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Trusto & Cricket's Excellent Adventure

Trusto is finishing up the four-day Sustainable Food Conference in Telluride. Cricket, that genius, got him a grant through the One World Holding Hands Fund. (Cricket trained with Alice Waters and at Cafe Ciarlatano in Trastevere, it’s often said with more than a whisper of envy.)

Sustainability, thinks Trusto, it’s so, um, encompassing. It says it all. Healing the earth, I’m psyched, he says to himself, breathing the clean mountain air mixed with some top-shelf sativa he purchased in Boulder.

Trusto and Cricket have become food activists.

As Trusto gets on the plane in Grand Junction, he is brimming with new ideas. Sustainable catering, that’s the future. Look out Hamptons, here we come, he chuckles to the clouds at 30,000 feet after some tasty California merlot.

Organizations across the world are delving into sustainability initiatives, Trusto has learned in Telluride, and the food and beverage industry is no different. As participation in these initiatives grows, the amount of hazards we release into the environment shrinks. The benefits of sustainability are numerous, including a reduction in landfill waste, a decline in chemicals and toxins released into the atmosphere, less dependency on finite resources, and a decrease in energy consumption. We must eat without compromising the ability of future generations to live on the planet, and anyone who thinks Alice Waters is a little bit ridiculous or extremely pretentious should go to jail.

You see, says Trusto, it’s all connected. Saving the planet, that is.

Cricket and Trusto have always loved food, ever since those yummy Sunday buffets at the club as kids, where the nice ladies in starchy black and white served up perfect creamed spinach and corned beef hash.

But Cricket and Trusto have since learned that food activism brings them much greater visceral pleasure than any WASP comfort food. The joy of friends at mealtime, the bonne table, or animal satisfaction of refilling the engine? Instruction and moralizing, virtue theater, and shaming rituals are so much more … fun.

Now all grown up, they are still following their bliss. They are still on the journey. Food activism, Trusto often reflects, is very hard work and the fight never really ends.

“Giving back,” Trusto and Cricket like to say with noble smiles on the terrace overlooking the dunes at sunset. “This is win-win.”

Trusto and Cricket need to re-charge their batteries and get out of Gotham. (Those sad lesbians from Iowa in sandals on Broome Street, broiling in the July heat!) They need some ocean air.

Trusto spent the winter helping Cricket build Organo, a pioneer in sustainable catering. Billionaires frolicked through the season amid Cricket’s colorful Basquiat-inspired table ornaments, in rapture over the signature primo piatto, which looked like flaky lumber shavings and rabbit pellets in beds of kale. Cricket’s team of food activists worked tirelessly, wearing Organo’s trademark doo-rags and Haitian-style bandanas, serving New York’s hippest and most politically correct. The One World Holding Hands event was front page in the Times Style section.

Organo used only locally grown, pesticide and hormone-free products, which helps keep harmful toxins from going back into the earth. Trusto drove Organo’s biodiesel-powered truck, which runs on reclaimed kitchen fryer oil, around Manhattan, distributing leftovers and Cricket’s EarthSnax™ to the homeless.

Some critics thought Organo’s paper-thin sugarcane plates that came apart unexpectedly (biodegradable!) while one was, say, seated on a sofa or standing in a group were overly didactic. “Works better for sitdown events,” some party planners said sotto voce.

Forcing meat eaters to wear pig masks was radical, it was widely agreed, even among ecumenical vegans. But for a moment great public rooms and majestic townhouses half full of pigs in black-tie had been the talk of the town and something of a sizzle.

“Not merely to feed,” said Trusto regally to the gal from the Times who interviewed him. “The decisions you make with your fork can help shake up the world.”

Trusto and Cricket post Facebook bulletins asking their Hotchkiss and Brearley classmates to stop animal genocide and self-poisoning. They give helpful, unsolicited, irony-free tips daily on fish oil and quinoa and more.

Now, like a dream come true, Organo-in-the-Potato-Fields is getting ready to do the best summer parties ­­— sustainably. Cricket can’t count the inquiries. The buzz is divine. “Sustainable catering is almost de rigueur this year in Sagaponack,” said the puffer in Town and Country. “Can’t wait!”

So many parties and people to do! So many food lessons under the white tents and tables with the flickering little candles. Trusto and Cricket bring with them ­­— and those Upper East Side bankers surely need it! — cosmic consciousness. Educating earth rapists in sustainability feels almost clerical, Trusto exclaims, thinking of himself as an apostle or missionary.

The first purpose of Organo, after all, had been to educate eaters in food consciousness and planet-friendly habits. That’s why Cricket and her trust lawyer had cleverly wrapped the venture beforehand in non-profit status. Now that Cricket is raking it in, she’s having second thoughts about all that 501(c)(3) service income piling up, and her pesky accountant’s right-brain, columnar thinking.

“What’s not to like?” says Trusto, lecturing his father and his Vampire Squid golfer friends at the Maidstone Club. “Wind farms! Electric tractors! Goodbye agribusiness and cruelty. Hello happy humans, raising our own vegetables. Just imagine.”

Trusto is packing the plates and pig masks, pleased — as he so often is — that he is doing well by doing good. Once on the road, Trusto starts thinking. What he hopes is also sustainable is the family inheritance. He hopes the bank officer in private wealth management keeps on truckin’.

Money! It’s always a touchy subject, and Trusto and Cricket never really like going there. But near Exit 70 on the Long Island Expressway, Trusto and Cricket look at each other, exchanging no words. They don’t have to. It’s like extrasensory perception.

Cricket gets on her cell to the accountant, suddenly losing her breezy manner. “I think we should rework this non-profit puppy,” she says to him sternly, as a headmaster might instruct a student. “The sustainable thing is gold.”

Gilbert T. Sewall in The American Spectator

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