Reading, writing and Radicchio
Release Date: 08-21-2006

PORTLAND, Ore. – Reserve your place at the table for “Reading, Writing and Radicchio” — a three-part series presented by Ecotrust’s Food and Farms program in partnership with Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services and Abernethy Elementary. The fall series offers a full-serving of insight, information and entertainment to highlight the comprehensive efforts underway at Portland Public Schools (PPS) to improve children’s eating habits, help children and their families learn about food, and promote wellness.

Oregon’s Omnivore Dilemma

The first course starts with a City Club Friday Forum entitled “Oregon’s Omnivore’s Dilemma” to be held on Friday, September 15. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The program begins at12:15 p.m. The forum is inspired by author Michael Pollan’s best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. This Friday Forum brings the dilemma home to Oregon with a panel discussion that will revolve around deconstructing typical lunches served by well known, local institutions. The process will reveal where the meal came from and respond to questions about the challenges and opportunities meal providers face in sourcing ingredients.

A panel, moderated by Deborah Kane, vice president of Ecotrust Food and Farms program, will feature Kristy Obbink, Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services Director, Lisa Sedlar, president of New Seasons Market, and Tara Wefers, vice president of marketing and communications for The Holland, Inc., the parent company of Burgerville. Tickets to this Friday Forum cost between $5 and $20. Lunch will be available to attendees with advance reservations. Both tickets and lunch reservations can be purchased in advance by calling City Club at 503-228-7231 ext. 103. For more information visit:

A+ Lunch

Grab a “spork” for the second course in the Reading, Writing and Radicchio series and eat lunch cafeteria style — plastic tray and pint of milk included — while learning about the pilot scratch kitchen at one school, Abernethy Elementary. On Tuesday, October 10, at 11:30a.m., the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center conference room will be transformed into a lunchroom for grown-ups.

Guests will experience the very meal that Abernethy students will eat that day in the cafeteria across town and hear from a panel of public school officials, including: Chef Linda Colwell, Abernethy Elementary Farm to School Coordinator, Chef Ann Cooper, director of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School’s Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley and author of “Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children” (Collins; September 2006) and Kristy Obbink, PPS Nutrition Services Director. Panelists will share case studies of the work being done at the national and local level to reform school lunches, including an in-depth look at Abernethy Elementary’s comprehensive approach to wellness, which includes an outdoor garden, curriculum integration, and, best of all, a newly retrofitted scratch kitchen which turns out 50 hot breakfasts and 200 hot lunches each day.

Guests will be among the first to hear the outcomes of the analysis of the pilot farm to school program, led by Ecotrust’s Food and Farms program, and how the lessons learned will shape district-wide change in the years to come, beginning in the 2006–2007 school year.

Tickets to the A+ Lunch are $65 with proceeds supporting Abernethy Elementary’s Garden of Wonders and the nonprofit Ecotrust’s work to research and transform public school lunch programs. Reserve a spot in the lunch line by visiting or by calling 503-227-6225.

Lunch and Learn at Abernethy Elementary

The series entrée is a full-day Lunch and Learn event for the community held at Abernethy Elementary School on Saturday, October 14, from 11:30 a.m. – 4p.m. This celebration of the work being done to manifest wellness in public schools will begin with an “open cafeteria” with Chef Linda Colwell and her staff preparing lunch for the public Abernethy style. After lunch, head off to classrooms for a series of workshops perfect for parents and teachers on topics including:

  • Starting your own edible school garden
  • Local food in local cafeterias – Making Institutional Changes in Public School Cafeterias
  • Farm tours: Connecting Students to their Food Sources
  • Teaching kids to cook
  • Wellness model development at the school, district and national level
  • Developing innovative food and garden curricula

Workshops are free, but space is limited. Reserve a spot by registering in advance at

Recess has not been overlooked. Running concurrent with classroom workshops will be activity stations on the school grounds where the kids and adults can continue their edible experiential learning experience. Look for pumpkin carving with children roasting seeds in the kitchen; meet dairy, potato and pear farmers, and satisfying your curiosity about all things agricultural; or visit the Slow Food tasting table where children are invited to sample salty, sweet, sour and bitter flavors — these and many other activities await your attention and hands-on participation.

The following organizations are generously supporting the Reading, Writing and Radicchio educational event series: Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Kettle Foods, Organic Valley Family of Farms, New Seasons Market, Truitt Bros., Inc., Stahlbush Island Farms, Nancy’s Yogurt, Stoel Rives, Portland Nursery, Cardinal Nutrition, Food Services of America, Egg Press and West Coast Event Productions.

About Ecotrust’s Food and Farms Program

Since 2001, Ecotrust’s Food and Farms program has been investing in building direct market connections between farmers, ranchers, and fishermen and restaurant chefs, grocery retail buyers, institutions and distributors. One of five major program areas of the Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit Ecotrust, the Food and Farms Program is building a vision for a sustainable food system.