicago, and others.
Read more and look at conference pictures at http://stateoftheplate2010.com .