The Big Picture: Farmers Feed Cities – making the connection

FRESH FROM THE FIELD DINNER A HUGE SUCCESS

we need food to live. We grow it, we cook it, we eat it, we enjoy it, and we entertain with it. The local food movement has resurrected the old-fashioned notion that we need to know where our food comes from; who grows it and how it’s been handled before it reaches our plate. Our grandparents wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Eating local is the latest thing to come out of food culture. However, it is not just about foodies foraging farmer’s markets for ingredients for this weekend’s dinner party. It has come to mean so much more.

It is about making the connection between our food, the earth, the environment and the people who grow it. The Food Network’s meteoric rise was not by chance. Food touches on ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, health and nutrition, agriculture and environment.

Farmers Feed Cities is an organization that works to increase the understanding of the value that farmers contribute to Ontario’s economy. As part of their  efforts to increase awareness Farmers Feed Cities has launched a fundraiser dinner series called “Fresh from the Field.” The inaugural event took place on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. 

Chef Brad Long, a local food advocate and restaurateur was the culinary genius behind the delectable menu which featured local ingredients. The evening also featured the wines of Southbrook Vineyards and beer from the Muskoka Brewery. Guests included farmers and agricultural industry members, food journalists, bloggers and culinary enthusiasts.

Chef Long has been a local and sustainable food advocate for most of his career. In his own words, understanding where our food comes from begins at home. “We have to raise our children to feel a connection to where their food comes from if we want to affect the future of everything from agriculture to food sustainability, to our very own health and wellbeing.”

Jenny Van Rooy, the Farmers Feed Cities Campaign Coordinator and event organizer couldn’t have been more thrilled with the launch of the dinner series, “Look around, our Fresh from the Field dinner event is not only bringing awareness to the local food movement by connecting the rural and urban audiences, but we are helping food lovers make the direct connection to Ontario farming. Foodies are breaking bread with the very people who grow their food. Amazing! “

It’s a shame that our modern lifestyle has led to this distance between what we eat and where it came from.  But there is a real interest out there, people are hungry (pun intended!) to get back to the basics, to cook more at home, to source out local ingredients and to remember our farmers – the stewards of the land.

The thing about the local food movement, the part that goes beyond food, ingredients, restaurants, urban foodie culture, beyond all of it; the part that matters most is this: The local food movement doesn’t just support our food growers, it honours them. •