Lied Lodge & Conference Center selected as readers’ favorite by Meetings Focus MidAmerica

Last month, we were delighted to learn that Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm was selected as a “Best of MidAmerica’ meeting venue by Meetings Focus readers for the fourth year in a row.

In addition to receiving the same honor in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Lied Lodge has also won the Enviro-Management Award from the American Hotel and Motel Association.

Lied Lodge is a growing destination for conservation-minded groups looking for an ideal, nature-filled setting to regroup, recharge and plan for the future. The U.S. Forest Service, the Society of Municipal Arborists and the Nature Conservancy, all long-time Foundation partners with a rich legacy of stewardship, have chosen Lied Lodge for gatherings.

The goal is for guests to leave seeking to make a difference, taking their conservation advocacy to new levels in support of sustainable forestry, clean air and water and community improvement.

Readers of Meetings Focus MidAmerica were tasked with choosing their favorite properties with consideration toward quality of meeting space, guest rooms, staff, service, food and beverage, amenities, activities and overall value.

Recognition like this – as well as from the inclusion of Arbor Day Farm in promotions like Passport Nebraska – have helped put Lied Lodge on the map, and we’re already seeing a difference. The number of visitors staying for conservation-related gatherings doubled in the past year.

We appreciate the recognition – and look forward to welcoming even more visitors in the years ahead. (Below is a short video we put together last year about meeting at Lied Lodge).


 

Recapping the role of Lied Lodge in Omaha’s Elevate 2012

The following guest post was written by Amy Stouffer, the Nebraska City-based e-communication specialist and web content manager for Arbor Day Farm.

People enjoy locally-raised food at the to-g(R)o food station at Emerging Terrain: Elevate.

Omaha’s 36th street bridge drew an eclectic crowd on Sunday afternoon — one of artists, foodies, locavores, and people just fortunate enough to score tickets to one of Omaha’s coolest food-meets-art events, called Elevate.

The event was the brainchild of Emerging Terrain, an Omaha non-profit that, in their own words, “uses whatever we can – exhibits, installations, paintings, feasts – to get people to think about and really see our environment. At Emerging Terrain, every project starts with the same questions – what story have we written on our landscape? And what more do we want to say?”

Judging by the chef and artist collaborations on the bridge, there’s plenty more to say.

  • Burlap bags filled with mini-gardens, suspended from cables high above.
  • A tabletop skateboard-on-a-pulley-system that delivers tasty food to eager diners.
  • A 20-foot table etched with names and addresses of people displaced by the construction of Interstate 80 through Omaha in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lied Lodge’s Chef Matthew Taylor teamed up with two artists, Bob Trempe of Philadelphia and Brian Hamilton of Omaha, to bring about their food-and-art station, entitled to-g(R)o. In concept, the design centered around physical changes to a landscape over time as a space becomes forested, colonized, deforested, and otherwise changed as a society develops. In practice, the display looked like 3-D rolling hills of corrugated cardboard, with tree seedlings and cones of food tucked into the cells between sections.

(Ed. note: Chef Taylor and his team were also featured in the Omaha World-Herald’s photo gallery here).

“Our exhibit today recognizes that as people come into a space,” said Chef Taylor, “they have to make room for themselves. So as participants in this station, people need to step into the design and pick up food from the landscape, which clears a spot for them to sit and enjoy it.” Once inside the 14’ x 20’ design, diners were encouraged to sit and relax in the space while dining on three kinds of locally-raised food: chicken, bison, and pork, each paired with fresh greens and edible “dirt.”

Before moving on to the next station, diners were encouraged to take an Arbor Day Farm tree seedling from the exhibit space and plant it at home – giving them a role in changing our landscapes for the better through tree planting.

“There really couldn’t be a better fit between the artistic concept and design that Bob and Brian dreamed up for this event and the food that we serve at Lied Lodge,” Chef Matt said. “By staying local and sourcing the best of what’s in the landscape closest to us, we’re treading lightly on our environment and preserving its viability. Plus, it just plain tastes good.”

The collaborators, from left: Artist Bob Trempe of Philadelphia; Lied Lodge Chef Matthew Taylor; Artist Brian Hamilton of Omaha

to-g(R)o by the numbers:

  • 14’ x 20’ dining environment
  • 375 sheets of 40” x 80” corrugated cardboard
  • 630 individual, interlocking sections
  • 33 modules that combine to produce the form
  • 150 tree seedlings from Arbor Day Farm

to-g(R)o menu:

  • “Micro Farm Scapes” – selections of farm bounty served with edible soil and micro “pastures”:
  • “Sunny Side Ham” – TD Niche Farm Heirloom Pork, carrot-horseradish emulsion
  • “Prairie Fire” – Perfect Ten Ranch organic bison, juniper, smoke
  • “Chicken or the Egg” – Plum Creek Chicken confit, pickled egg, Woody Creek Farm Lavender aioli

What’s next:
After the event, this exhibit will go back to Emerging Terrain headquarters in Omaha for a while, with the anticipation that at some point, it will be relocated to Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City for its permanent home.

For more:

See a photo slideshow of to-g(R)o at the Emerging Terrain event.
Watch a short video of preparing food and the exhibit before the event.

This piece was cross-posted on the Lied Lodge & Arbor Day Farm Blog.

Lied Lodge & Conference Center executive chef participating in “Elevate” event in Omaha Sunday

Attendees at this Sunday’s “Elevate” event in Omaha will have the chance to sample dishes titled “Sunny Side Ham,” “Prairie Fire” and “Chicken or the Egg,” as well as edible soil, all prepared by Lied Lodge & Conference Center Executive Chef Matthew Taylor.

The location – the 36th Street bridge over I-80 – is also worth noting. The bridge overlooks a series of transformed grain elevators (pictured below), representing the event’s focus on food, transportation and design.

Elevate is sponsored by the Omaha-based research and design non-profit Emerging Terrain.

Chef Taylor is participating in a team with two designers during the Sunday event, which aims to highlight the connection between what we eat, how it gets there and the infrastructure that supports the process. Each team is constructing its own menu and station, and more than 100 people are expected to attend.

He is working with designers Bob Trempe of Philadelphia and Brian Hamilton of Omaha. Hamilton also produced one of the six pieces selected for this year’s Art in the Woods, launching Saturday, June 9 at Arbor Day Farm.

The title of the team’s contribution is “To Grow.”

A number of known quantities in the area will also be on teams. Grey Plume, Pitch and Nebraska Brewing Company are among the Omaha eateries represented at the event. Lincoln-based GUP Kitchen and Bread & Cup are also participating.

We’ll have photographs and a recap of the event early next week.