This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, April 20
The "inside story" about the production of the official state beverage is the topic of theWisconsin's Best: Milk lecture that will be given this afternoon by Pamela Ruegg, a dairy science professor at UW. Dairy farms around Wisconsin produce some 24 million tons of milk every year, a figure that includes the contributions from the UW campus herd. Attendees will be served a glass of milk from the Babcock Hall Dairy Store following the presentation. This is the final lecture of the academic year in a series about the Wisconsin food industry organized by the UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Ebling Symposium Center, Microbial Sciences Bldg, 1551 Linden Dr., 4:45-5:45 p.m., free but online registration is requested. Call 829-2999 for more info.
Terese Allen, a regional food writer and contributor to Isthmus heads to Waunakee this evening to lead a discussion about her revised edition of the classic Harva Hatchen cookbook The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State. The talk will also feature a lesson about Wisconsin cheeses and accompanying tasting. Waunakee Library, 701 South St., Waunakee, 7 p.m., free. Call 608-849-4217 for more info.
Local food and its impact on both personal health and the broader community is the focus of Earth Week at Edgewood College, a series of some two dozen educational and service-based events around its west side campus. The keynote speaker is Jack Kloppenburg, a professor in the UW Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, who will lead a talk this evening about "what local food means to all of us." The discussion will be followed by a free buffet featuring numerous locally-sourced dishes. Edgewood College, Washburn Heritage Room, 1000 Edgewood Collge Dr., 7 p.m., free. Call 663-4861 for more info.
As part of Earth Week, the Madison Infoshop is hosting a screening of The Garden, a documentary about "the struggle to save the then largest urban farm in the U.S. in south central Los Angeles from real estate speculators and corrupt city politicians." The film, an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary for 2008, will be followed by a discussion with local food activists. UW Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St., 7 p.m., free. Call 262-9036 for more info.
Wednesday, April 21
Downtown residents and workers looking to do their neighborhood farm-to-table shopping sans the Saturday buzz on Capitol Square will welcome the mid-week edition of the Dane County Farmers' Market, which opens for the season this morning in its regular spot between the City-County Building and the Madison Municipal Building. Typical seasonal products found at the market in April can include asparagus, baked goods, bedding plants, bunch onions, cheeses, cut flowers, dry beans, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, hanging baskets, lettuce, maple syrup, meats, morels, perennial plants, rhubarb, and spinach. 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., downtown Madison, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 455-1999 for more info.
Fans of the Madison Mallards will get to wind up for a long summer of baseball at the fourth annual First Pitch, a preview of the upcoming 2010 season. Owner Steve Schmitt, president Vern Stenman, and manager C.J. Thieleke will unveil the schedule of wacky promotional events that will accompany the action on the diamond, as well as announce ballpark improvements at the Duck Pond, the north side home of the city's beloved summer college wood bat league team. Free brats, hot dogs, and sodas round out the fun. Great Dane-Hilldale, 357 Price Pl., 6 p.m., free. Call 246-4277 for more info.
The flavors of Street Food are the focus of the latest Indian cooking lesson taught by Chef Neeta Saluja. The menu for the class includes chaat paapri, corn fritters, tamarind chutney, and masala chai. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 owners and $25 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
The Madison Infoshop continues its Earth Week activities with more screenings of short documentaries about food and agriculture. The line-up for the evening includes Big River, The Meatrix, True Cost of Food, and more docs about Madison Fruits and Nuts and Drumlin Community Garden. The films will be followed by a discussion with local urban food activists. UW Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St., 7 p.m., free. Call 262-9036 for more info.
Thursday, April 22
A sustainable agriculture bike tour around the UW campus this afternoon offers one opportunity to celebrate Earth Day outdoors. Starting at the "edible courtyard" at the Pyle Center, it features a stop at Allen Centennial Garden, as well as visits to the F.H. King Student Farm and the Eagle Heights Community Garden. The outing continues at Eagle Heights with a series of workshops on urban fruit trees, small fruits, pruning young fruit trees, composting, and permaculture guilds, and closes at 5 p.m. with a local food potluck picnic. UW Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., noon, free. Call 262-9036 for more info.
