It seems like everywhere you turn these days you see more and more signs promoting or touting products that are locally sourced and purchased directly from farms. But are we making a dent in how we eat?
As you drive around getting in those last minute trips and vacations with the children before they go back to school, take a look and see what crops take up the majority of the farmland in Southwest Ontario and for that matter across the Great Lakes region. You will see tall fields of corn growing. These are used mainly to feed livestock. The shorter green fields with soybeans will be used again, mainly for livestock feed and in some cases, to make tofu. In rare occasions, these bean fields are planted with edible beans for human food consumption. Lastly, you will see golden fields of what was once winter wheat, which should go into making flour for bread but not as much as you would think! But how much of the crops grow in our region, are intended for human consumption?
Chef Dan Barber has appeared in several food documentaries highlighting this quote: “6 to 7% of the food we eat is made up of fruits and vegetables; 60 – 70% of the food we eat is made with grains. If we want to take a dent out of the food systems and transform it to locally produced and grown by local farmers, we should be focusing on grains versus what most people buy at regional farmers markets and with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.”
Regenerate 2017 October 28 – 29, 2017
That is why this year CK Table is part of a regional collaboration called Regenerate happening in London, Ontario to build the conversation on heritage grains and building the awareness towards grains grown for human consumption.
Heritage Grain Weekend Workshops
Building on the 3-day event from 2016 we will again be part of a team responsible for bringing Greg Wade and Erin Meyer to Canada to conduct another bread camp experience. Greg Wade is head baker at Publican Quality Breads in Chicago and nominated for the Outstanding Baker Category for the James Beard Awards in 2017. Erin Meyer is from Spence Family Foundation in Fairbury, Illinois.
This one of kind two-day event works to showcase how farmers, millers and bakers can redefine the foodshed and help create a model that is better economically, environmentally and societally. There will also be workshops on various grain topics and a vegan based dinner to showcase how diversified grains can be and the range or food products they are used in; craft beer, tortilla’s, tofu, and spirits just a short list of uses grains can have.
We have only begun to transform the food system by sourcing and eating locally but we still have a long way to go. Our hope is that by helping to connect the key elements of the food system and working together, we can support the principles and practices of sustainable production that leads to giving consumers the power to make informed food choices.