Delegates from all over Canada, the United States and parts of Europe along with many locals were in Moncton recently for the Eating Heritage Food Festival and Slow Food Canada National Summit. The event was five days of foodie heaven, living up to its name by going back to our roots and showcasing East Coast cuisine and culture in every last bite of the schedule.
In case you haven’t already guessed, the Slow Food movement and its chapters worldwide are based in beliefs that stand in direct contrast to fast food. In a world of faster, cheaper products that disregard the impact that kind of consumption has on people and the planet, what unites these foodies and those involved worldwide is their passion for food that is truly tasty and filling – and not just to your stomach.
This movement is based on the belief that what we eat should be:
GOOD: Quality, flavorsome and healthy food.
CLEAN: Production that does not harm the environment.
FAIR: Accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers.
One of the best things about the Eating Heritage event was how accessible it was. Unlike most conferences, attendees could pick and choose what they wanted to attend from the nearly 50 events. Many of these cost a mere $5-$15 – a steal for any gathering of this type. A goal of the organizing committee was to make the event accessible, not just financially but also to pique the interest of different types of attendees by offering a wide range of events.
Participants were treated to tours of surrounding rural communities, DIY workshops, examples of innovative and sustainable agriculture, discussions around how to increase the impact of grassroots and sustainability initiatives around the country, and of course lots of opportunities to taste some really delicious and artful food and drinks.
Attendees also did their part in making the event accessible by being so very friendly! Of course no good meal would be complete without good company to share it with, and if the smiles were any indication it seems that many hearts and bellies were full by the end of the event. Locals were obviously thrilled at the opportunity to share what makes the East Coast so magical and tasty. With so many great producers, chefs, fisherpeople, passionate foodies and local and sustainable food initiatives in the area there was certainly a lot to brag about.
Those from away seemed grateful for the homegrown hospitality. After all, who better to host visitors than a group of people who have a love for food, drink, art, learning, culture, and travel? Factor in the fact that the hosts of this event are a group of East Coasters, well, let’s just say there lots of smiling faces, great food and drink, live music and dancing.
In true Slow Food fashion, what really stood out the most was the attention to detail when it came to how everyone involved interacted with their food. Both the hosts of the events and the attendees clearly knew their stuff when it came to good, clean, and fair food. Not only that, but this is a group of people who know the importance of pairing good food and drink with good company and good presentation. Saturday night’s gala sure impressed everyone with a giant Acadian flag made of local seafood.
One thing is for sure, the Eating Heritage event drew out a crowd of passionate foodies who know the importance of slowing down and really enjoying things that many of us may not make the time for. They know the value of the kind of connection that comes from knowing your farmer, sitting down for a good meal, or maybe even having a good dance with a group of people from all over the country that might only get together once a year or so along with a few of the newly converted.