Savor the Greenbelt 2016: A celebration of the Bay Area, local food, champions, and community
With record-breaking attendance, this year’s Savor the Greenbelt was unlike any before it. Over 170 guests from around the Bay Area gathered in the spectacular Green Room at the SF War Memorial and Performing Arts Center on October 6 to celebrate the work of Greenbelt Alliance to protect our Bay Area landscapes and promote smart growth in our cities and towns. With Co-Chairs Nancy Adler & Arnold Milstein, Linda Jo Fitz, and JaMel & Tom Perkins, and a bevy of individual and business sponsors, Savor the Greenbelt 2016 was a night to remember.
Excitement was in the air as a vibrant mix of environmental advocates, donors, and business supporters took in stunning views of San Francisco City Hall on the outdoor loggia while enjoying local wines and champagne donated by vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Clara Counties. Guests enjoyed stimulating conversation over memorable, farm-to-table, progressive agrarian cuisine appetizers and dinner prepared by Head Chef Chris Kiyuna of The Perennial restaurant in San Francisco.
California Congresswoman Jackie Speier praised Greenbelt Alliance for our role in protecting the Bay Area’s critical open spaces while promoting smart growth in our cities and towns. The Perennial owner Anthony Myint talked about the progressive agrarian concept of carbon farming to produce delicious, local food in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. As part of a special treat to guests this year, acclaimed jazz vocalist Jackie Ryan performed four beautiful songs, two of which were environmentally themed: “Big Yellow Taxi,” by Joni Mitchell and “My City Was Gone” by the Pretenders. CEO Jeremy Madsen pointed out that although written in the early decades of sprawl, these songs’ lyrics mourn the loss of natural landscapes, agricultural land, and thriving downtowns. Since even before those songs were written, Greenbelt Alliance had recognized the threat of sprawl to the Bay Area’s landscapes and had been and continues to be hard at work to save paradise before they put in more parking lots—or put them in the wrong places!
The first-ever Greenbelt Alliance Champion Awards were presented this year to honor the work of special individuals who have made a particularly significant contribution to the mission of Greenbelt Alliance. This year’s inaugural award recipients were Laney Thornton and John Sutter.
A long-time Greenbelt Alliance Board member, environmentalist, and philanthropist, Laney spoke with passion to the guests, friends, and family gathered in the Green Room about the long history of land use policy in shaping our environments and why he believes Greenbelt Alliance’s role in shaping how the Bay Area grows has been and continues to be critical to the well-being of our region.
John, who is a founding Board member, environmental pioneer, and parks advocate, talked about his work via a video produced by Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, Doug McConnell, widely known for his legendary series, “Bay Area Backroads.” John stressed the importance of protecting the places that make the Bay Area special and remembered the important role played by Greenbelt Alliance founder, Dorothy Erskine, in the 1960s to mobilize the community to protect the Bay Area’s open spaces.
Greenbelt Alliance would like to thank everyone involved for making this year’s Savor the Greenbelt such a resounding success, with special thanks to our Co-Chairs, host committee, sponsors, and attendees. We look forward to celebrating our amazing Bay Area and our generous community again at next year’s Savor the Greenbelt!