Search form

Main Menu New

Home > News > Press Releases > Curtains up, light the lights! The Organic Center benefit to put science in spotlight

Curtains up, light the lights! The Organic Center benefit to put science in spotlight

NPR’s “The Secret Ingredient” will live-tape episode at dinner on latest organic science

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
Washington , DC
February 14, 2017
) — 
The latest science on the environmental and health benefits of organic food and farming will literally take center stage on March 9 at The Organic Center’s 14th Annual Benefit Dinner in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West.
With the theme of “Science Says So,” the event—the single biggest fundraising event for The Organic Center and the largest business networking dinner at Expo West—will explain organic science to the dinner attendees in a unique, thought-provoking and entertaining way. Marking a first for the dinner, The Secret Ingredient podcast team from National Public Radio affiliate Austin, Texas, based KUT will live-tape, on stage, a podcast episode featuring The Center’s Director of Science Programs Dr. Jessica Shade and the chef and creator of the dinner, Chef Matthew Raiford.
The star of the episode will be the all-organic, scrumptious and healthy feast created exclusively for the event by Raiford. The Secret Ingredient hosts Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy will dine on center stage under the spotlight with Shade and Raiford, while the dinner is being enjoyed simultaneously by the benefit’s attendees. Shade will discuss the work of The Center and present some of the science behind the ingredients on the organic menu. Raiford of Gillard Farms in Georgia will share his journey as an organic farmer and chef, and focus on the legacy of race in southern food and agriculture, and the opportunities offered by organic.
Raiford is the sixth generation to farm his family’s land organically. He is also an executive chef and owner of The Farmer and The Larder, noted as one of the South’s most exciting new restaurants, and associate professor of culinary arts at the College of Coastal Georgia.
UseThis4.png?r=1487086255955In their bi-weekly podcasts, veteran food politics writers Patel and Philpott team up with seasoned Public Radio producer McInroy to focus on people whose life’s work has been to understand the complex systems of food production, distribution, and marketing, and the impact these foods have on our lives. In each episode, the hosts interview a guest who is deeply versed in a particular foodstuff or aspect of food production or consumption. The show covers the hidden life of food—the “secret ingredient.” Their motto: “We won’t tell you what to eat, but we will tell you why you’re eating it.”
“For something that’s such an intimate part of life, food is easy to take for granted for many people in the United States,” says Philpott, an award-winning journalist, currently food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones magazine. Co-host Patel is a professor at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and author of Stuffed and Starved and the Value of Nothing. Host and executive producer McInroy produces a wide range of content for KUT, KUTX and in Austin.
“We are excited to be presenting the science of organic in this fun and innovative way,” said Shade. “Research does not have any impact if it’s kept in a vacuum. The mission of The Organic Center is to make available the latest organic research to all, and enable sound science to make a difference in our daily lives. Making the connection of science with the delicious organic food we are eating will be meaningful and educational for everyone.”
Organic is good for you, and good for the earth, research findings have shown. The Organic Center event will highlight credible, evidence-based science on the benefits of organic, while garnering vital support for The Center’s work to facilitate and communicate these findings to promote organic agriculture. At the networking dinner, The Organic Center also will debut whiteboard videos on soil health and the role of The Center in promoting research priorities critical to organic production.
Opportunities are still available to sponsor this important event, which helps makes the critical work of The Organic Center possible. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets for the dinner can be found here. Participants will have the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, be inspired and entertained, and enjoy an organic meal—all in support of The Organic Center’s important work to advance organic research and evidence-based science on organic food and farming.
Current sponsors for the fundraiser are the National Co+op Grocers, New Hope Network, UNFI, Annie's Inc., Josie's Organics and Braga Fresh Family Farms, Nature's Path Food Inc., Organic Valley, Stonyfield, Horizon Organic, Whole Foods Market, Aurora Organic Dairy, BPM LLP, Cal-Organic, Foster Farms, Frontier Co-op, and Driscoll's Inc.
For more information on The Organic Center and the science behind organic food and farming, visit

The Organic Center’s mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate the findings to the public. The Center is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.