Bringing complex issues down to earth

September 25, 2008

The Hamilton Spectator, (Sep 25, 2008)

What is sustainable food? Like a new age food philosopher, Zsuzsi Fodor answers my question with a dozen more.

The whole sustainability issue is very complex, notes this fourth-year McMaster University student, the creator of OPIRG McMaster’s PEAS (Promoting Eating Alternatively and Sustainably). It reaches well-beyond the distance our food travels from farm to table. To help Hamiltonians understand that complexity, Fodor has partnered with community activist Matt Thompson (along with help from OPIRG, The Makers’ Market, Hamilton Farmers Market, Global Village Market, Mixed Media, and Food Not Bombs Hamilton) to offer the bus tour, From Seed to Scrap.

After picking up people in Westdale and downtown Hamilton, they will take visitors to four very different sites in and around the city — from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm where horses replace tractors for much of the field work, to urban Community Kitchen programs — and finish with lunch at the FRWY Cafe (made, of course, from food grown close to home).

Thompson admits the brainstorming sessions behind this tour were aided by caffeine, the same fuel that sends their varying perspectives flying across our morning coffee at breakneck speed. He is the site co-ordinator for the Makers’ Market, creating opportunity for people to buy local food, arts and handcrafts in the heart of the city.

He has been involved in a number of urban initiatives such as Hamilton Urban Growers and the Community Gardens Network, reclaiming public spaces, bringing people together to build strong and self-reliant communities around food.

Fodor’s interest in an equitable food system, where all members of the community have reliable and dignified access to an adequate, nutritious and culturally appropriate diet, were piqued when she worked with Quest — a food gleaning organization in Vancouver.

She spent this past summer working with the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at McMaster University, dispelling her own notion that one model could be devised to feed everyone in the city.

After visiting a range of food initiatives in and around Hamilton, she realized that large farms, market gardens, community and back-yard gardens, economical collective cooking programs and charitable services that fill empty stomachs are all connected and all equally important.

With so many facets to the story of food in our city, though, how could she and Thompson ensure that the whole story was being told?

They found a simple answer to a complex challenge: They would introduce a few of the people behind the scenes, and let them tell their own stories.

“We are giving food a human face,” says Fodor.

From Seed To Scrap

What: A field to meal food tour of Hamilton

When: Sunday, Oct. 5, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., followed by lunch at the FRWY Cafe.

Tickets: Advance tickets are required ($7 adults, $4 children, lunch included), and are available at Global Village Market, 948 King St. W.; Mixed Media, 154 James St. N., and on campus at the OPIRG office (MUSC #229).

Info: 289-441-0258 or e-mail

2008-09-26T15:54:00-04:00September 26th, 2008|Public Interest Projects|0 Comments

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