Friday, July 23, 2010

Double Date: Sustainable Interest

Go green at a screening of ‘No Impact Man,’ then dig in to Tallulah on Thames’s locally sourced dishes

With its mansions and seaside allure, Newport, R.I., has long been a destination of choice for tourists, presidents, and artists alike. With the Newport International Film Festival now defunct, Andrea van Beuren launched NewportFILM earlier this year. “NewportFILM will have a film festival, but it’s only one component of what we’re doing,’’ she explains. “We’re going to be offering a year-round screening series in Newport.’’

The first film of the series, “Nowhere Boy,’’ has a sold-out screening tonight. Looking ahead to Wednesday, “No Impact Man’’ is a good bet for the environmentally conscious viewer. The documentary follows the exploits of Colin Beavan, who will be in attendance, as he struggles to live off the grid with his family in New York City. “ ‘No Impact Man’ is a film that I’d seen and loved,’’ van Beuren says. “With so many people starting to focus on sustainable agriculture and restaurants and the green movement, I thought it would be fun to do an outdoor screening at a local farm, Sweet Berry Farms.’’ Many of the films will be shown in pastoral settings, such as local bird sanctuaries, farms, and other protected properties. “It will be like a moveable feast of screenings all over the place.’’

“No Impact Man’’ shows Wednesday at 7 p.m. Free with registration. Sweet Berry Farm, 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown, R.I.
While it may not always seem practical for most average families to commit to a completely sustainable, zero-impact lifestyle like Beavan, one way to get started is by patronizing restaurants that source much of their food from local farms. Tallulah on Thames, a new European-style bistro in Newport, is one to consider.

“Our cuisine is modern American, farm to table,’’ says owner Kelly Ann Maurice. “We buy from local farmers. We started off with [a guide to local farmer’s markets], and we buy from individual farmers themselves.’’

They’ve also recently partnered with Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable practices among area chefs. Most of the proteins and all of the produce on the menu come from local farms, including dishes such as breast of chicken from Baffoni’s Poultry Farm, or Blackbird Farm poached egg with Allen Farms pea greens. It’s about having a smaller environmental footprint, says Maurice, but also about supporting people “right in your backyard, local people who are working hard.’’

Anyone know how long the bike ride to Newport is?

Tallulah on Thames, 464 Thames St., Newport, R.I. 401-849-2433.
Boston Globe

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