“Every day is Earth Day,” we like to say here at CROPP. So, naturally, we wait until May to celebrate Earth Day. April 22, especially this year, does not yield much fresh food in Wisconsin and we had quite a spring snow. However, in May we are eagerly hunting morels, digging ramps, finding watercress and cheering on asparagus. So with local and organic food in hand, 150 of us celebrated the 11th annual Earth Dinner.

This year’s event featured an introductory presentation by our board advisor and first CFO, Jerome McGeorge. While Jerome is a numbers guy, we are always amazed at his eloquent philosophical reflections. His introductory presentation at this Earth Dinner was “Reasons for Despair.” Now, while it is true that this does not seem like a happy dinner topic, Jerome’s short piece was a most wonderful combination of philosophy and poetry. He coined a phrase “apoc-awakening.” My interpretation of this is that it is good for us to know the problems we are facing and, in fact, if we are serious celebrators of the earth, let’s also be serious students of how to live better on the earth. And so we were properly launched into our celebration.

While some of us never knew there was a La Crosse Homebrew Club, we surely had a fine treat of a number of styles of tasty beers. My favorite was the Diablo, a bit of a darker brew with a punch! Table talk, which is the heart of Earth dinner activities, was filled with laughs at our table and throughout the Milky Way Café. While we did take up our favorite question – first memory of food – one guest got off into a recollection of when a skunk got into their kitchen. We did have a good laugh but that’s definitely something to avoid!

One of the most fun stories was from an unexpected guest. A priest and bicyclist found his way to our door on a whim and ended up at one of the tables. The unexpected guest eloquently told his story much to our enjoyment and wonder at how serendipity works. I expect he will find himself invited back next year.

One of my favorite parts of our Earth Dinner is the creativity of the table leaders. Every year I take photos of the tables. Enjoy!

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