Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's That Time of Year

See the leaves whirling around on the streets, the frost on your windshield, feel the shiver in the morning? Winter is on its way. I thought that after this summer it would be a rough adjustment, spending days in the hot sun, but so far this winter has been great. Granted, heirloom tomatoes are done, sweet green peas are no more, but wow do we have some great veggies to look forward to! This summer was a great lesson for me in terms of the personal responsibility of eating local and supporting our other local farmers. Reducing my carbon footprint was something I have always tried to do, and my efforts of eating local prior to my Skeeter Farm introduction was something of a hobby, not a true belief or passion. The creation of local squash from last years seeds, or the act of seed saving for next years' tomato crop has been a great lesson from my Skeeter Farm mentors. This summer has really brought me around to the fact that I could never turn my back on what we are doing as farmers, and our importance to the preservation of our local food and our beliefs of what real food is.

My picture here is some fabulous kale still left in the field, and my pride and joy of canned Skeeter Farm veggies and fruit. Ground cherry jam, pickled carrots, beans, beets, and cukes. Just this week, I was able to entertain with a platter of Skeeter Farm pickles! Yum!

Local veggies in a jar, and the sturdy, leafy greens of the fall/winter months. Everyone, grab a sweater and slippers, and cozy up to winter and its lovely bounty we are so lucky to have.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Terra Madre Update

One of the things that Slow Food emphasized to the Terra Madre 2010 delegates was that it is very important bring back the "message" of Terra Madre to our local counterparts in order to build capacity for the movement in our local communities.

I am quite new to Slow Food as an organization. The movement has been around since the 1970's and seems to have a huge following all across Europe, considerable political clout and and some serious government support which enables it to pull off the huge event that is Terra Madre. However, my exposure to the organization is limited to the little bit of volunteering that I have done for events that the Vancouver chapter puts on. I found myself thinking quite a bit during the event and workshops about this "message" we were supposed to be bringing back and proliferating amongst our local communities. After 3 days of intensive workshop sessions, conversations with other farmers/foodies and serious amounts of delicious food samplings it turns out that the "message" of Terra Madre isn't so simple that I can type it into a sentence, or a paragraph, or perhaps even an essay. Even Slow Food themselves have written pages and pages of documentation in order to explain the ideas and opinions of the organization.

From what I gather the "message" of Terra Madre is one of support for a number of important factors surrounding food and agricultural governance, sustainable resource management and ecological agriculture, socially acceptable food and agricultural systems, recognition and support for traditional ecological knowledge and traditional/historical foods. Pretty all encompassing eh? For me, it is still a little unclear how we go about achieving steps towards these reforms in our food system.

If I had to narrow down MY one take home message from the whole event it would be that gatherings of farmers which allow us to converse, share and exchange ideas are possibly the single most important means of social collaboration that we will need to keep us motivated. It is pretty amazing that we had to travel half way around the world to be able to find a time and space that allowed us farmers to openly share our experiences...makes me think that we should try to replicate this type of knowledge exchange more close to home on a more frequent basis (apparently more easier said than done).

Terra Madre day is being held on December 10th at the Italian Cultural Center. The delegates from 2010 will be in attendance and we hope to share what we learned from the whole experience with others in the local food community. Perhaps I will have some more concrete thoughts flushed out by that this point I am still recovering from a whirlwind trip and subsequent scramble to catch up at school. Please do consider joining us if you would like to enjoy some delicious food and speak to some folks involved with food and farming.

With that I will leave you with some photos from the Salone del Gusto (overwhelmingly large room of deliciousness that was attached to the actual conference) and a couple of the markets in Venice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Growing Local Grain - Talk at Museum of Vancouver

A new friend Chris (who was at the Terra Madre meetings with Amy) is doing a talk about growing local grains this week at the Museum of Vancouver. We highly suggest you check it out! If you can't make it for Thursday, check out the Museum's local food photography exhibit in the near future.


Thursday November 4 @ 7 pm - Presenter: Chris Hergesheimer
Topic - Growing local grain and the first grain CSA in the lower mainland
Location: Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street Vancouver, BC

Biography: Chris Hergesheimer holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Simon Fraser University. He is the founding member of the Local-Grain-Initiative. Hergesheimer's goal is to position himself at the centre of a community dedicated to local sustainable food production in just the way the community miller was central to communities before the mega-marts and the 10,000-kilometre supply chain. Chris organizes FF/CF’S Grain Chain Coordinator whilst he runs his own business, The Flour Peddler.

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