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.

Jean August 15, 2011 at 03:18 AM
I think it is sickening to see that so many can eat ground flesh of two cows "formerly known as 'Luca' and 'Palermo.'" We are not cavemen anymore and people should stop and think about the cruelty to animals and the needless slaughter of so many beautiful animals so that people can have a hamburger for lunch. Even if you don't care about the painful and disgusting slaughtering of animals, meat is not raised in healthy environments at many ranches and the diseases and hormones can be bad for your health. Why not eat a veggie burger and celebrate life and good health? Next time you eat a hamburger think about the mindless killing of this animal so you can selfishly eat a burger. Also, people don't have heart attacks from eating veggie burgers but they do from eating red meat. THINK about your health and the death you cause each time you eat meat.
Jean August 15, 2011 at 03:27 AM
I saw a video once of a couple cows that started their morning peacefully eating grass in a field, then a mobile butcher came and shot the cows and chainsawed the legs, head and all the parts into various cuts within about 45 minutes, just about one of the saddest and most depressing things I have ever watched. To watch a beautiful and peacefull animal go from eating grass in a field to being murdered and quartered is a sad reflection on the lack of respect many humans have for animal life, and the hypocrisy of how some people value certain animals as pets and view them as a burger at other times.
Jean August 15, 2011 at 03:38 AM
One other final thought, if this event is about the environment, that is pure hypocrisy because a meat based diet requires about 20 times the natural resources of a vegetarian based diet. The methane created and water and grains used to raise cows is terrible for the enviroment.
Elizabeth MacDonald August 15, 2011 at 02:29 PM
wow, Jean...how about you eat what you choose and quit trying to guilt people into eating your veggie burgers? Last time I checked, this is still a country where you are free to make your own choices. Congrats to those who put on this fabulous event, well done! I am happy to say I'm going to indulge my inner cavewoman and have a big, fat and juicy hamburger for lunch. You enjoy your veggie burger ;)
Jean August 15, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Well Elizabeth, Last time I checked, this is still a country where free speech is desirable as well as making your own choices and since the article was happy to discuss the fact that Lucca and Palermo were slaughtered and their flesh was ground into a pattie for your lunch for an event that was supposedly "environmental friendly" it's important for the other side to be heard and for the hypocrisy of the event to be exposed. Humans have been free to make very "backwards" choices throughout history which at times included slavery, incest, human sacrafice, war, etc., and that does not make them right. Some of us want to actually think forward and have a world where the abuse of others, whether they are women, children, animals are not a socially acceptable or desired. People who abuse and kill defenseless women, children and animals are the cowards of the world. Your meat based diet is terrible for the environment and your health and you continue with it because you are too weak to break what has been ingrained in your mind since you were born. I also don't feel like paying higher insurance rates for open heart surgery for overweight, mindless and selfish meat eaters.
Jean August 15, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Part 2: EVERY time you want to eat ground flesh "burgers", I suggest you have the courage to raise "Lucca" yourself and then slaughter, quarter and grind that cow's flesh into a patty so you can clog your artery and negatively impact the enviroment. As Dr. Oz has said, he never pulled a piece of brocolli out of someone's artery but he's pulled plenty of animal fat out. I doubt a person like you can change, but I bet there are some out there who can use very common sense to realize that eating meat all the time (or ever) is not necessary, it hurts and kills harmless animals, it's bad for the environment, and terrible for your health.
Alexis Fitts August 15, 2011 at 05:40 PM
As a vegetarian Jean, I understand your point - though, personally, I thought it was fantastic that, rather than just serving hamburgers, like many other summer events, these guys chose to highlight the lives of the animals that made the hamburgers. I find it refreshing to hear that the animals that created the burgers lived in a beautiful field just outside Sonoma, rather than a factory farm in the central valley.
Elizabeth MacDonald August 18, 2011 at 06:45 AM
Jean...I have actually raised pigs...named one of them 'Breakfast'...and the bacon was DEEEELISH! I have seen the pig slaughtered and the wonderful meat it provided wrapped, frozen...and then when I felt like it....thawed out, cooked and enjoyed immensely. How about if I told you that there are some people who believe that vegetables have some sense of 'life'....that they feel the pain of being torn from the earth...can feel the heat of being cooked. Yea...there are crazies all over the place....I'm glad to be a meat-eating one :) I had a burger today....maybe something with bacon tomorrow...don't want to go overboard! Have a great day tomorrow....and enjoy your veggie burger...see...I don't begrudge you being mean to vegetables.
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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