Last night we attended the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) gathering for dinner and conversation. We were invited by our friend Clay Grubb who is a local board member for EDF. It was an absolutely gorgeous night at an even more gorgeous location – hosted by Kathryn Heath and Tom Webb at their lovely home in Eastover.
We were greeted with cocktails in the garden and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres while meeting new like minded people who care about the environment and support EDF. EDF is a non-profit organization committed to helping climate change, sustainable fishing, ecosystems, and protecting people’s health from environmental hazards. The number of really really smart people we met last night was amazing. It seemed to me that everyone who worked for EDF was either a scientist or had a PhD in their field of expertise. At our table, we sat with a lovely lady from Austin, Texas named Heather Paffe, that works to support sustainable fisheries and the conservation of sea life. I immediately asked if she was a scuba-diver! She was not, but said that she would be taking it up soon! I was excited to hear this since scuba diving is my favorite outdoor activity. She asked me if I ate sustainable fish, I replied with an enthusiastic “yes” – and told her about my relationship with a local fishery who drops the freshest fish at my doorstep! (I’ll write a post about them soon – until then you can check them out at Atherton Market)
Right before dinner, my husband and I were able to spend some time with Jim Rogers, Chairman, President, and CEO of Duke Energy, who was the guest speaker for the evening. He was very kind and offered his vision of the future to me… He said “Vani – it’s all going to be about how we have access to water” – “water will be the oil of the next century, we need water in order to produce electricity and will need to find ways to preserve it now.” The best part was when he said he wants to read my blog and wanted me to email it to him… (hope you are reading Jim!).
After a glowing welcome from board member and hostess Kathryn Heath, board of trustees member Bob Perkowitz took the mic and spoke to us about how EDF was involved at a local level here in Charlotte. Compass Group is a global food provider and it’s North America headquarters is right here in Charlotte. EDF has partnered with Compass Group to ensure the food they provide doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like antibiotics, to promote the purchase of sustainable fish and to support local farmers whenever possible. This made my ears perk up, as I was extremely excited to hear this. I started eating organic and local because of the environmental impact years ago, but as I learned more about the food industry, pesticides and where we get our food from, the reason I eat the way I do became even more important! I want to live the next years of my life to the fullest and as disease free as possible. Eating local is key – it’s fresher and it’s more alive because it hasn’t started to decay. Plant enzymes are the building blocks your body needs to prevent all sorts of illnesses. There is a fabulous movie about this to be released in Charlotte on June 17th called Forks over Knives- I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Next, Jim Rogers took the stage and echoed what he told me earlier about water being so important. He also took a lot more questions from the audience, including some interesting ones about how Duke Energy would protect the electrical grid that we all depend on from mischievous terrorists. He responded by saying that they have partnered with government agencies like the FBI that monitor their systems to detect intruders. Another gentlemen asked him how Duke Energy is helping uptown Charlotte become green - another topic I was excited to hear about, since we live right in the middle of it on Tryon Street! He said they are planning to develop contests between buildings to see who can reduce their power consumption the most. How cool, I love competition, wonder if my neighbors would help us win in our condo building?
After hearing from one of the 50th most powerful men in the world (check out the Newsweek magazine Global Elite List) we headed to the beautiful buffet of local food provided by Porcupine Provisions- Leslie runs the show, I had met her several times at other fundraisers for President Barack Obama and other democratic leaders. She’s the sweetest and I can tell she has a real passion for food. We exchanged comments about how real red velvet cake doesn’t need any red food coloring!
I was pleasantly surprised at how many fresh vegetables were available locally – everything from zucchini, frisee, collards, chard, carrots, yucca, sweet potatoes and onions. The food was fresh and definitely Food Babe approved!
After my fill of vegetables, the strawberry shortcake arrived! It was excellent and just the right amount of whipped cream! While we were eating dessert, our table broached all sorts of subjects like whether or not butter was good for you. I offered my Food Babe expertise and it was well received, since I am a huge fan of real organic butter
One of the best moments of the night was when the gentleman sitting next to us, a self proclaimed ex-hippy, Mr. Sparrow, offered me and my husband advice – he proclaimed “the years between 30 and 50 are your best, take full advantage of it, since this is the time your mind finally catches up with your body and you’ll be able to do amazing things you never thought possible!” Needless to say I went home with a huge smile on my face, ready for all the possibilities!