Grain Elevator Sized Dinner

Nothing about this project is small – a matter of fact in doing business with a huge structure – and an opportunity to work with others who are challenged and energized by large tasks and the possibility of likewise large impact.  As the project progresses towards realization, preparation for the 500-person dinner is also swinging into full force……….

We’d like to introduce another important team member, Lori Tatreau, Dinner Event Program Manager.  Lori is no stranger to the region’s farm to table interests, having apprenticed on a local small-scale farm and most recently working as Local Product Forager for the Midwest Region of Whole Foods Market.  Although Lori holds a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Hunter College in NYC, securing a good local food supply and raising her daughter have become priorities over abstract painting.  In previous lives she was an herbalist’s assistant, a health food store manager, an art professor, and custom bouquet maker.  All of these community focused roles make Lori a fabulous fit for finding participant chefs and the ingredients they will need on October 3, 2010.

This week, Lori successfully gathered a group of prominent Omaha and Lincoln chefs and culinary educators with a common passion for learning about and utilizing locally sourced ingredients in their craft.  Bringing these busy individuals together in one room, at the same time, is a feat as large as the grain elevator, where on October 3 this team will execute months of menu planning, ingredient sourcing, and preparation.  Like the banner concept of constructing a mural from many individual perspectives of the same topic, the dinner will likewise compose a single meal with the skills and talent of several individuals, while maximizing the possibilities of our fertile agricultural region.

Aside from her role in this project, Lori’s passion for great food is constantly leading her to find new ways to bring the best local farmers and food producers to eaters everywhere and tell their stories.  The next adventure (after the epic dinner) is a new enterprise called FORAGE: Farm to Fork Connection, who’s mission is to put more local food into the hands of area chefs.

Ity Bity Mock-up

This week, we roughly affixed a 24×36″ black and white piece of each design to the side of the grain elevator as an initial inquiry into how the images are negotiating the massive scale of the elevator.  With a few site conditions to resolve – mainly the clearing of brush on the city right-of-way – we worked our way to a silo on the west side we could access and set up our ladder.  As daylight dwindled, each piece seemed like a postage stamp on the enormous concrete structure, further getting us in touch with the enormity of this project and leaving us even more in awe of the folks at Silo Extreme Outdoor Adventures (Rick Brock and Ron Safarik) who passionately care for and climb this structure day in and day out, and are generously making this project possible.