Monday, October 17, 2011
Yesterday we made our way to the heart of Ontario farmland to attend Foodstock. It was a marvellous event featuring samples of scrumptious Ontario foods prepared by over 100 Canadian chefs. All the produce and labour was donated; the event itself was located on one of the few remaining farms that wasn't bought up by the group that hopes to develop a Mega Quarry on this wonderfully fertile land.
The estimated attendance of over 28000 included people from all walks of life and it was amazing to see local farmers mingling with foodies, city folk, musicians and chefs, all with one purpose- to keep the land that grows our food intact.
Some random images of the day- sadly not many of the food (because I ate it!)
I spoke with one woman whose family still farms nearby and she was astonished by how many people came to show their support. We talked about the impact the mine would have on the people who live and farm in the area; blasting 24 hours a day, 300 heavy trucks per day barreling through small communities, and the unknown effects on the water table if 600 million litres a day were pumped out of the ground. We talked of how far people had travelled to attend the event and she appeared delighted by the sheer volume of people who had descended, causing traffic to back up and creating parking lots on the side of the road for miles in all directions. The usual big city vs country awkwardness was nowhere to be found; we were united by a cause that affects us all. I was happy to acknowledge that we urban dwellers are becoming more aware that we don't live in a bubble, and if the voices of the 800 local inhabitants weren't loud enough to be heard, then we'll eagerly join in until the powers that be are forced to pay attention. Because it does no good to preach about eating local food while selling out the people who grow it for us!
Michael Stadlander of Eigensinn Farm, seen here speaking to the crowd who stuck it out despite the cold and rain, was the driving force behind Foodstock. It is a testament to his passionate belief in the land that feeds us that he was able to recruit so many people behind this cause. Thanks and praise to all involved with making this day both a fabulous event and a sobering reminder that we all need to work together to keep our farmers and the land doing what they do best- feeding us all!