The Gig: Foodstock
Where: Honeywood, Ontario, Canada
When: 16 October 2011
In One Word: Inspiring
On a chilly autumn Sunday afternoon in Ontario, Canada while thousands of people continued their peaceful protests at the Occupy Bay Street rallies in downtown Toronto, an altogether different kind of rally was being held on farmland two hours north of the city. Foodstock saw 28,000 people, 100 chefs and musicians including Ron Sexsmith, Hayden, Sarah Harmer and Cuff The Duke unite for the day in a unique event to show solidarity for four farms in Honeywood, Ontario who are refusing to be uprooted from their land and livelihood to make way for a proposed mega quarry. Most of the chefs came from Toronto restaurants, with participants including renowned chef Jamie Kennedy and trendy Queen West eateries Poutini’s and Parts & Labour, with each restaurant setting up shop in tables inside the woodland to provide free food to the journeying protestors.
There was a tremendous sense of community and solidarity at Foodstock. Thousands of people in attendance walked around with camp cutlery as they enjoyed the delicacies on offer before moving on to the stage at the field where the musicians and speakers served up the music and sound bites of the day. Some family members from the four farms of Honeywood made emotional statements as they stressed just how important it was that their land be left untouched. Meanwhile, Faisal Moola, a scientist from the David Suzuki Foundation, explained just how devastating the proposed mega quarry would be to the local environment and ecology. “Go home tonight and stick your head inside your fridge and pull out a third of the food from inside it. That’s how much damage to the ecology this quarry can cause,” said Moola. “We depend on insects like the humble bumble bee to pollenate our crops, the crops that create the food we live on, and if we let some of the best and most fertile farmland in Canada go to waste then you will see the detrimental consequences to the eco-system, the crops and the food you end up seeing in your fridge.”
Foodstock was one of the most inspiring moments I have ever experience in my life. The warmth, energy and sense of community was just incredible. Massive respect to the Foodstock organisers, volunteers and participants but most importantly to the farmers who have stood firm. Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world – let’s keep it that way.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Foodstock photo gallery:
Stop The Quarry
Special note: Before I moved to Canada, I spent a few years during and after my time at University planting trees in Scotland. I found it incredibly rewarding work. I have now recently been appointed the leader of a Forest Restoration project to be run by the not-for-profit group Regenesis. I’m really excited about this project. Currently I am looking for volunteers in Toronto to help me with this project, especially anybody with grant writing experience who can help us generate the funding we need to get started with restoring and creating forests next spring. The first official project is at Glendon at York University. If you have any interest in being involved with this project in any way, please get in touch here or by e-mail to me at: forestry [@] theregenesisproject.com. Cheers, Brian