An Earth Day Herb Walk through the UW Arboretum provides another option for spending some time today amidst the springtime urban flora. Kathleen Wildwood of Wildwood Herbs will discuss "ancient herb lore, plant identification tips, scientific research and modern uses of the herbs that grow around us" through this evening stroll. UW Arboretum, parking lot at corner of Monroe St. and Arbor Dr., 6:30 p.m., free. Call 663-9608 for more info.
Earth Week activities on the UW campus organized by the Madison Infoshop continue this evening with a panel discussion about urban agriculture and food sovereignty. Participants include Ashley Atkinson of The Greening of Detroit, John Kinsman of Family Farm Defenders, Michael Goldsby of the Drumlin CSA Producers Cooperative, and others. UW Science Hall, 550 N. Park St., 7 p.m., free. Call 262-9036 for more info.
The Wisconsin Union Directorate is hosting an Earth Day dinner and discussion this evening as part of Come to the Table, a lecture series focused on food and sustainability. Former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern and UW horticulture professor Jed Colquhoun will be speaking about hunger and sustainable agriculture at the meal, which is a Haitian-themed vegetarian buffet. The locally sourced menu includes, with possible substitutions: vegetable stew in a savory peanut sauce; ugali, a cornmeal accompaniment; pikliz, spicy pickled vegetables; Haitian consomme A L'orange; crusty French bread; sweetened baked plantains; and, fresh brewed Johnson Brothers Coffee with organic cream. Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., 6-7:30 p.m., $10 for UW students and $17 for UW staff and community members. Call 262-2201 for more info.
Friday, April 23
Just Coffee is the starting point of today's carpool tour of sustainable agriculture around south-central Wisconsin. This trip includes stops at Cedar Grove Cheese and its "Living Machine" wastewater treatment system in Plain, John Kinsman's organic dairy grazing farm and forestry operation near Lime Ridge, the Deli Bean Cafe in Reedsburg, Vernon Hirschberger's Grazin' Acres Amish farm near Loganville, and Troy Gardens in Madison. Just Coffee, 1129 E. Wilson St., 8 a.m., free. Call 260-0900 for more info.
"One common interest -- the food we eat, where it comes from, how it is produced, and how it affects our health and our society" is the theme of the UW Food Summit, this spring's edition of the biannual Day on Campus lecture series put on by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The keynote speaker is George McGovern, who was a leader both during and following his time in the U.S. House and Senate on issues of hunger, nutrition, agricultural development, and food security. The day-long program also includes a luncheon talk by Michelle Wildgen, and a series of a dozen lectures addressing topics that include obesity and diabetes, historic UW contributions to food science, domestic and international food safety, raw milk, Wisconsin agricultural history, and much more. UW Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., 8:15 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Call 262-4849 for more info.
Saturday, April 24
The Crazylegs Classic benefit race offers no shortage of tasty temptations at both ends of its 8K run and 2k walk courses. The fun run starts amidst the stalls of the downtown farmers' market, and end at the 50-yard line of Camp Randall with free fruit and bottled water, not to mention cups of complimentary beer. On Wisconsin! Capitol Square and , 9:45 a.m.-whenever the party ends; $40 runners and $35 walkers. Call 261-5347 for more info.
Fitchburg Fields is offering a hands-on workshop today that will teach beginning and intermediate gardeners the basics of Creating a Raspberry Patch. Class participants will dig, transplant, water, and mulch donated raspberries to help create an active patch for the community agriculture educational center, and in turn learn techniques that will help them to create their own. Fitchburg Fields Garden, 5335 Lacy Rd., 9 a.m., free. Call 335-7295 for more info.
A mere 100 tickets can be purchased for the Monroe Street Chocolate Walk, a fundraiser that the Monroe Street Merchants Association is sponsoring on behalf of the Henry Vilas Zoo. Participants purchase a ticket in advance from Orange Tree Imports, and then pick up a bag there today with a list of some 20 shops and restaurants along the west-side thoroughfare that will be handing out free gourmet chocolate gifts. Items offered on the walk include a mini Death by Chocolate sundae from Michael's Frozen Custard, a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Roll from Bluephies, and more treats from Maurie's Fine Chocolates, James J Chocolate Shop, and Pinkoko Chocolates. 1600-3500 blocks of Monroe Street, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $12. Call 255-8211 for more info.
