Dishing Out Change with Judy Wicks
Dishing Out Change: Meet Women Leaders in the Farm-to-Table Movement
Restaurant pioneer and nationally recognized activist Judy Wicks of Philadelphia's famed White Dog Café will join Seacoast leaders in the local food movement for talk and celebration, offering samples of farm-to-table treats and stories about women serving up change one plate at a time.
The event is free, but please RSVP to to help us prepare our tastings!
Guests at “Dishing Out Change” will meet Wicks as well as Seacoast women farmers, fishermen and food entrepreneurs at the event. The conversations will explore the way women and men can follow both mind and heart in business, doing what’s right and doing well by doing good.
Judy Wicks started White Dog Cafe in 1983 as a small muffin shop on the first floor of her Philadelphia home. Inspired to blend social change and commerce, she grew it into a 200-seat restaurant that serves as a community hub and a national powerhouse for growing socially responsible business practices. Inc. magazine says the game-changing activist has enacted “more progressive business practices per square foot than any other entrepreneur.”
Kath Gallant of Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, Mariah Roberts of Beach Pea Baking Company in Kittery, Susan Tuveson of Acorn Kitchen in Kittery (with Susan Kimball of Free Range Rabbitry), and Annette Lee and Nicole Carrier of Throwback Brewery in North Hampton will offer samples of farm-to-table treats, and talk about their vision for their own business and the legacy of the local food movement on the Seacoast.
"There's an amazing energy among food entrepreneurs around the Seacoast. This night will give us a chance to feature some of the great dishes that we're making from local and regional ingredients, and talk about why we love to work this way," says Mariah Roberts of Beach Pea Baking Co. "We all have our own mission, but we also know that together, businesses like these can add up to real change."
Passionate, fun, and inspirational, Judy Wicks will read from her new memoir "Good Morning, Beautiful Business," which recounts coming of age in the 1960s; her experience co-founding the first Free People’s store (now well known as Urban Outfitters); the emergence White Dog Café's pioneering commitment to local, organic and humane food; and her eventual role as an international leader and speaker in the movement for local, living economies.
"Once we say 'no' to an immoral system, our next step is to build an alternative,” Wicks says of her experience.
Wicks co-founded the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and Fair Food — both incubated at the White Dog Café Foundation and supported by the restaurant’s profits. Her work has earned numerous awards, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian Award and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Lifetime Achievement Award.
In Portsmouth, she'll offer insight into the role locally owned and independent businesses play in anchoring communities that value people and place as much as commerce. A local, living economy makes our region not just interesting, diverse, and prosperous, but also resilient.
Local food entrepreneurs play a primary role in building local, living economies, and in our region, support for local food is increasing. Over the past seven years, the total number of farmers' markets in York, Strafford and Rockingham counties has grown from 20 to 44, including the premiere of 10 winter farmers' markets, according to information gathered by www.SeacoastHarvest.org. Also during that time, farms and fisheries that offer CSA shares have multiplied from 8 to 50, and more and more restaurants and markets are offering harvest-to-plate options.
The 2007 Census of Agriculture shows that women have a growing presence in producing food for us, and the New England region is leading the way. The states with the highest percentage of women principal operators in agriculture are Arizona (38.5 percent), New Hampshire (29.7 percent), Massachusetts (28.9 percent), and Maine (25.1 percent). Of the 188 farmers and producers participating in its annual guide, Seacoast Harvest includes 142 led or co-led by women, about 75 percent.
Event organizers encourage attendees to explore nearby farm-to-table dinner options after the event. A list of all local restaurants that offer local and/or humanely raised ingredients is at www.seacoasteatlocal.org.
The event is co-hosted by three organizations:
Water Street Bookstore in Exeter is celebrating 21 years as a locally owned and independent bookstore offering a wide selection of books and great service from friendly and knowledgeable staff, online at www.waterstreetbooks.com. They will offer books for sale at the event.
The New Hampshire Women's Initiative advances social, economic and political opportunity and equality for all women in New Hampshire, online at www.nhwi.org.
Seacoast Local encourages the Seacoast to "buy local" and increase our economic, community and environmental strength, online at seacoastlocal.org.
"Good Morning Beautiful Business" was released by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2013. Learn more about Wicks and her story at www.chelseagreen.com.