“A Celebration of Food and Water”

From the Putnam County News and Recorder, April 20, 2011:

John CroninUshering in a celebration of the season with an early nod to Earth Day, the Garrison Institute, Fresh Company and the Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries held a special dinner event, Food and Water: An Evening Talk and Dinner on Sustainability on April 14 at the Garrison Institute.  About 115 people joined Beacon Institute CEO and Time Magazine “hero of the planet” John Cronin for an enlightening conversation about our most fundamental resource, water. “We actually live in a water economy, not an oil economy,” said Cronin “and the amount of water we have today is the same as it has always been.”

Cronin’s talk explored the value of water by considering the history and future of the Hudson River as a symbol for economic, environmental and political change. He spoke of the revolutionary, yet unfinished mandate of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, the challenges facing fish spawning in the Hudson River today, and the “miracle” of their journeys from the ocean to their upstream homes.

Drawing on the resources of his own Catholic faith, Cronin framed his talk in a broader consideration of our moral common ground, speaking of the imperative to get beyond tired squabbles over who’s “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong,” and open ourselves to a greater shared responsibility for the health of our planet’s heritage. Choosing humans as his favorite Hudson River species, he described the hopefulness he feels understanding that we are the only species that is willing to help others – human or otherwise – that we will never see.

The theme of the event was an opportunity to both consider and celebrate in the preciousness of our food and water resources, and thus the remainder of the evening was centered on an exquisite Fresh Company buffet featuring oysters and Arctic Char, two of aquaculture’s success stories, and an array of delicious vegetarian dishes featuring, as much as possible, ingredients from local farms.

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