Whole Foods is holding another of its "Let's Retake Our Plates" benefit film screenings this evening in support of a local environmental group. This third week of the month-long series features No Impact Man, a documentary that follows "the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact." All proceeds will go to support the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and its voter education and environmental advocacy missions. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6:30 p.m., $3. Call 233-9566 to reserve a seat.
Operation Fresh Start is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a gala fundraiser dinner this evening. Former Madison mayor Paul Soglin and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson are the featured presenters at the meal, which will be preceded by cocktails and a silent auction, and followed with a live auction. Proceeds will go to benefit the organization's training and affordable housing programs. Blackhawk Country Club, 3603 Blackhawk Dr., 6 p.m., $100. Register online, and call 244-4721 for more info.
True Endeavors is launching a new monthly fundraiser series named Cocktails for a Cause, which will feature local and regional musicians performing at independently-owned restaurants around the Madison area on behalf of various charitable organizations. The inaugural benefit tonight is on behalf Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Madison, and features a performance by the disco cover band VO5 at Casa del Sol, which plans to donate 25% of its bar sales for the evening to the group. Additionally, all attendees giving the suggested donation will receive a gift certificate of equal value from participating restaurants, which include Claddagh Irish Pub, Sardine, The Bayou, Bellini Italian Restaurant, The Brink Lounge, Erin's Snug Irish Pub, Talula, Tutto Pasta - State St., Opus Lounge, Sprecher's, Delaney's, Louisianne's, Vintage Brewing Company, and Benvenuto's. Casa del Sol, 3040 Cahill Main, Fitchburg, 9:30 p.m., $10 donation. Call 663-8818 for more info.
Sunday, April 25
The Association of Women in Agriculture at UW-Madison invites both students and community members to its 14th annual Breakfast on the Farm this morning and enjoy a hearty meal. The food, which includes ice cream with plenty of toppings, will be accompanied by a petting zoo, education corral, and live entertainment. "Come for the food," urge organizers, "but leave with a greater connection to Wisconsin's most valued resource: agriculture." UW Stock Pavilion, 1676 Linden Dr., 8 a.m.-noon, $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 students, and $3 ages 5 and under. Call 558-9554 for more info.
The South Madison Farmers' Market opens for the season today in its weekend location with a seasonal array of locally grown fresh produce, flowers, meats, and baked goods. "We are more focused on nutrition, community, diversity, and friendship more than anything else," explain organizers, "and we plan to keep it that way." The Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday editions of the market will open over the course of the next six weeks in their respective locations across the south side. Madison Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 358-5834 for more info.
"The Sacred Act of Eating" is the theme of Food, Faith & Earth Day, an annual forum and community meal hosted by the First Unitarian Society of Madison. This interfaith gathering opens with a keynote address by UW professor Jack Kloppenburg, who will give a talk titled "Good to Eat and Good to Think -- Aligning Food Choices with Spirit and Sustainability." This will be accompanied by an panel discussion led by spiritual leaders representing four different religious traditions: Huda Alkaff of the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin; Jim Roseberry of Snowflower Buddhist Sangha; Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman of Shaarei Shamayim; and, Reverend Dr. Kurt Billings of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church. The schedule also includes educational workshops, exhibits by local food and faith organizations, and a community meal featuring locally-grown food prepared by Chef Barbara Wright of The Dardanelles, which closes at the end of the month. Participants are also encouraged to bring free will offerings to Harvest of Hope and the Grace Episcopal Food Pantry. First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Dr., 2-6:30 p.m., $12. Call 233-9774 for more info.
Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve is hosting an "Eat Local" hike this afternoon in search of wild edible plants found during the spring season. Participants will get to taste cattail, grape leaves, dandelion, waterleaf, nettles, bergamot, and wild mustards, including the invasive garlic mustard, an ongoing target for removal from this urban refuge on the south shore of Lake Mendota. Picnic Point, parking lot, 3 p.m., free. Call 249-0409 for more info.
Monday, April 26
Chef Huma Siddiqui of White Jasmine is back at Whole Foods this evening with another Pakistani cooking class. The menu for this lesson includes shrimp with cilantro and spices, basmati rice with whole spices, palak dal (lentils cooked with fresh spinach), and pound cake with hazelnut spread and cream. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-8 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 for more info.