Earth Day is celebrated all over the world on April 22, but do you know the origin of this green holiday? It was introduced at Airlie, a hotel and conference center in Warrenton. In 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin first shared his idea for Earth Day with a group of medical and law students participating in a conference at Airlie.
He recruited a team and launched Earth Day across the country on April 22, 1970. 20 million Americans rallied for a healthy, sustainable planet in what is considered the birth of the modern environmental movement. The shared sentiment of conservation on Earth Day later led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act that same year, followed by the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act in subsequent years.
The annual observance is all about resource conservation and environmental awareness, and now, thanks to the rise of the locavore movement, Earth Day activities often go hand-in-hand with sustainable food and drink. Here are eight events and specials that put a delicious spin on environmentalism.
Of course, the home of Earth Day has to do it up big, and this year Airlie is hosting a party in their organic garden. The free, family-friendly event is being hosted on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in partnership with the Rainforest Trust, a Warrenton-based organization dedicated to protecting threatened tropical forests and endangered wildlife. There will be a variety of activities, including garden tours, guest speakers, a hay bale tower and bouncy house for kids, a seed packet giveaway, popcorn, refreshments, recycled art on display, and gift basket raffle. The first 50 people will receive an Airlie Earth Day water bottle. Attendees are also encouraged to bring nonperishable food, clothing, and other items to be donated to the Fauquier SPCA, the Fauquier Family Shelter, and the Fauquier Food Bank.
This coastal New England-inspired spot in Silver Spring is channeling their theme for Earth Day. On Saturday, there will be two specialty menu items that benefit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. Founded in 1930, WHOI is an independent nonprofit dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education. For every purchase of the Perfect Storm cocktail ($10) with spiced rum, lime, pineapple, ginger, and Goslings ginger beer, $1 will be donated to WHOI. For every purchase of the Woods Hole Seafood Platter ($30) consisting of six oysters, four littleneck clams, and crab cocktail, $5 will be donated to WHOI.
One of the ways Chef David Guas eliminates waste at his Southern eatery in Arlington is by giving away coffee grounds for free. This nutrient-rich byproduct shouldn’t head to the landfill—it’s a great fertilizer for your yard, garden, or potted plants! Simply mix the grounds into the soil around your plants. They add nutrients and minerals to the soil to improve plant growth, and they also improve the drainage, water retention, and aeration. They can also repel garden pests when used as mulch, and are a beneficial addition to a home compost pile. The free grounds are offered year-round at Bayou Bakery, but Guas likes to remind customers of this insider tip on Earth Day.
Up Top Acres, a rooftop farming company, is inviting the public to a day-long celebration on Saturday at their flagship farm in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. They are hosting the event along with The Lemon Bowl, a shared workspace offering DIY classes, and MISFIT Juicery, a juice company committed to using ugly produce and produce scraps. The day consists of five different classes, from rooftop yoga to food photography to block printing to terrarium building. It concludes with a conversation about creating a better food system in DC, with bites from Little Sesame and cocktails made with MISFIT juice. Tickets for each portion of the day are sold separately.
Discarded food matter like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and egg shells often ends up in the garbage, but these items contain valuable nutrients that are essential for soil health. In a landfill, they go to waste. In a compost facility, they are transformed into a rich organic matter is used to improve soil and aid plant growth. Since most D.C. residents can’t compost their food waste at home, the city is offering an alternative. The D.C. Department of Public Works is launching a food waste drop-off program that allows residents to deposit their food waste at eight designated Saturday farmers markets to be composted for free. The program launch is, fittingly, on Earth Day at Eastern Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with special activities beginning at 10 a.m. The remaining drop locations will open later in the spring. Details, including location information, a list of acceptable food waste items, and storage and transport tips, are available online.
EatWell D.C., the restaurant group behind favorites like Commissary, Logan Tavern, and The Bird, also owns a 13-acre sustainable farm in La Plata that supplies produce to the group’s five D.C. restaurants. On Saturday, EatWell Natural Farm will be hosting a free spring open house for those interested in learning about agriculture and farm-to-table dining. The event begins at 10 a.m. and lasts for several hours. Participants will get a tour of the farm and then get their hands dirty with farm projects like planting and weeding. The day ends with lawn games and an al fresco lunch prepared by The Bird’s Chef Michael Bonk. Both adults and children (with supervision) are welcome to get up close and personal with farming to reconnect with where our food comes from. RSVPs are requested at email@example.com.
On Saturday, the more skinny margaritas you drink, the more trees True Food Kitchen will plant! The health-driven restaurant is teaming up with IXÁ Organic Tequila to plant a tree for every Citrus Skinny Margarita sold nationwide. The drink is a blend of IXÁ Organic Tequila, muddled citrus, mint, and cucumber and is just $8 (regularly $11) all day long. True Food Kitchen and Greenbar Craft Distillery, the makers of IXÁ, partner year-round to plant one tree for every bottle of IXÁ tequila sold. To date, they’ve planted 16,000 trees, and they hope that number will grow this Earth Day. You know what that means—bottoms up!