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What’s on your plate? Local food for thought about eating as a community

By Alison Larabie Chase on October 23, 2015

Alison Larabie Chase blogs about cooking and restaurants at This Dessert Life when she’s not herding cats, working in association communications, or traveling the world.

A community cooking night. An apple festival. No less than three events involving local craft breweries. In case you hadn’t noticed, Support Local 2015 is focused primarily on facilitating discussions about food and growing. “The events this year particularly focus on the abundance of food that we’ve got in the Ottawa region, and highlight the many different ways we can come together to share food, books, music, beer, and more. We’ve also been handing out little packets of seeds at various events, with the hope of planting these next spring – so we’ll actually see this city grow, together!” says Karen Diepeveen, one of the Editors of Apartment613.

The culmination of this focus on local food and eating happens on Thursday, October 29 at Thyme and Again. What’s on your plate? Apt613 Talks: Eating as a community promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking panel discussion about local food as it relates to our Ottawa community. What does the landscape looks like right now? What can we do to improve and broaden the availability of local foods? How do we harness the availability of locally-produced food to support both food producers and the less fortunate members of our community?

Each of the three panel members think about food on a daily basis, though they approach it from very different angles: Trevor Haché from Savour Ottawa, Karen Secord of the Parkdale Food Centre, and Sheila Whyte, owner of Thyme and Again. We asked Haché why it was important to Savour Ottawa to be involved in this discussion.

“We love Apartment613, and we love local food, and we want to talk about how to continue to grow our region’s commitment to local food,” Haché says. Since 2007, Savour Ottawa has worked to develop and promote Ottawa and the surrounding area as a culinary destination for both locals and visitors.

Haché says supporting local food supports our community in other ways as well. “With the economic challenges the world is facing now, we need food sovereignty. We need to grow and produce as much as possible right here.” He adds that supporting stores and restaurants that sell and serve locally-produced food keeps money and jobs in the community, so people have money to spend on that local food.

He hopes that the conversation that begins at this panel event will carry on outward into the community and broaden people’s understanding about businesses that are committed to local food.

“What can local businesses and the municipal government do to support local farmers? What can the provincial and federal governments do more of? There are so many opportunities for more growth [in local food production and consumption],” Haché says. He cites the massive explosion of local craft breweries in the Ottawa region in recent years, noting that local agricultural products (such as grains) are underused by those brewers, leaving plenty of room for potential partnerships with farmers in the region. Maybe one day Ottawa will have many 100-mile beers. We’ll drink to that.

Hungry to learn more about the role local food plays in building community? Come get involved in the conversation on October 29.

What’s on your plate? Apt613 Talks: Eating as a community is a free event. It takes place on October 29 at 7:30pm at the Exposure Gallery on the 2nd floor of Thyme & Again, 1255 Wellington St. W. Seating is limited. Please reserve your spot.