A crowd of curious noshers convened at the west-end headquarters of FoodShare last Wednesday to celebrate sustainable food with a locally sourced meal. They brought their opinions with them.
Bent over a table of Aboriginal-inspired hors d’oeuvres, one middle-aged man grumbled about venison meatballs. “Why would there be meat here, at an event about vegetables?” said Yves Bernard, warily eyeing the meatballs and bison-tongue perogies nestled between a bowl of wild rice with blueberries and maple syrup and three sisters chili (named for North America’s main pre-European crops: maize, beans, and squash.)
“Well,” he conceded, “I guess it isn’t my place to say.”
The meal was the kickoff of a three-day urban-agriculture summit, featuring workshops on things like building soil through composting and rooftop agriculture.
The summit’s mission—to highlight “every link in the Food Chain”—was impossible to ignore, with the facility’s gardens and aquariums as important to the diners as the finger foods that were doled out by catering staff. A who’s who of food-security thinkers and activists, the attendees included urban-agriculture pioneer and MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Will Allen.
“It’s so great that we were able to get delegations of people from North America and all over the world,” said Foodshare’s Meredith Hayes, “and also have a great representation of community partnerships here. People were just pickling beans together and talking about food-security opportunities. It’s pretty amazing.”