It was the topic of the morning the other day as we sat in the departure lounge of Regina International Airport: the great gathering of Soupstock down in Woodbine Park in the Beach (or Beaches, if you prefer) on Sunday, October 21st. It is going to be astonishing! A cross between last year’s Foodstock and the perennial fundraiser Empty Bowls, with over 170 chefs gathering to offer soup to the multitudes, it could be the largest-ever culinary protest in the world. The purpose, if you haven’t heard, is to protest against the proposed Mega-Quarry north of Toronto. I really think we all have to go and be counted amongst the righteous. Or face the puzzled frowns of our unborn children when they ask what we did to stop the Sons of Fomor from destroying our beautiful province. Do you want this farmland to end up looking like the Tar Sands of Alberta? Money’s lovely, of course, but some things are more important.
Now here are the official messages from people who are already doing their bit.
“While Foodstock was amazing, it only whet our appetite for something even bigger,” says Chef Michael Stadtlander from the Canadian Chefs’ Congress, which is co-hosting the event with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Soupstock is going to be the culinary celebration of the year; delicious, huge and truly inspiring.” Joining Chef Stadtlander are well-known culinary champions like Lynn Crawford, Jamie Kennedy, Brad Long and Donna Dooher. Up-and-coming chefs like Jon Pong of Hoof Raw Bar, Craig Harding of Campagnolo, and Calgary’s Connie DeSousa of Charcut, will also showcase their talents.
“By participating in Soupstock we hope to motivate Torontonians to join the inspiring movement to stop the Mega-Quarry and protect our precious headwaters and farmland,” says Chef Jamie Kennedy of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens. Chefs have volunteered to concoct original soup creations for Soupstock that celebrate the Melancthon region’s rich agricultural, cultural and natural history. In addition to culinary star power, local Ontario producers are donating the produce to be used by the chefs in the soups.
“It’s exciting to see our local farmers matching the incredible generosity of the chefs by donating fresh ingredients for Soupstock,” says Dr Faisal Moola from the David Suzuki Foundation. “From beets and bones to potatoes and dairy, these producers are kindly sharing their bounty and making the event a true celebration of local food.”
The mega-culinary event hopes to raise awareness about the need to stop the Highland Companies’ proposed limestone Mega-Quarry in the Township of Melancthon just 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto. The Mega-Quarry would permanently destroy more than 2,300 acres (930 hectares) of the best potato farmland in Ontario. The company is backed by a $25?billion Boston hedge fund and has proposed to blast a pit deeper than Niagara Falls in a landscape of great agricultural, cultural and ecological importance. The Mega-Quarry would require 600-million litres of water to be pumped out of the pit each day in perpetuity. Up to one million Ontarians downstream rely on this water. Thanks to a growing community of support to stop the Mega-Quarry, last fall the Ontario government ordered the province’s first Environmental Assessment of a quarry application. Of course, we have no actual government now, so I’m not sure how that will pan out.
Funds raised at Soupstock will be used to continue building a community of support to stop the controversial Mega-Quarry and support other environmental and food-related issues. For more information, please visit www.soupstock.ca, or contact: Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation 647 456 9752 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org.