Thursday, October 13, 2011

Foodstock: taking stock of what must be preserved

In August I wrote of an exciting upcoming event, Foodstock. Well, it’s shaping up to be even bigger and better, not one to miss.

You may have seen something about it on CBC’s The National on Monday. If you did, you saw volunteers (including yours truly) prepping the site for a day of celebration of the food we eat and the land where it grows.

We celebrate now but that land is under threat. A company planning to tear off the soil and dig up Canada’s largest quarry has amassed huge tracts of Melancthon Township in neighbouring Dufferin County. Although they promise to restore some of the land to something like its previous state – at the bottom of a huge pit – it strains credulity to believe this activity can avoid serious harm to our air and water.

Several of Ontario’s major rivers headwater in this region. Excavation will alter the water table, introduce minerals into streams, and require tonnes of explosives with toxic residue. Farming, even on such rich soil, is touch-and-go already. How viable can it be when 600 million litres of water must be pumped out each day to prevent farms becoming lakes?

Which brings us to Foodstock, a chance to take stock of the value of food, water, and soil. Operations like this only add up on paper when the value of gravel is greater than the value of clean local food. Major chefs beg to differ, so over 100 top chefs will be there, each crafting a signature dish to highlight the value of our local food. Do the names Michael Stadtlander, Jamie Kennedy, or Anthony Walsh mean anything to you? If so, meet them and sample their fare face-to-face at Foodstock. From as far as Nunavut and Nova Scotia, from Toronto and even from Barrie, Canada’s most famous and caring chefs will be gathered like never before.

There are also over two dozen musical acts to entertain you while you wander and eat, including names like Sarah Harmer, Jim Cuddy, and Ron Sexsmith, MC’d by Jeremy Taggart of Our Lady Peace. A whole day of fun! Bring your family. Oh, bring your own plates and cutlery, and dress for the weather (including boots).

This outdoor event starts at 11 am this Sunday, October 16th and wraps up around 5 pm. For up-to-date participant lists and directions to the site, visit or It’s about an hour’s drive from Barrie; carpool to save money and parking space.

The event is pay-what-you-can, with funds raised to help save this land from the quarry plans. If you want to pitch in like me, there is still need for volunteers from early in the morning until into the evening. Contact to connect.

Written for my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner, published under the title "Foodstock: Learn the value of clean local food"

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is an educator, father, volunteer and politician.

1 comment:

  1. Chef Michael Stadtlander and other great Canadian chefs have done a magnificent job, showing excellent skills and profiting a cause.

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