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Green Team potlucks focus on sustainable food practices

SUSTAINABLE LIVING
by: Todd Sargent, Lara Utman and Patsy Steimer supervise Dan Steigerwald, as he slices the local pesto to combine with the locally-produced tomato sauce for the mozzarella pizza, at the “Green Team” March potluck supper in Woodstock.

After its first project - cleaning bus stops on Woodstock Boulevard -- the Woodstock-centered 'Green Team' met to plan its next activity. The team was then composed of Dan Steigerwald, Lonnie Port, Carey Collins, and Bill Steimer.

Someone suggested that the team and the spouses get together for a sustainable potluck supper, providing an opportunity to think about sustainable eating and to consider other topics related to reduce/reuse/recycle - and to get spouses to join the Green Team!

The first dinner took place at the height of the harvest in early September. Instructions were simple: Bring a dish prepared with locally-grown ingredients, and be ready to talk about the choices made at every stage from preparation to disposal of waste.

The goal was to reduce the carbon footprint of our food consumption, bearing in mind that the transport of food, especially prepared and refrigerated food, uses a tremendous amount of energy.

Four couples arrived bearing a veritable feast, including lamb casserole with eggplant and applesauce, tomato and cucumber salad with basil, roasted carrots and potatoes, wheat berry salad with apples and mint, and peach cobbler. All the dishes were homemade, and all of them were delicious. Ingredients came from Farmers' Markets, backyard gardens, farm shares (Community Supported Agriculture), and even the grocery store!

Dinner conversation covered such topics as solar energy, IKEA packaging, recycling in Holland (where Dan and Ann Steigerwald had lived for many years), the possibility of recycling styrofoam with orange extract, ways to store food without using harmful plastics, and - the ultimate recycling - organ donation.

At the next dinner, the group did add another couple: Todd Sargent and Lara Utman - who brought additional knowledge and expertise. 'Green Team' members come from varied backgrounds, and rang in age from thirty-something to sixty-something, but their common interest in environmental issues pulled the group together. The second dinner was a success, and the group has eaten together monthly ever since.

Winter presented some challenges, but a January brunch included a quiche with many winter vegetables, a salad of carrots and walnuts harvested from a backyard tree, and a selection of baked goods made with Bob's Red Mill Organic flour (from Montana).

The March gathering was a pizza party, featuring fresh mozzarella cheese made by Green Team members, along with frozen tomato sauce and pesto from the group's 2007 gardens.

The next Green Team Project is the Woodstock Community Cleanup on April 26th, which the group will undertake along with the 41st Avenue Speed Bump Committee.

If you are interested in finding out some of the things the Green Team has learned about sustainable cooking, or perhaps joining the group, call 503/308-2289.