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Whistler2020 on the Ground

The Stomach Days of Summer?

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Whistler2020 Food task force

August has traditionally been called the Dog Days of Summer. But in Sea to Sky Country, the seeds planted by dedicated local foodies are allowing a harvest of food events that should have us cook up August as the Stomach Days of Summer.

With reports filtering down off Whistler Mountain that last weekend's A Taste of British Columbia Summer Gala was an unbelievable success with hundreds enjoying local food and wine on the sun drenched Roundhouse Lodge deck, August has become our unofficial local food month. Check out the menu below.

A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary by Food, Inc. How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter and Poorer and What You Can Do About It. I left the theatre feeling a bit sick but hungry for change. The film exposes big issues in America's food system like foodborne illness, nutritional labeling, factory farming, genetic engineering, pesticides, environmental impact, farm worker protection and more.

Despite the shocking messages in the film, I feel proud and optimistic about the potential we have in our own community to secure and protect our food system. The Whistler2020 Food strategy is "a coordinated, collaborative regional effort which will create stronger bonds between food producers, retailers and eaters" and is one of the key coordinated efforts bringing about this fresh sheet of local food ideas and action.

A menu of community events and initiatives are tied to the Food Strategy: Whistler's Chef Challenge, Slow Food Cycle, the Farmer's Market, community greenhouses, the Green Table Network, a few 100 Mile Menus and Whistler's Feast in the Mountains. Fun, tasty and educational, each one supports a Food strategy Description of Success including: preserving regional agricultural land, protecting opportunities for food production and educating community members about food.

The Aug. 29 Feast in the Mountains, a gourmet, wandering picnic, brings out top chefs and producers to Rebagliati Park to create a delicious sampler of what's in season from the Pemberton valley and beautiful B.C. Feast organizer and self-described "Slow Food Wrangler," Astrid Cameron Kent brings local and artisan food producers to Whistler's executive chefs while helping connect a network of farmers, restaurateurs and caterers.

"Supporting, promoting and showcasing our local farmers while irrigating them with love and support is simply the right thing to do," says Cameron Kent, an energetic leader on Whistler 2020's Food task force. "With the Feast, we feature the Whistler-based establishments who collaborate and work with local artisans and farmers as much as they can."

Wayne Katz, owner of Gone Eatery and Moguls, thinks supporting the farmers with a grassroots approach like the Whistler2020 food task force and Feast are fun, dynamic ways to pull our community closer together, build the local agricultural base and ultimately bring healthy choices into our food system.

For Whistler's conscious chefs, environmental issues are an obvious impetus for choosing local ingredients - but the simple fact that food picked fresh-from-the-farm has incredible taste is an even juicier reason to eat local. Ask your server what's in season the next time you dine at: Araxi, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, The Four Seasons, Players Chophouse, The Westin, Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Black's Pub, Gone Eatery, Moguls, La RĂșa and the Telus Whistler Conference Centre, to name a few businesses with local food on the menu.

At Feast in the Mountains, you'll be served by some of Whistler's top chefs and enjoy their tasty bites paired with B.C. wine and beer. Mark your calendar, buy your ticket, and plan to bike to the Feast to savour every moment of this local food love-in.

To learn more about actions that are moving Whistler toward our 2020 vision, or to get involved, go to whistler2020.ca

Fresh Sheet:

Slow Food Cycle Sunday

Aug. 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pemberton

No pre-registration necessary. Register on event day at the Old Community Centre. Follow the signs from Highway 99. Featuring food, farms, music, art and people. Free to ride and participate. Bring money for food, buskers, and...

FRESH Ideas Movie Night

Aug. 21, doors at 7 p.m., presentation at 7:30 p.m. followed by discussion

FRESH, New Thinking About What We're Eating , celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across who are re-inventing our food system. Brought to you by Whistler 2020 Food Task Force and the Squamish-Lil'wat Cultural Centre. By donation.

Feast in the Mountains

Aug. 29, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Rebagliati Park

Early bird tickets $50

www.feastinthemountains.com

Volunteer contact: astrid@astridsfinefoods.com

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