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Pedalling the 12-step program

Slow Food Cycle Sunday hosts all-day bike tour of farms, author reading, farm feasts, art show



What: Slow Food Cycle Sunday celebrations

When: Saturday, Aug. 18 to Sunday, Aug. 19

Where: Pemberton Valley

Info: slowfoodcyclesunday.com

Authors Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, who planted the 100 Mile Diet seed with a book that challenges readers to consume food and drink produced within 100 miles of their home, list a dozen reasons at 100milediet.org as to why people should eat local.

The list encourages consumers to taste the difference a carrot makes when pulled from the ground only 24 hours earlier. Is that a test tube tomato you are chomping into? Meet your neighbours. Learn corn only exists in grocery stores, not on local farms in June. Discover new flavours with tayberries. Visit your local farm. Save the world by buying regionally to reduce green house gas emissions. Eat what is pulled from local ground. Know exactly where your money is going. Be healthy with daily doses of fresh food. Create memories picking, buying and preparing your foods. And lastly, the top 12 list encourages shoppers to remember, “Everything about food and cooking is a metaphor for sex.”

All of these insights pedal into action at the Slow Food Cycle Sunday celebrations taking place Saturday, Aug. 18 to Sunday, Aug. 19 in Pemberton.

Smith and MacKinnon will get everyone psyched about the pedal ahead on Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Pemberton Community Centre. The free talk on the 100 Mile Diet theory will motivate riders with discussions concerning family-farm crises and the questionable value of an organic apple shipped from more than 1,500 miles away.

“They will have a huge crowd for the reading,” speculates Trish Sturdy of North Arm Farm. “People are really beginning to understand that eating local is really important for the environment, their health and the local economy… The more we can get people out onto the farms and actually see where their food is grown, how it is harvested, how it gets to them and how they can taste how fresh it can be, the better it is for us and every farmer across this country.”

Fifteen local farms will reap the benefits as more than 2,000 cyclists set out to cover a portion, if not all, of a 50 kilometre loop winding through Pemberton Valley farmlands from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting at the Pemberton Community Centre. Farm gates will open the doorway to farmers, host artisans, chefs and musicians for this community farm fest. Pedal pit stops will fuel riders with Pemberton Valley Coffee Company’s brew, pumpkin donuts from Whistler’s Own Bake Shop, a Whistler Cooks! potato showcase, a spud celebration with Indian cook Nidi Raini and Araxi executive chef James Walt, Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef burgers, Big Smoke BBQ’s pulled pork sandwiches, Simply Delicious Baking cinnamon buns, Mount Currie aboriginal foods such as soapberry juice and bannock, and Sheese — a vegan cheese substitute.