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Dine Out for Farms week is Oct. 16 to 22

Chef/owner of new Washington, D.C., restaurant Graffiato, Mike Isabella, who appeared on season six of "Top Chef" and was the finalist on "Top Chef All-Stars," joined other DC-area chefs and restaurateurs celebrating their connection to local farms at the kick-off event for American Farmland Trust's second annual Dine Out for Farms.

Dine Out for Farms week, which will take place Oct. 16 to 22, is a nationwide celebration of delicious food and the farmers and land needed to grow it. The event raises money to save farms and farmland.

"Living and cooking in D.C. allows me to source great products from local farms in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast," said Chef Isabella. "Working with local farmers supports their business and the economy, hopefully making it affordable for more Americans to eat locally sourced, fresh and healthy food."

"I am confident that restaurants working with local farmers is not just a trend," said Bev Eggleston, founder of EcoFriendly Foods." Within the sustainable agriculture community, there is a mission, a passion, a vision, and a call to make a difference."

Restaurants participate in Dine Out for Farms week with a special dish, by donating a percentage of sales, or by making a straight donation to help save farms.

In return for supporting Dine Out for Farms, American Farmland Trust provides participating restaurants with promotional and engagement tools that encourage consumers to dine out often and make a difference.

"The restaurant community's support of local farms is crucial, given that the Mid-Atlantic states have been losing more than 200 acres of farmland a day to sprawling development," said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl. "Between 1982 and 2007, that totaled about 2 million acres, or an area bigger than the entire state of Delaware." Maryland lost 286,000 acres and Virginia lost 462,3000 acres of farmland during this 25-year span.

"Farmers Restaurant Group and the North Dakota Farmers Union are very proud of having a sustainable and nationally recognized business in the Mid-Atlantic region that is a model for our industry as a whole," said Dan Simons, concept developer and managing partner, Farmers Restaurant Group. "We continue to improve upon our achievements and to continuously seek authentic, top-quality, regional and seasonal products from the region and beyond whenever possible, to help continue the education of our guests and to help maintain focus on the challenges facing American family farmers."

For more information or to view a list of participating restaurants, go to www.farmland.org/dineout.

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