On September 25th, Pocono Organics will host the Food Forever Experience Pocono. Food Forever is an awareness-raising campaign to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Target 2.5, which calls on the global community to safeguard the diversity of our foods. The experience calls on chefs and all stakeholders in food and agriculture to advocate for the wealth of diversity within our food systems and put it to use in their kitchens. By building more diverse food systems we are contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future for all.
On the UN Global Day of Action, the Food Forever Experience Pocono will present a glimpse into the future of food by showcasing the amazing potential of some of the lesser-known foods in our food systems. COVID-19 has placed extreme pressure on our food systems, making agrobiodiversity more important than ever. Pocono Organics is spearheading the effort by dedicating an entire greenhouse to growing more diverse crops including ulluco, oca, brown speckled tepary beans and more. People from all over the world will be able to tune in to the digital Food Forever Experience Pocono to hear world-class chefs, farmers, seed savers, educators, and policymakers speak on the importance of agrobiodiversity. Due to restrictions resulting from COVID-19 and fully compliant with state and federal regulations, the in-person experience has been scaled down to a limited number of in-region attendees.
Pocono Organics, is one of the largest public-facing regenerative organic farms in North America. As one of Rodale Institute’s largest satellite farms it serves as a global center for research, education, and discovery for regenerative organic agricultural practices that brings guests back to the roots of how and where their food is grown.
"I attended the first Food Forever Experience in New York and I was immediately inspired to take action," said Ashley Walsh, Founder and President of Pocono Organics. "I wanted to grow these forgotten ingredients at our farm to make them more accessible and get them back on our plates. We all have a chance to make a difference - whether as consumers every time we eat, as chefs preparing their menus or farmers choosing what crops to grow. We are so happy to be hosting the Food Forever Experience Pocono to inspire others to take action on this vital initiative of safeguarding crop agrobiodiversity."
Notable chefs, including Michael Stebner, Ange Brancaand Marcie Turney, will conceive and prepare inventive dishes, to be streamed online, using a range of curious and “rediscovered” ingredients. These chefs will be joined by renowned food advocates, including Erik Oberholtzer, Judy Wicks and Jeff Moyer, who will share their insight on the power of diverse crops such as Faro, Oca, Sunchokes, Finger Millet, and more. The Experience will also feature inspiring online talks by Chef Dan Barber, author of The Third Plate co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan, Zach Bush MD renowned, multi-disciplinary physician of internal medicine, Birgit Cameron of Patagonia Provisions and Tom Newmark Chairman, The Carbon Underground and co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva Lodge in Costa Rica, and Stefan Schmitz, Crop Trust Executive Director. The chefs will prepare videos and recipes to demonstrate how we can all recreate the Experience in our own kitchens during these unprecedented times.
"As a chef I have always celebrated the best local ingredients available at the peak of their season,” says Food Forever Champion Chef Erik Oberholtzer. “The Food Forever Experience has opened my mind to a diverse universe of ingredients I would likely have overlooked had I not joined this initiative. Whether digging deep into the diversity of a single ingredient like heirloom tomatoes or wide across the global spectrum of crops on the edge of our food system such as oca, we have an endless range of magic to cook with. Preserving this diversity is not only imperative to the future of our planet but key to a future of deliciousness."
Rodale Institute will also debut a white paper with new research findings surrounding how Regenerative Agriculture could potentially reduce emissions and maximize carbon sequestration in soils, as one solution to the climate crisis. The paper helps close out 2020 as the “year of soil health.” The Food Forever Experience will discuss how agrobiodiversity can contribute to greater resilience in our food systems, particularly in light of COVID and the pressure it’s placing on food systems.
Pocono Organics, awarded the 2019 Environmental Innovator of the Year by the Green Sports Alliance, was founded in 2015 and is one of the largest regenerative organic farms in North America. Located in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, Pocono Organics has more than 381 acres of farmland and, at full build out, will have 120,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Pocono Organics has a strategic partnership with Rodale Institute, the global leaders in Regenerative Organic Agriculture practices and research. Sustainability is a hallmark of Pocono Organics which will draw power from a 3MW, 25-acre solar farm and reclaim rainwater from its greenhouse roofs for irrigation. Pocono Organics also serves the local community through its Clean Food, Dirty Hands school education and Veteran Farmer Training programs. In addition, the property includes an organic farmer’s market and café, and with a 56-room adjoining hotel, is an agritourism destination, hosting wellness and education events as well as annual festivals. Click here to learn more about Pocono Organic’s mission and work.
About Food Forever
The Food Forever Initiative works to highlight the urgency of safeguarding and using crop and livestock diversity in support of Target 2.5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Zero Hunger. As an awareness-raising campaign, Food Forever relies on partners and high-level Champions from politics, Academia, business and civil society to promote the importance of agrobiodiversity within their own spheres of influence and networks. The initiative hopes to rally enough support to implement Target 2.5 by the end of 2020. www.food4ever.org
About Rodale Institute
Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For more than 70 years, the Institute has been putting science behind best practices in organic agriculture, sharing its findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet. Learn more at www.RodaleInstitute.org.
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