He's the man behind The Locavoire, a 100% organic, vegan, local, raw, and alcohol-free dinner series.
Last year, Manning took a closer look at what requirements foods and restaurants need to meet to qualify as organic. He found that a food product does not have to be completely organic in order to be USDA certified as organic. A 5% wiggle room is allowed, which companies use to slip in the additives and preservatives Manning tries to avoid. Restaurants can also claim to be organic, even if they only use organic ingredients "when available."
This lack of organic food, even in the Farm to Table movement, prompted Manning to start the dinner series, whose first L.A. appearance will be June 17 at The 1909 in Topanga. Manning will collaborate with Chef Be*Live, Ron Johnson, William Edward, and Rawberto Sage for the dinner.
The chefs will come out before each of the eight course to discuss the food, which includes lemon pepper ravioli, truffle cauliflower gratin, tostada with mango and coconut sour cream, and blueberry and orange blossom cheesecake. Non-alcoholic “elixirs,” such as a mojita lime, mint, and coconut elixir, lemon ginger iced tea, and mango coconut elixir, will be served with each course along with Solar Rain water.
You can receive acupuncture, a chair or table massage, and energy healing in a holistic healing lounge before dinner and Micah Nelson (Willie Nelson’s son) and Daniel Marley (Bob Marley’s grandson) will perform an acoustic set during and after dinner.
The meal is also meant to be kid-friendly. A portion of the proceeds will go to sending children to Cali Camp this summer. Child care is offered during dinner, there is a separate kid’s menu, and the event ends at 9:30 p.m. to be sure nobody misses their bedtime.
The Locavoire isn't Manning’s only food-related project. He also founded Community Sustainable Agriculture, a CSA-type organization that is linked to schools, raising money for school gardens and connecting students with their food. Now called CSA California, there are more than 30 pickup locations throughout the state.