This morning, like any other morning, people woke up and headed to work.
An educator explaining how a seed ends up on your table as food. An aquaculturist checking their cages for damage. A public health worker looking to reduce chronic illness in their community. A politician looking for a unifying platform. A farmer setting up a business plan for next year's harvest. An elder tackling issues of community food access.
What do all of these have in common? These are all people in our community who are working in the food system. Sudbury as a city is becoming provincially recognized as a leader in northern food policy and agriculture, which is why the bi-annual Bring Food Home conference is being held here Nov. 20-22.
The fourth Bring Food Home conference will bring together more than 400 food-system leaders, who are cultivating the seeds of healthy and sustainable food systems to share successes, gain skills, and collaborate on the future of Ontario’s food movement.
The dynamic three-day program includes more than 40 sessions organized into six streams. Of special interest are the Friday Farmer Training sessions, hosted by Farmstart, aimed at encouraging young or specialty farmers to meet and learn new ecological farming techniques or better business practices. Those involved in these sessions also have the opportunity to discuss the new Artisanal Chicken program with a representative from the Chicken Farmers of Ontario.
Educators can also get involved, with “Edible Education” sessions hosted by Foodshare. Whether it's helping schools and daycares get healthy food onto the menu or engaging students through curriculum-raising food literacy in the classroom, these sessions cover the wide range of topics affecting those working with children today.
There are still more sessions targeting those social activists, dieticians, indigenous communities, restaurateurs and local food retailers. For more details check BringFoodHome.com (http://bringfoodhome.com/).
For Sudburians, two of the major events are open to the public. Our keynote speaker, Mark Schatzker, award-winning journalist and author of “The Dorito Effect,” will be discussing his original take on how artificial flavourings and modern growing techniques have created bland food disguised as something we should eat, “tricking” us into eating the wrong foods.
Speaking at the Radisson hotel at 7 p.m. Nov. 20, his discussion of modern food will change the way you think about healthy eating. Tickets are $25 at BringFoodHome.com (http://bringfoodhome.com/register/#id=112&cid=846&wid=701) until Oct. 9, after which the price jumps to $30..
The most popular event of the conference, the Feast of Flavours, will also be open to the public at 6 p.m. Nov. 21. This event shows the local food movement in action. Ten local chefs will each create a different appetizer featuring ingredients sourced from local producers. The result will be a spectacular social event, letting local foodies and conference-goers alike delight in our local terroir, showcasing the best of what Sudbury has to offer.
Just as food is something that connects us all, this conference helps grow professional and personal connections within the Ontario Food Community, creating synergy and momentum to drive our agendas for growth and reform forward.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda LeClair works at Eat Local Sudbury.