Monday, March 30, 2009

Local 101

Still coming down from a great event on Saturday that gave me hope for a raised consciousness in Calgary.
Wade Sirois of Forage and Infuse Catering organized the gathering, which brought together interested eaters (..or co-producers, as they are known in locavore/slow food circles..) and producers to talk about the state of food production in Alberta.
It was a great event in so many ways. For one thing, people cried. Sounds crazy, but several of the speakers, tough AB farmers no less, got choked up talking about their experiences. It just goes to show how personal food is to our experience of the world. And for them it is about livelihood and a mission of sorts as well.
Some of the speakers were born to be advocates for this work -- Wade and Chris Vester from Blue Mountain Biodynamic Farm had the crowd hooting and applauding as they waded into some of the difficult issues no one wants to talk about (such as the government subsidization of cash crops that push out small producers, and the fact that most of Calgary's 'farmer's markets' make it very hard for actual farmers to sell food..).
Peter Haase of Buffalo Horn Ranch explained to the crowd of city folk how hard it is to be a farmer in Alberta, giving people a sense of the challenges farmers face. For me this was the most important part of the event. I think the farmers were in shock up at the front as a room of 200 people beamed appreciation and admiration toward them. For the last 50 years there has been an antagonistic relationship between the city and the rural areas in this province, and the hard work farmers do has been ignored.
Here is a short speech on the subject by Roger Epp, Dean of the University of Alberta's Augustana campus, entitled "The Need of a Beloved Country".

Another highlight.. at the end we got to eat, huzzah.. and sample local booze. I sampled (and then re-sampled..) mead from Chinook Arch Meadery. I HAD NO IDEA. It was gorgeous. I had tried European mead in the past and it is rather, er, medieval. Thick and strong. This mead was light and smooth, it tasted like a sweet white wine. Evan and I decided we'll be serving it at the wedding.

The photo above is Wade Sirois preachin' it to the masses.


Cheryl Arkison said...

Darn, I didn't know you were there! So was I. What a great event.

Anonymous said...

ya, I was thinking we should arrange a food blog meetup at the next foodie event.. could be fun. were you with Julie VanR? I may have seen you but wasn't sure enough to say hello :)

Cheryl Arkison said...

Yes I was. I see you made it to the library for the Carl Honore event. Alas, I had no babysitter.