Food for Thought takes place Saturday, October 15th


Oftentimes when we go grocery shopping, we pick foods that are in convenient little boxes, wrapped in shiny plastics or anything under a sale sign.

The second annual Food for Thought aims to make Calgarians more aware of the processes food goes through before ending up on the grocery shelf. The social event will combine organic food sampling as well as a premiere documentary film showing.

“I’m curious to see what local producers are going to be exhibiting,” said Ed Ma, an environmentally conscious foodie. Ma, who declares eating as his favourite pastime, also said the event provides a place to exchange ideas with others.

grocery shopping

Local food producers are feeling increasingly alone and isolated in today’s world of food commercialization, said Nicole Boisvert, marketing co-ordinator at Community Natural Foods.Stephanie Jackman, president and founder of REAP, examines food labels while shopping at Community Natural Foods. Food for Thought aims for Calgarians to take a closer look at where their food comes from Photo: Pauline Zulueta

“[Food producers are] excited to participate and show that they make really great products. But they don’t have a lot of resources on their own,” Boisvert said. “Working in conjunction with restaurants or catering companies really helps them get the word out. And an event like this amplifies it even more.”

Attendees of Food for Thought will have the opportunity to meet the local sustainable farmers who sow the seeds, pick the produce and feed the animals.

Popular Calgary restaurants such as River Café and Boxwood will also be present and serving samples. Community Natural Foods, in partnership with Hoven Farms, will be offering beef skewers at their booth.

Specialty items such as “superfoods” from The Light Cellar and fruit wines from Field Stone Fruit Wines will be featured as well.

Educating many Calgarians

“People have no idea,” said Boisvert, frustrated about people’s lack of awareness about their food. “They don’t understand the processes that food goes through or how animals are treated or what conventional farmers put on their produce.”

Jenn Champagne, who runs a holistic nutrition resource, said that for many Calgarians it has just become a habit to mindlessly pull food off the shelf.

Stephanie Jackman, president and founder of the event organizer REAP (Respect for the Earth and All People) added that by supporting local business, we are helping our economy thrive.

“We can keep more money in the local economy and we can support businesses that are making the world a better place for all of us,” Jackman said.

Bigger venue for attendees

Last year’s event was so successful that tickets were sold out at the door in 20 minutes, said Jackman. Organizers were forced to turn away approximately 250 people who were already lined up for the event.

“People have no idea. They don’t understand the processes that food goes through…” – Nicole Boisvert, marketing co-ordinator at Community Natural Foods

This year however, the event will be held at the Absolute Baseball Academy next to McMahon Stadium. The venue can accommodate up to 600 participants, offering plenty of space for activity, said Jackman.

The event will also include the premiere of documentary film In the Same Boat, directed by Rachel Bower. The film highlights how a farming family from Alberta and a fishing family from Newfoundland have been affected by the industrialization of agriculture.

“It’s going to be a bit of an outdoor experience but without the concern about weather. People can sit on blankets, watch the movie and eat food casually in a very sensible atmosphere,” Jackman said.

Tickets are $25 per person and will include samplings from more than 15 restaurants and local growers as well as the showing of the 35-minute long documentary. Tickets are available online through REAP’s website or at Community Natural Foods stores.

Food for Thought takes place Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.

“We want the community to get together, enjoy great food, have a discussion about food and watch a terrific documentary,” said Boisvert.

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