Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post: Paul Wartman on Foodstock

Sarah Harmer at Foodstock, photo by Diogenes Baena

Hello All! Today's post is a thoughtful contribution from Paul Lion Wartman, a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph. Mr. Wartman is engaged with local organic food production, sustainable living, promoting social and environmental justice. Below are his thoughts from Foodstock:

      Last Sunday, October 16th, a counted 30,000 people came together in the forested, agricultural land of Honeywood, ON to celebrate Foodstock. Community members of Guelph jumped on their bikes, hopped in their cars and piled, literally, into buses with family and friends to join the festivities. Everyone was gathering there to support the provincial efforts to stop a local issue - the Mega Quarry… as well as to enjoy the local bounty prepared by 100+ chefs from across Canada, which was complemented by the musical talent of Jim Cuddy, Sarah Harmer and many others!

     Once there, people trekked across farm field paths to the entrance of the forest.  Greeted by friendly volunteers that were collecting registration donations, "pay what you can" with a recommended donation of $10, we chirped with excitement. Upon entering the forest, people stopped and stared. It was as if entering a dream! Amongst the stands of fall coloured trees were pockets of tents that had chefs crafting together their meals to share. Many were cooking the locally produced food over fire pits, which added multiple streams of aromas that pulled you in different directions. With home-brought plates, cups and cutlery in hand we gathered our senses and galloped towards the smells. First table had little tarts filled with goat cheese, produced just 3 km away, mixed with berries it was quite the treat! Next was squash gnocchi! I don't know if you can imagine how it tasted swirled with maple syrup and sage! Ah! Plates moved, pulling their human parts from location to location being settled by the warm pockets of sunshine and acoustic tunes during their short journeys.

    Grazing throughout the art stands and mud-jumping children, eating mouths took time to discuss the issues at hand. Where would all this amazing food come from if this class A farming and ranching land turned into a quarry? We enjoyed our vegetarian poutine, those potatoes grew here. What about the water? Wouldn't digging 200ft below the water table in the headwaters of 5 major river systems affect the flow? These are all important issues to be pondered.

    Overall, it was a fantastic experience, rich with culture, that left you feeling satisfied. We left with new energy and hope that our efforts here today and our continued efforts will help prevent the proposed Mega Quarry and to create new policy to help make the necessary process of aggregate production less destructive to the environment.

For more information on the Mega Quarry and the efforts surrounding it, check out these links:

-Paul Wartman
Oct 19, 2011

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