The Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour

Jenise spread the good love, telling me about this fabulous event in Portland, Oregon: The Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour

Take 80 trade and industry folk, and tour them around the Pacific Northwest, shining a spotlight on businesses who are doing things right: "Growers, manufacturers, and foodservice operators will share successful sustainability practices and thought-provoking models with foodservice leaders. Morning educational sessions will be complemented by outings to local kitchens, farms, food processors, and beverage manufacturers."

I'm not sure if the concept "tree hugger" originated here, but in the Northwest, we know a thing or two about saving the environment. Snatched from the itinerary, you'll see...."We will be transported by Eco-shuttle to the historic LEED-Certified Eccotrust building..." You get the idea.

It's an invitation I can't refuse.

Even better, I'll be staying at the Green Seal Silver-Certified, Hotel Monaco. Get a look at this place. Me? I can't wait for a soak in the tub...and to curl up in that complimentary animal-print bathrobe!

Coming off the heels of the International Food Blogger Conference, I'm even more impressed by this itinerary. Here's a look at what we'll be up to:

Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour
Sponsored by Truitt Brothers

Sunday, August 9

Stroll or take the Eco-Shuttle to the historic LEED-certified Ecotrust Building, located in Portland’s Pearl District

Mingle and network while enjoying refreshments and hors d’ oeuvres

Welcome—Peter Truitt, Co-founder and President of Truitt Bros.

A Taste of Oregon—An Introduction to the region’s bounty
by Chef Bill King, Vice President of Culinary Development, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants

Monday, August 10

“Sustainability: The Rise of Consumer Responsibility”—Including 5 Tips to Successfully Communicate Sustainability in a Downturn Economy
by Michelle Barry, The Hartman Group

Hear the latest research about consumers’ familiarity with the complex issue of sustainability, as a term and as a way of life. Berry will offer insight into the negative outlook consumers have about the economy, the positive outcome they feel will result by making sustainable purchase decisions, and their fundamental shift toward choosing businesses and services they believe in.

“Sustainability in Action—Progressive School Districts, Operators and Suppliers Share their Stories”

Open your mind to learning new ways to source and menu local sustainably produced foods during this interactive panel that introduces four foodservice pros and change agents that are renowned for their efforts to recast the model for sourcing in the foodservice sector.

Michelle Ratcliffe, Director of Farm to School Programs, Ecotrust’s Food and Farms --Learn how changes that are happening in cafeterias and school systems nationwide will impact your business in the near future.

David Yudkin, Partner, Hot Lips Pizza—Hear how Hot Lips emerged from the struggle of the company’s first 12 years of existence by turning to sustainable business practices and principals of the Natural Step to establish a distinctive market position and develop an approach to Yudkin’s family-owned business that saves him money while attracting higher caliber employees and loyal customers.

Richard Satnick, Founder and Chief Burrito Officer, Laughing Planet CafĂ©—Experience one of the nation’s most creative burrito cafes and its equally original leader. Learn about this multiunit operator’s commitment to delivering delicious, wholesome, clean foods and sustainable sourcing practices, with an extra serving of mirth and Smart Beans™.

David Griswold, Founder and President, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers—Sustainable Harvest has been transparently connecting the global coffee supply chain since 1997, changing the way business is done. Hear about its approach to simultaneously building direct market linkages between coffee growers and buyers, and investing in training and management systems to improve its ability to create a better product. Learn about the specialty coffee supply chain and the path of a coffee bean from farm to cup.

“Life Cycle Assessments and Sustainable Foods”

Rita Schenck, Executive Director, Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE)
Schenck will discuss the life cycle impacts of foods, and surprising facts about them, including scientific perspective on what we can do now to make our food system more sustainable. IERE is home of the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment. Nearly everything that IERE does is related to Life Cycle Assessment: Rita represented the U.S.A. in developing the international Standards on LCA.

Board the bus for a scenic journey through the Columbia River Gorge

Tour Orchard View Farm and its state-of-the-art packing facility
This family-owned fourth-generation orchard is the world’s largest vertically integrated cherry orchard and packing facility. Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the operation and walk through the orchard where you’ll see pears nearly at their peak.

Depart for Hood River, the U.S. windsurfing capital

“Responsible Brewing”—Educational tour of Full Sail Brewing, brewers of award-winning craft beers and devoted stewards of the environment.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at this state-of-the-art brewing operation, built within the historic Diamond Fruit Company, once the largest pear processor in the country. No visit to Full Sail is complete without a taste of its premium lagers and ales.

Enjoy an outdoor barbeque under a canopy of trees at one of McMenamin Restaurant company’s most famous locations, the historic Edgefield Inn, a restored 1911 County Poor House and 72-acre farm in Troutdale, Oregon

Tuesday, August 11

Welcome—Kirk Mustain, General Manager, University of Portland Campus Dining, Bon Appetit Co.

“Communicating the Sustainability Message: How and Why, Methods and Benefits,” by Linda Duke, Duke Marketing, LLC

Restaurants, schools, and food venues are all examining sustainability for their organizations, but once it is in place, how do they tell their customers? What will make consumers choose their brand over others? Duke will share strategies and tactics for creating messages and promotions that will motivate consumers to choose your sustainable brand over the competition.“The How-Tos of Implementing and Promoting Your Sustainable Practices”

Learn from eight experts on four distinct topics during a lively round-robin, round -able session! Come ready to contribute to each discussion.

Marketing from the Menu—Learn, share and discuss how ingredient suppliers can become the centerpiece of your marketing strategy in a creative and authentic style. Table hosts: Alison Denis, Burgerville Restaurants; and Pam and Bob Howard, Country Natural Beef

Waste Less, Save More—Learn how new measuring metric systems can help you gauge success of sustainable initiatives within your facilities. Also, hear tips for talking trash—in a good way—with your customers. Table hosts: Andrew Shakman, LeanPath; and Babe O’Sullivan, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Energy Efficiency and Eco-Labels: Sustainable Efforts and How They Can Power Your Bottom Line—Food Alliance and Energy Trust of Oregon—Discuss how to build green into your strategic business plan through energy efficiency and third-party certification. Table Hosts: Scott Exo, Food Alliance; and Lyn Schmidt, Energy Trust/Lockheed Martin

Role of Social Media in Sustainability and Green Business—Discover tools, examples and take-aways that can help any business understand and leverage the power of social media. Learn how social media platforms are reaching consumers, suppliers and colleagues. Table host: Paul Barron,

Tour University of Portland’s kitchen and foodservice commons area

Lunch on the terrace, prepared by the talented Bon Appetit Chefs at University of Portland
Tour a Willamette Valley Blue Lake Green Bean farm and then follow the beans harvested from the field into can at the Truitt Bros. cannery

”The role of the food processor in today’s food system”
Truitt Brothers cannery and Tru Flavors Culinary Center

Tour of Willamette Valley Vineyards winery, followed by a wonderful meal featuring sustainably sourced ingredients, along with a glass of one of Oregon’s most famous Pinots

Board the bus to Portland

Check out from Sunday, August 9, through Tuesday, August 11, for daily insights and updates from the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour. The Food Channel will hit the Oregon highways with sponsor Truitt Bros. and a collection of sustainability experts and foodservice operators to explore sustainable strategies and practices from the fields, into the kitchen, and onto the plate.