The James Beard Foundation Presents The System on Our Plates

Edens & Avant Founding Partner of National Dialogue on Sustainability, Public Health, and the Food Industry

Oct 18, 2010

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Edens & Avant proudly announces its corporate support as a founding partner of the James Beard Foundation's first annual national food conference, The System on Our Plates. In collaboration with the Sustainable Food Laboratory, the invitation-only conference will be held October 21 in Washington, D.C., focusing on public health and sustainability as it relates to the foodservice industry.  Participants include chefs, restaurateurs, government officials, philanthropists, and business leaders who will address major challenges and solutions in the culinary world.

"As one of the nation's leading commercial real estate developers, we put sustainable practices at the forefront of everything we do," said Jodie W. McLean, President of Edens & Avant. "As we develop and redevelop urban retail centers in major markets, we are a company that cares about the impact we make and leave on our communities." 

"Our portfolio includes national and niche grocers, a wide variety of restaurants, and several urban farmers markets," added McLean. "Our communities are demanding local, natural and sustainable food. We are constantly searching for innovative ways to meet these needs both directly and in conjunction with our retailers. We think The System on Our Plates will prove to be an extension of our outreach efforts."

Topics at The System on Our Plates are based on a series of regional meetings hosted by the James Beard Foundation and the Sustainable Food Laboratory in Portland, Ore., Portland, Maine, Kansas City, Mo., Long Island, N.Y. and New York City. Through various presentations, panels, group discussions, and other guided conversations, the conference will address many of the common themes discussed by chefs, farmers, sustainability experts and other stakeholders in the food system.

Guest speakers and panelists at The System on Our Plates include Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives; Mike Strain, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Chef Nora Pouillon; and sustainable food pioneer Chef Michel Nischan.

"Whether it's educating consumers about nutritional choices or implementing sustainability practices in food service operations, Edens & Avant is in a unique position to implement the lessons we learn at the conference and we look forward to continuing the dialogue on such an important issue," adds McLean.

The System on Our Plates was made possible with funding from founding partners Edens & Avant and Sodexo along with support from the Sustainable Food Laboratory members Ruby Tuesdays and Sysco.

About Edens & Avant

Edens & Avant develops, owns and operates urban retail places in primary markets throughout the East Coast, including 36 retail centers in the Washington, D.C. larger metropolitan area. Focusing on retail in major metro areas, the Company has built a portfolio of more than 130 retail centers in 15 states. Edens & Avant has Regional Headquarters in Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami and Columbia, SC. For additional information about the Company and its retail real estate portfolio, please visit  

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America's diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City's Greenwich Village as a "performance space" for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation's blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.

About the Sustainable Food Laboratory

The Sustainable Food Lab is a consortium of business, non profit and public organizations working together to accelerate the shift toward sustainability.  The Sustainable Food Lab facilitates market-based solutions to the key issues—including climate, soil, poverty, and water—that are necessary for a healthy and sustainable food system to feed a growing world. The Sustainable Food Lab uses collaborative learning to incubate innovation at every stage along the supply chain from producing to distributing and selling food.

SOURCE Edens & Avant

For further information: Robbie Robertson, Edens & Avant, Communications Director, +1-803-744-2446, [email protected]