Event highlights tasty ways to help feed Illinois families and manage Asian carp threat
CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and partner Feeding Illinois hosted hundreds of children, adults and families who experienced how delicious Asian carp can be if prepared simply and correctly during an event at The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen in Champaign today. The event was the latest of many ‘Target Hunger Now!’ programs showcasing Asian carp throughout Illinois.
“‘We can’t be happier with the success of the ‘Target Hunger Now!’ program,” said IDNR Deputy Director Travis Loyd. “This is the fourth event featuring Asian carp as a healthy, flavorful meal and the positive feedback has been overwhelming.”
Asian carp is a popular fish to eat in European and Asian markets. Unlike native, bottom-feeding carp in the U.S., Asian carp is a cleaner fish that feeds on plankton and algae in the upper water columns of rivers. The event was intended to change the reputation of Asian carp by demonstrating that it can easily be used to make healthy, flavorful meals.
“Once again Illinois American Water is proud to support the ‘Target Hunger Now!’ program for its continued focus on hungry children and families. At the root of this program is making our waterways safer and healthier by removing and using Asian carp to feed those in need,” said Illinois American Water President Karla Olson Teasley.
The ‘Target Hunger Now!’ program used the culinary skills and recipes of famed Baton Rouge, Louisiana chef Philippe Parola to highlight delicious ways of preparing Asian carp during the luncheon event at The Daily Bread. Chef Parola uses Asian carp to prepare easy-to-make and delicious fish meals for adults and families.
“No matter where I go and who I cook for, there is always one thing in common. Fish translate to food,” said Chef Philippe Parola. “I’m proud to serve Asian carp to anyone who will try it because I know how tasty and beneficial this fish is.”
“Feeding Illinois and our corporate partners are proud to be participating in this innovative program to encourage hunters and anglers to donate deer and Asian carp for processing into healthy, ready-to-serve meals,” said Feeding Illinois State Director Tracy Smith. “This effort will feed those most in need and lessens the Asian carp threat to our waterways.”
‘Target Hunger Now!’ is the IDNR-managed humanitarian effort that accepts donations of Asian carp and hunter-harvested deer for processing and distribution to food banks and charitable organizations throughout Illinois.
‘Target Hunger Now!’ has already hosted successful events in several communities throughout Illinois including Peoria and Washington D.C. in 2012. Using donated deer meat as the primary protein food source, delicious venison tacos were served to more than 2,300 children and families in 2011.
Over the past two and a half years, efforts by the Illinois DNR, through contracts with Illinois commercial fishermen, have netted the removal of more than one million pounds of bighead and silver Asian carp from the Illinois River.
The IDNR is working on a variety of fronts with the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) to eradicate the threat posed by non-native Asian carp and prevent them from establishing a population in the Great Lakes.
For more information on the work of the Illinois DNR and the ACRCC to protect the Great Lakes please visit www.asiancarp.us