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Celebrate Earth Day the foodie way

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., April 20, 2012

The overhyped cold front did deliver a short rain to refresh all the crops and ushered in pleasant temperatures for Sunday afternoon's East Austin Urban Farm Tour. It was truly inspiring to see so many young families making the trek. Kids were fascinated by chickens everywhere and especially charmed by the resident menagerie at HausBar Farms. There was great food in abundance: Lick strawberry-basil ice cream, Lenoir's wild-boar rillettes, Bola Pizza's el Bastardo pizza, Thunder Heart Bison: Ranch to Trailer chili, Amity Bakery cookie sandwiches, Hillside Farmacy's voluptuous veggie bisque, cubes of angel food cake with Confituras' strawberry-rhubarb conserve. Each location featured beer, wine, and cocktails aplenty. My only suggestion for next year would be a nonalcoholic option at every location. My favorite thing: the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance's "Agtivist" bumper sticker for my scooter!

Celebrate Earth Day by participating in the third annual Give 5% to Mother Earth Day fundraising campaign to benefit the Hill Country Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Texas Land Conserv­ancy, TreeFolks, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, and the Clean Water Fund. Local Whole Foods Markets got the funding started by donating 5% of their sales from April 18. More than 120 local businesses, including popular restaurants from ALC Steaks to Zax, will pick up the challenge on Saturday, April 21, donating 5% of their proceeds to benefit our environment. To sign up or find a list of participating businesses, go to www.austingive5.com... The UT Division of Housing & Food Service celebrates Earth Week by presenting menus based on locally sourced ingredients from the Sustainable Food Center's Farm Direct program. The Local Har­vest dinners will be served at Jester Residence Hall's second-floor dining area (201 E. 21st) and Kinsolving Dormitory (2605 Whitis) on Thursday, April 19, from 4:30 to 7pm.

The wackiest event this weekend has to be the Off-Centered Film Festival presented by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. This year's theme is Westerns, and the goofiness kicks off Thursday, April 19, with a Blazing Saddles Quote-Along beer party in Republic Square Park. On Friday night, you can choose from a Once Upon a Time in the West Dogfish Head beer feast or a late-night screening of Wainy Days episodes at Alamo South Lamar. Tickets at www.drafthouse.com.

In local food and beverage news, Austin-based Z Tequila recently took a double gold medal at the 12th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. A celebration is planned for May 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel: www.facebook.com/pepeztequilaTexas Pie Kitchen won the Social Innovation fast pitch award at the recent RISE Social Entrepreneurship Conference. In addition to the $1,000 prize, the nonprofit pie company that trains local bakers will receive marketing and social media services from 97 Degrees West. This comes on the heels of a recent $2,000 grant from H-E-B. Texas Pie Kitchen sells wholesale and direct to the public at 814-7PIE... We omitted Resolution Gardens' 5 Mile Farms from our list of community-supported agriculture programs currently signing up new members: alittlesincerity08@gmail.com.

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