Too many people write off the Metro East as strip clubs, squalor and crime. Beyond the stereotype strife, fields roll with local produce and livestock nurtured by generations of family farmers. There's also a growing culinary scene, populated by chefs who focus on fresh and local food.
Three Metro East chefs -- Jennifer Pensoneau of J. Fires' Market Bistro in Waterloo, Jonathan Olson of Erato on Main in Edwardsville and Amy Zupanci of Fond and Township Grocer in Edwardsville -- will prepare a four-course dinner from products harvested from local farms.
Dr. Mildred Mattfeldt-Beman, associate professor and chairman of Saint Louis University's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, will speak at the event, about the importance of local food in overall health.
Megan Riechmann of Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development says the organization hopes to "raise awareness of the necessity and importance of conserving open space. Specifically agricultural open space: family farms."
Though reservations are closed for this year's event, SIRCD hopes to make it an annual occurrence. "This is only one of three fund raising events we do annually," Reichmann says, "and this event has inspired us to make all of our events more sustainable."