Foodstock sequel being planned for this year 0
Another Foodstock event is planned for later this year, said internationally renowned chef Michael Stadtlander. He was the guest speaker during the Grey Association for Better Planning's annual general meeting last Saturday.
Last fall more than 100 of the country's best known chefs organized the first Foodstock held on Oct. 16 -a massive rally opposing the construction of a mega-quarry in Dufferin County in a bid to save thousands of acres of farmland through a celebration of music and local cuisine.
The pay-what-you-can event held on four farms near Honeywood attracted more than 28,000 people and helped raise aware-ness about the impact the quarry will have on local farmland and the underlying water table.
Stadtlander said the Chef's Congress of Canada, which organized the first Foodstock, is joining forces with the David Suzuki Foundation to organize a second event later this year, which is expected to attract about 140 chefs from across Canada.
Stadtlander wasn't able to say much as delicate discussions are underway with organizers, but he expects to make an announcement about a "second offensive," in the next couple of weeks.
He likened the battle against the mega-quarry to the sustained opposition that eventually led to the cancellation of Dump Site 41 in Simcoe County. It's victory that can only come from a groundswell of opposition.
"This kind of battle won't be settled by lawyers and politicians, but by public opinion," said Stadtlander.
Highland Companies, funded by U.S. hedge fund Baupost Group, has purchased approximately 8,000 acres of prime farmland on either side of Hwy. 124. They intend to dig a 2,300-acre limestone quarry, the second largest in North America, that will extend 200 feet below the water table.
While Foodstock was a celebration of local food in Ontario, Stadtlander said it served as a display of public interest in the security of local food, water and wider environmental resources.
He said the feedback from the chefs who attended the first Foodstock last October was that the event had made its mark on public opinion.
"We've opened up the nerve of the public," he said.
The event earned Stadtlander accolades for his initiative. The Canadian Association of Food Service Professionals gave him the restaurateur of the year award for his dedication and passion to his profession and for community involvement.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced last fall that a full environmental assessment will be conducted on the mega-quarry before construction can begin.