The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970 with about 20 million participants, and it has since grown to a global event with 1 billion people pausing to celebrate the third rock from the sun, according to the Earth Day Network.
For food lovers, this Earth Day, and the whole Earth Week from April 18 to April 23, is particularly important as the Environmental Protection Agency has made “Food Recovery” the driving theme for the festivities.
If you are looking for ways to pause and think about the planet this Earth Week, UGA’s Office of Sustainability has you covered with a packed calendar of events. Below is a rundown of all the food-centric happenings, but be sure to check out their website for the full list.
Grab your iCal, palm pilot, or a pile of sticky notes:
Monday: Farmers Market and Fair
Start your week off right by investing in some local fare. The Office of Sustainability, in conjunction with UGA Students for Environmental Action, is bringing back one of my favorite events from last year’s Earth Week: the pop-up market.
From 10 am to 2 pm, local vendors will be selling food on the lawn in front of the Bulldog Cafe (by the new Niche Pizza Co.). While the line up hasn’t been posted, last year’s market included crepes from Holy Crepe.
The event will also include free bike tuneups and tunes from the a cappella group the Ecotones.
Can’t make the fair? Visit the downtown Athens Farmers Market on Wednesday from 4 to 7 pm by Creature Comforts for your local fare fix.
Tuesday: International Agriculture Day
While this one isn’t specifically part of the Earth Week events, we think it’s worth adding to your calendar.
From 3:30 to 5:30 pm, head over to the Georgia Museum of Art for a lecture by Ann Steensland, the deputy director of the Global Harvest Initiative for her talk, “Building Sustainable Breadbaskets.” While Global Harvest is a private-sector group with members such as Monsanto and DuPont, the lecture should provide an interesting take on how big ag views sustainability.
The free event will also include a reception and the chance to judge the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences “ag abroad” photo contest.
Wednesday: Visit Washington Farms
Looking to give yourself a food-centric study break on Wednesday? Take a trip to Washington Farms to pick strawberries. While this isn’t on the official Earth Week list either, picking your own fruit can help you to better appreciate the food in your fridge—and maybe throw less away next time you get a pint of berries from the store.
The farm is about 30 minutes from the Arch on Hog Mountain Road. They are open from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday (and closed on Sundays). Be sure to call ahead before taking the trip (weather can change the hours) and don’t forget your own bucket (they have ones available for $1, but it’s Earth Week, so help the environment and bring your own).
U-Pick strawberries are $12 a gallon.
Thursday: South by South Milledge
Literally. Can. Not. Wait.
If you went to the UGArden’s Fall Festival in October, you will understand why we are so pumped for this event.
For $3, you get great music, food from Taziki’s, Mama’s Boy, and Heirloom Cafe, and a chance to check out the UGArden, which produces food for Campus Kitchen to use on their mission of helping feed hungry Athens seniors.
Full disclosure, I am an intern at UGArden, but even after spending 10 hours a week there, I can’t wait to head back out for this event, which will run from 5 to 8 pm. If you imagine the vibe of a backyard barbecue with family, merged with the feels of shopping at the farmers market, topped with the goosebumps of listening to your favorite tunes on Spotify, that is something along the lines of what you are in for at SXSM (also, can we please talk about how great the name is?).
So, it’s true, we are a bit biased on this one—but for good reason.
The screening is this Friday from 6 to 8 pm in the Memorial Hall Ballroom.
In addition to seeing the film on salvaging America’s food waste, event attendees will have a chance to chat with sustainability-minded campus organizations and to nosh on delicious refreshments.
Did we mention that it’s completely free to come?
Saturday: Farm to Tap
End your Earth Week in style with a visit to Terrapin Beer Co. from 4:30 to 7:30 pm for this food and drink-palooza.
For $20 (or $10 if you just want food), you can take a tour of Terrapin and get 36 oz. worth of beer samples plus six tapas plates prepared from Collective Harvest’s family-grown produce and prepared by chefs from FIVE Athens, Etienne Brasserie, Chops & Hops, White Tiger Gourmet and The World Famous.
The best part? Proceeds support the Fresh Food Bus, which aims to make the Saturday Athens Farmers Market accessible to more people.