EPISODE 23: The Athlete’s “Green”

In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?


The Truth is out there…so we’re told.



In Episode 22, Patrick and William examined the progress of tax dollars spent on various transportation issues and how those decisions directly affect sustainability. This week join them as they take a look at the outdoors, healthful living and exercise as it relates to a commitment to Green living.


WILLIAM: What a GORGEOUS day outside today!


PATRICK: Yes it is! I’m looking forward to a brisk run in the park later today.


WILLIAM: My kids love, love, love playing outdoors in the woods and yard, so I’m excited to get out and get active with them! They really love it too when we head to a fun park or to the river or anywhere green.


Kids Playing Outside


PATRICK: We are lucky in Atlanta to have a significant number of green spaces. Many metro areas don’t have half the parks and open spaces we enjoy. It makes it hard to get out and exercise if there’s no place to go. Running in the city is okay I guess, but the exercise freak in me really comes out when I run at the park or at one of our travel destinations offering green spaces.


WILLIAM: I know what you mean about cities filled with grey buildings…concrete jungles, as they say. Thank goodness for the folks at Trees Atlanta. They have done an effective job of planting trees all around areas of the city where concrete rules and green is lean! It really helps to “freshen up” a street or cityscape when it’s laced with something alive and green.


PATRICK: It is interesting that you used the term “freshen up” the city environment by creating more urban forest. We all know how plants and trees create oxygen. But there are so many other benefits to trees anywhere they are! Just ask The Tree People.


WILLIAM: You’re not calling on “tree huggers” for our investigation are you? I love tree huggers, you know, but some of our readers who don’t self-identify that way might write them off as eco-radicals.


PATRICK: Nope, no radicals looking for attention here, just some everyday folks who do a great job of illustrating the many ways that trees benefit us other than just providing oxygen for our run. They happen to be proponents for those of us who like to breathe—in other words, everyone!


Here’s one example: When you think about it, trees help diverse groups of people come together. Tree plantings create an opportunity for community involvement and outreach. Camping and hiking, birdwatching, hunting, leaf watching…all of these activities would be less exciting or even non-existent in certain climates without an abundance of healthy trees.


WILLIAM: And each one of those activities has another benefit. It helps us to keep our bodies healthy by being active, maybe even bringing out the athlete in all of us!


PATRICK: Nothing like a great hike to let you feel refreshed and oxygenated!


WILLIAM: Hey, did you know that an acre of trees can produce enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for one year? Good news to those of us who appreciate breathing!


PATRICK: But the reality is that each generation is affected more and more by global deforestation. At the local level we need to do all we can to promote anything that will save trees and plants from unnecessary destruction. Supporting local planting programs whenever possible is a start, but beginning with teaching our youth about how plant life works to our benefit is critical for the future. Planting something is ideal for kids to learn more about the deep and important connection we have to flora and fauna.


WILLIAM: That is so true. Project Learning Tree has a fantastic green education initiative called Green Schools Program. It’s where children learn a broad spectrum of environmentally savvy info. Public and private school systems around the country are embracing these types of programs, and positive things are happening.


Earlier we were talking about being athletic, and we’ve mentioned staying active as part of a healthy Green lifestyle. Childhood obesity and early onset diabetes are just a few of the plagues our youth is experiencing as a result of huge shifts in lifestyle over the years. The digital age, for all its benefits, has put a big hurt on playing in the back yard, riding a bike and “running over to the neighbor’s house to play outside”.


Did you know that obesity in kids has more than just the obvious consequences? A recent post from the Mayo Clinic details many potential problems for inactive kids well beyond cardiovascular. A couple of these scary issues are ones that I have personally faced, both as a kid and as an adult over the years, battling my own weight. Sleep disorders have caused me to look at my health much more closely. Emotionally, as a fat kid, life was often hard. Even though I was active, I still got picked on due to my excess weight.


PATRICK: Hey, my own nickname was “Fatrick”, so I can relate. Times have surely changed, William. In my day, it was square dancing. Today, youth athletics are an important part of raising kids for many reasons. But let me shift gears a bit.


What would happen if the tastiest foods out there for kids and adults were produced by the best chefs and caterers our nation has to offer? Wouldn’t that push us a long way towards some positive lifestyle changes? Some well-prepared food made from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients can replace ANY man-made supplements out there and create fuel fit for an athlete!


WILLIAM: Do you mean replace the proverbial birthday party cake and pizza with healthy tasty veggies and cookies laced with wholesome organic grains and natural sugars?


PATRICK: You bet! Regardless of the age birthday being celebrated, these gourmet treats served up at a lovely park, at the lake, at the beach, anywhere green will make you want to run around and breathe in the fresh air!


WILLIAM: Sounds like a plan!


That reminds me that as detectives and as fountains of info for our readers, we should always “bring it home” with some useful and inspirational information. As a grad of The Culinary Institute of America, I found out about another terrific sustainable initiative that ties together many elements of thought and action to help our Green efforts. We’ve noted a new program from this prestigious school called “Menus of Change” in our Revealed sidebar, so I hope our readers won’t miss it!


To be continued…



Please share with us and other readers in the Comments section below what are some of the things you do with food to educate your kids at home about healthy eating and “Green” eating? What’s their favorite post-sports, post-play, post-work snack that you enjoy making most?


Join us IN TWO WEEKS, on May 12, when we celebrate our BIG six-month anniversary of The Green Files. William and Patrick will fondly look back at previous issues to check in on the progress and successes of several topics.


NOTE: Our special agents are frequently undercover for in-depth investigations. They will be reporting in every two weeks.



This week’s 3Rs…


What is Revealed?


REVEALED: Menus of Change





What is Revered?


REVERED: Trees Atlanta





What is Reviled?


REVILED: Global Deforestation






Agent Cuccaro

Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Agent Neal

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]


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