GreenTown Los Altos

Farm To Table: A Community Gathers To Support Sustainable Living


Nov 2016


On Oct. 22nd, an impressive crowd gathered for GreenTown Los Altos’ 3rd annual Farm to Table Dinner and Auction held at the beautiful home of Bart Nelson and Deb Hope in Los Altos.

Food was prepared and served by Justin’s Catering, which specializes in local and seasonable food right up the sustainable alley of GreenTown’s mission. Many businesses and community members donated generous gifts from vacations to private parties to gift certificates and guided hikes in local open space. We had an amazing and huge Northern California raffle basket, as well as wine donations from many local vintners.

John Roy Zat Music played perfect background music throughout the evening. Margie Suozzo as Master of Ceremonies gave an overview of GreenTown’s mission and goals. Sam Pesner was the auctioneer.

Honoring Environmental Heroes

The night wouldn’t have been complete without honoring our 2016 Environmental Heroes. Two honorees were selected this year Mary Clark Bartlett and Karl Danz.

Mary Clark Bartlett for her work in support of a sustainable food system and waste reduction in the food services industry.

Mary founded Los Altos based Epicurean Group, a sustainable food service management company. Using sustainable management practiced preparing food in an environmentally responsible manner both central to the company’s mission. Epicurean Group also earned certification as a Green Business, under the Bay Area Green Business Program. No small feat. In addition, Epicurean Group supports the communities they serve by buying food from local farms and ranches, in season, avoiding thousands of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mary initiated the GreenTown business co-op in 2009 to help businesses and others shift from plastic and styrofoam to compostable packaging. The coop offers 100% compostable packaging at highly competitive prices. Mary has also been eliminating food waste and moving her clients toward zero waste through reusable china, glasses and silverware.

Mary also works on GreenTown’s Finance Committee and we are always impressed with her boundless energy and the new ways she is implementing positive changes in her business and at home: reducing waste at the source, promoting local, healthy foods, reducing water use, and creating a fair and healthy work environment.

And Karl Danz, for his leadership in shaping climate policy locally and nationally.

Karl co-leads the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). As a CCL volunteer, he advances a bipartisan carbon fee and dividend approach to carbon policy. He does so tirelessly and, in fact, with infectious enthusiasm.

A key opportunity to address climate change in our community came with the potential for Los Altos to join a community choice energy program. Karl contributed to the GreenTown team that successfully advocated for Los Altos to join Silicon Valley Clean Energy. And that means 100% carbon free electricity in Spring 2017.

Karl has also served our community as a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. He has been a dedicated advocate of better infrastructure for bicyclists and for using the bicycle as a clean mode of transportation. As an avid cyclist, he participates in the Climate Ride annually to raise money for groups working to combat climate change.

And we’re not alone in finding Karl’s approach impressive. Steve Levin a fellow CCLer recounted: “Karl seeks to engage business leaders to support climate change policy. It’s not easy and requires tremendous persistence to build a relationship. Karl is the kind of guy who will send 4 emails to request a meeting. Then he finally gets a reply that says, essentially, “No, no way, we don’t have time and we don’t care. Go away.”  Karl starts grinning ear to ear and says, “This is fantastic! I got a personal reply, and we are really building a relationship!” And sure enough he has the talent and determination to transform a “No” into a “Not yet and then into a “Maybe soon” and finally into “Sure, let’s try it!”

Last year’s Environmental Hero award went to Vicki Moore, founder of Living Classroom.

It’s people like Mary, Karl and Vicki that inspire us to keep making progress in our community towards sustainability at all levels. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!

Special thanks to this year’s Farm to Table event committee: Pat Hedden, Laura Teksler, Debbie Torok, Jana Schlansker, and Margie Suozzo.

Leave a comment