Gabriola Food Forum

by: Sara on 02/19/2013
Posted in: Food

Today's blog post comes from New Society Publishers office maven Jean Wyenberg. This past weekend Jean attended the Food Forum here on our home turf of Gabriola Island and shares with us the many delights of the day.

 

Painting by Sheila Norgate of rescue chicken Thelma

Gabriola Island is known as the Island of the Arts thanks to its proliferation of creative folk, but perhaps we should also start thinking of ourselves as the Island of the Self-Sufficient -- these days a lot of that creativity is being directed towards the challenges and delights of growing, selling and preserving our own food.

This past weekend, on February 16th, the 5th annual Food Forum was held at the Community Hall and it was a lively, well-attended affair. From the 20 or so exhibitors, visitors could purchase locally grown veggies, honey, granola, saved seeds and great books (New Society Publishers), or sign up for a day of learning which seaweeds you can harvest and eat or what you can gather from our local forests.

Two students from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition were on hand to point out the benefits of eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles (and many more whose names I can’t remember), and the Vegeteers were there to promote vegetarianism. At the Vegeteers table I was attracted to a beautiful painting of a hen by Sheila Norgate and heard that little Thelma was one of four girls brought to Gabriola (80 were rescued out of 30,000 “spent” layers destined for slaughter). This very lucky little hen is now enjoying her new life of freedom and health on our island.

Jean working the New Society book table

Local market farmers made presentations on many topics such as how to grow superb tomatoes and how to dehydrate and store food, petitions on “A moratorium on the introduction of GM alfalfa” and “Declaring Gabriola a GMO Free Zone” were there to be signed, and there was nourishment in the form of delicious soup and bread prepared by locals and designer coffees from the mobile coffee folks. Finally, there was representation from important Gabriola organizations such as the Agricultural Hall Association, the Gabriola Commons and the Gabriola Organization for Agricultural Liberty.

Throughout the afternoon there were lively discussions at the different tables amongst visitors and exhibitors – yes, there were even stories about how you really can plow with pigs! It must be apparent by now that we cannot depend on governments to effect the change that we need in order to be able to survive and thrive locally, and it is heartening to see so many people here tackling the issue with intelligence, enthusiasm and a spirit of sharing.

 

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