Food Festival Plates Up Recipies for Change

March 4, 2009

This past weekend, I attended Earthsave Canada’s 10th annual Taste of Health Food Festival.  The event – part vegetarian trade show, part ecological symposium – celebrates healthy living, environmental stewardship, and the ever-important shift towards localized food production and sustainability.

As a limited meat eater (no beef or pork, little poultry, never enough seafood) it was great knowing I could sample indiscriminately and never have to ask, “what’s in this?”  There were approximately 50 businesses represented (mostly local, though a few big ones, including Silk) offering specialty teas, vegan chocolate and cheesecake, organic food delivery, and other Earth-friendly products and services.  I sampled dairy-free cheese spreads, granola mixes, vegan taquitos, and was amazed at how diverse and delicious this industry has become since the days of tofurkey.  It’s great to see that BC has some first-class offerings with which to serve to the world table.

I said before this event packed a one-two punch, and while the food delivered a convincing message, Earthsave also booked world-renouned speakers who provided plenty of proof outside the pudding.  The keynote speaker deserves his own introduction for another forum, but here is an interesting highlight from another expert attending:

Josh Brandon of Greenpeace spoke about climate change, oil scarcity, and sustainable agriculture as the three most important issues we face in today’s changing world.  To combat rising food and energy costs, Mr. Brandon advocates for smaller scale food production and encourages businesses to create local networks with which to share resources and achieve greater sustainability.

“Supporting local farmers is crucial to our food security and will ensure we have enough healthy food to eat,” Brandon says.

The message is clear:  We must face the challenges of high energy costs,  the loss of stable climate and agricultural land by working together to provide for ourselves locally what we now rely on internationally.  If every small, designated area can innovate a local, sustainable network of committed businesses and citizens, we can be self-sustaining, save money and have something left that we can all enjoy in the end.

Try a bite of vegan, organic fruit-infused chocolate produced responsibily and locally if you need more convincing.

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