Food and farming: Double header this Thursday

Berkeleysiders interested in food and farming may find themselves torn between two edible events being held downtown — or bouncing between both this Thursday.

The Earth Island Institute and VegNews Magazine host a hot-topic debate: “Can You Be a ‘Good Environmentalist’ and Still Eat Meat?” In one corner, Nicolette Hahn Niman, a Marin rancher and author of Righteous Porkchop, who believes there is an ecologically sustainable way to eat animals. Niman’s nemesis for the night: Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat, which pretty much sums up his point of view.

The task of keeping the conversation friendly goes to the amicable Ari Derfel, co-founder of Gather restaurant, recently featured in Berkeley Bites.

The event, at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Theater in The David Brower Center begins at 7:00 p.m. and a donation of $10-$20 is suggested. Purchasing advance tickets is no longer an option, but a website link suggests showing up early to see if any reserved tickets are released, or watching the conversation on a screen in an overflow room adjacent to the theater.

Meanwhile, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores will all get fed at the party for Temra Costa‘s first book, Farmer: Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, being held at Revival Bar + Kitchen, the much-anticipated new restaurant for chef Amy Murray. Attendees also get a sneak peek at the refurbished restaurant (it has an oldey worldy feel) at this book launch, which¬† serves as the soft opening for the latest nosh spot in the space that previously housed Downtown restaurant.

Farmer Jane profiles 30 women leaders in the fields of sustainable farming, seasonal and organic cooking, edible education, and food advocacy. Fittingly, Murray has been creating seasonable, organic, sustainable eats in the East Bay since 1992, including at Venus on Shattuck Avenue.

Along with good eats, the gala, co-sponsored by Revival and East Bay Express, includes a panel discussion with five local women featured in the book: filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia, urban farmer Willow Rosenthal, Three Stone Hearth community kitchen worker-owner Jessica Prentice, Pescadero’s Pie Ranch farmer Nancy Vail, and author-farmer Novella Carpenter, also interviewed for a recent Berkeley Bites. (Read a review of Farmer Jane at Lettuce Eat Kale.)

Tickets for the event cost $10; $25 with a signed copy of the book. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., panel starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets. Food for the occasion comes courtesy of Revival, Sixth Course, Pie Ranch, and Full Belly Farm.

Here’s to an evening full of food for thought.

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