Photo Gallery: Chow-Down, Hoedown for the Ecology Center

The inaugural Full Moon Barn Dance helped fund the Sonoma Ecology Center's Enviro-Leaders internship program.

Foodies and environmentalists from both city and country gathered Saturday for a good-old-fashioned hoedown with a cause.

The first annual hosted 150 guests for a locally sourced dinner at the Circle JR Ranch in Schellville.

After square dancing, lasso lessons and a performance Sonoma's own , guests grabbed their own utensils to feast on produce from the Bi-Rite garden (heirloom tomatoes, carrots, eggplant) and hamburgers provided two of the ranch's cattle, formerly known as 'Luca' and 'Palermo.'

Proceeds from the evening benefited 18 Reasons, which hosts food and agriculture centric community events as the nonprofit wing of San Francisco's Bi Rite Market, and the 's Enviro-Leaders program, which gives career experience and ecological know-how to about 40 Sonoma high school students each year.

Organizers hoped the event would form a "meeting of the minds" between eco-friendly business folk, said Cece Hugo, who created the event along with HWY 12 Properties business partner Sue Simon and Rosie Branson Gill, program director for 18 Reasons.

Food, wine, beer and homemade sodas were donated by Bi-Rite Market and Creamery, SodaCraft, HWY 12 Vineyards & Winery, Nicholson Ranch, Kenwood Vineyards and Linden Street Brewery.

Check out a video of the square dance, above.

Rena B August 19, 2011 at 04:13 PM
I've been a vegetarian for over twenty years, and I like other vegetarians, I would prefer that people find a meat alternative. However, I realize that I am not going to change the world and that for many people eating meat is just part of their life. It is a difficult balance between wanting people not to eat meat and realizing that they will so trying to at least have the some quality of life for the animals.
Rena B August 19, 2011 at 04:19 PM
And by the way, the square dancing looked like alot of fun.
Jean August 20, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Elizabeth, gegetables do not have a central nervous system or a brain. I have never seen a vegetable give birth to a baby, nor have I seen one cower in fear, cry out when blood gushed through their slashed throats. Nor have I seen vegetables surounded by their own feces in cages too tight to move in. Your lack of empathy and belittling of animal suffering is disgusting and you have only shown the lack of respect and brains some people on this planet have. If you are too small minded to understand there is a world of difference between a celery stick and a a horse, cow dog, etc (all of which are eaten regularly by meat eaters in different countries) then you just made the best case against yourself. I am not asking everyone to change overnite, but just to consider the suffering of animals and the effects on the planet before continuing in mindless consumption and slaughter of animals. Also, Bill Clinton just announced he is VEGAN now, because he has seen first hand what animal fats does to your health.
Jean August 20, 2011 at 04:14 PM
It's better that these cows were raised in healthier conditions than what happens when you pass by I5 which has the smell of methane and death, but it is still not something I would call "fantastic" or "refreshing" by any means. Perhaps you could write about how Bill Clinton became Vegan because it will probably save his life. Perhaps you could write about the HUGE cost to the environment and health expenses from the massive amount of excessive meat eating in this country. Too many people have grown up to believe they are entitled to eat meat at nearly every meal regardless of the cost to animals, their own health and the environment. This ignorance should be addressed. Imagine the health benefits and lower medical expenses if Americans would more sensibly think about the true cost of excess consumption of meat/animal fat. Obesity and heart attacks have lowered the quality and lifespan of many Americans. How many more animals and people need to die needlessly before common sense comes into play? If I was you, I would try being vegetarian for at elast a couple of months and write about the experience. Everyone should try it at least once in their life and they would be surprised by how much better they feel, loss of weight and better health. There is nothing to lose by trying....maybe a longer future with their kids and grandchildren.
Jean August 20, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Elizabeth, your bacon and animal fat based diet is giving you a much higher risk of a heart attack. I'll bet you are far less fit and healthy than I am. Life is about choices and I chose to use common sense to stay fit and healthy for myself and my family. My self esteem is not based on my ability to over eat (you sound way to wrapped up in eating) or slaughter animals, but rather because I am fit, look good, and I am healthy. I also know I am going to be around for my family. The true cost of your animal fat based diet will come one day, the chickens will come home to roost as they say...so enjoy it while it lasts.


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