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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bay Area Green Tours Explore Local, Sustainable Foods Deliciously

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM

BAGT's walking tour of downtown Berkeley.
  • BAGT's walking tour of downtown Berkeley.

Do you love food but also worry about the sustainability of our current system? Yeah, you do. That's why you live here! They say every area gets the food tour it deserves, and so, we have Bay Area Green Tours, a nonprofit that started three years ago in conjunction with San Francisco's Green Festival. Naturally. Executive Director Marissa LaMagna hopes the tours will help Bay Area residents better relate to the food they eat. The tours highlight local businesses as a way to empower people to make conscious choices about the things they consume, and to be aware of the economic and environmental impacts of their actions. As LaMagna says:

Once people meet the farmers and producers and witness their passion, they are able to more directly connect themselves to the food system. They learn first hand about the time and care that goes into producing the food we eat and inevitably share this insight with others. By going on our tours, community members are able to have questions answered and also discover new environmental concepts they want to explore.

The tours help people to connect the dots, and hopefully inspire them to make changes in the way they approach food. Also, you'll get to eat a LOT.

That's pretty interesting, especially when the change is inspired via delicious culinary tours. A recent moveable feast took diners through downtown Berkeley, starting with appetizers at Gather, entrees at Five Restaurant, and dessert at Revival Kitchen + Bar. Throughout the meal, the owners and chefs joined the group for conversation about the local food movement.

The evening was a huge hit, and they plan to make it a monthly thing. Other upcoming tours include a Berkeley Food Sovereignty Tour, and one that highlights businesses along the San Francisco water front. They're also planning on offering an inside peek into local vendors in the area, including Oakland, which has a rich culture of artisan food producers like Numi, Arisana Butters, Hodo Soy, Back to the Roots Mushrooms, and more. Yes, please!

In addition to all this, LaMagna would like to offer a "Food Cultural Exchange Program", where she can bring people from Marin to Oakland -- or Oakland to Marin, or Brentwood to the South Bay -- to show the creation of food in different parts of the same general area. Another eye-opening program LaMagna works on is in conjunction with Berkeley High School's Green Academy. For the past three years, they've offered partnerships to explore Green Building, Rethinking Waste, Green Collar Jobs, Green Corridor, Urban Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation. Through supporting Bay Area Green Tours, you're also supporting community building and youth stewardship. Damn, you're a good person!

To find out more about Bay Area Green Tours upcoming culinary adventures or learn how to get involved, check out their website.

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Laura Beck


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