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Food and Drink

Picnickers around the world eat off the land for Earth Day

A viral campaign to celebrate Earthy Day will see about 500 communities hosting simultaneous picnics around the world.

In a gesture meant to reconnect people to the earth, Picnic for the Planet will see groups across Canada, the US, the UK, Colombia, France, Singapore, Romania and Mexico grab a patch of grass and eat, literally, off the land.

Interested picnickers can join existing groups on social networking site Meetup.com, or start their own local outing.

The event is organized by the Nature Conservancy, an environmental group that spans the US and the 32 countries.

The group is also challenging picnickers to host events in a variety of categories, like largest picnic, coldest, highest altitude, cleanest, northernmost, southernmost, and most remote picnic.

To green your dinner plate, the Nature Conservancy offers a few straightforward tips: learning more about what's in the food; eating local; eating seasonal ingredients; consuming more fruits and vegetables and less meat; and eating sustainable seafood.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace USA released a scorecard rating major grocery chains for their record on seafood sustainability and ranked Safeway the top retailer, http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/oceans/seafood/

Seachoice provides a comprehensive list of environmentally sustainable fish options like farmed Arctic char, Pacific cod from Alaska and farmed tilapia from the US, http://www.seachoice.org/

And the WWF provides a consumer list of sustainable seafood choices for countries around the world, http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/conservation/marine/sustainable_fishing/sustainable_seafood/seafood_guides/.

Celebrity chefs have also contributed environmentally friendly meal ideas for the event, like Eric Ripert's Goat and Ricotta Cheese Terrine and Carla Hall's Asparagus, Zucchini and Parmesan Salad with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette. Hall was a contestant on Season Five of US reality cooking show Top Chef.

To find a Meetup near you, visit meetup.com/natureconservancy