Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Food for Thought

Hey Everyone! Time is kinda tight these days since I'm officially putting down roots in my own place in Ottawa, but amid the boxes and packing tape I wanted to give you a brief report on the Savour Ottawa event I attended yesterday. It was a networking event, and I met a lot of interesting people: retailers, chefs, farmers, culinary students and writers, all interested in promoting, supporting and regulating local food! It was really inspiring to be involved with this event.

A few interesting points came up during the breakout discussions and I'd like to share one of them. One farmer commented that consumers need to be educated more when trying to identify which foods are local and seasonal at farmers' markets. I think he had a great point, as I am sure there are many of us who just read a sign that says "local food" and we say, "great" and pull our wallets out. We need to be aware and buy from the person who actually grew the food, talk to them and find out more information about where and how it is grown. Farmers are proud of their crops and I am sure they would love to share their story. This came up because some vendors have been known to buy from growers at a market and then resell it themselves at a higher price; also some vendors have purchased produce from out of country and tried to pass it off as "local". As consumers I think it's up to us to be more informed and vote properly with our dollars.

Also regarding education, how many of us really know which foods are in season during certain months? What about the younger generation -- do they know what foods are in season in a given month? It is scary to think that so many of us have become so disconnected to the land that provides us with food. I am also guilty of not knowing as much about this as I should, so I sourced out a great resource to start us all on the road to knowing more -- Foodland Ontario's "Availability Guide". If you're reading this and you don't live in Ontario, don't sweat it -- I am sure there is a comparable guide out there for your region. Let me know when you find it!

On another note, I was also pleasantly surprised to see so many female farmers and food producers! I don't know if this is specific to the Ottawa region, but it was great to see so many women involved. I would like to say hello to anyone who is reading this who I met at yesterday's event -- thanks for stopping by After the Harvest!

So, until the boxes are packed and unpacked, I bid you good eating, drinking and reading! I have some "wild" posts coming up...so stay tuned!



  1. Hey Heather, I just wanted to show you a poster my friend Betsy Blake (creator of eco-everyday www.ecoeveryday.com) created. She pretty much took matters into her own hands to create a seasonal produce chart, and has shared it with a number of people in our area.

    Here it is: http://www.brianheagney.com/images/SeasonalProduce.jpg

    So if there's not a seasonal produce chart for your area, don't fret, create it yourself and start sharing. Hang it on your kitchen wall, and reference it when planning your shopping or meal preparations for the week.

    When someone is eating a tomato out of season, casually say, "tomatos aren't in season are they?".

  2. Brian! This is fantastic. I think I need to take a field trip to Greensboro and meet all these fabulous people who care about local food! A simple idea, beautifully done by your friend! I will plan to check out her website very soon :)
    Thanks for continuing to share in this with me!