Sunday, April 12, 2015

10 ways to eat local on a budget

We have been bamboozled about the true price of our food. Commodification, subsidies, trade deals and corporate lobbying have made industrial foods less costly than natural foods. While empty calories have gotten cheaper, nutritional value has gotten more expensive. Until our governments support our farmers, fishermen, and primary food producers like they do the multi-national corporations, eating local may present an economic challenge. 

FACT: We spend less of our income on food today than any other time in history. [source]

The politics of eating and the true price of our food is a sad state of affairs… but as part of the Slow Food movement we are more empowered to take charge of the foods we consume than most other people in the world. Yes, these tips do require more time, and more effort. Feeding yourself should, actually, considering how important it is!

Our collective effort does create momentum, don’t ever deny the benefit of even a small action. There are already many voices calling for the governmental action we need to support our local food producers. If the consumer demands good, clean and fair food, then politicians and industry will have to listen.

We won’t be perfect, we never are, but intention can mean a lot when it comes to how you choose to spend your food dollars. Do what you can when you can. 

Benefits of a local food diet:

higher nutritional content
cleaner, bolder flavours
smaller carbon footprint
stimulates a vibrant local economy
more ethical to the animal, the producer & the planet

the cost of not eating local is much too high! 

Brooke Fader is a sommelier, gardener, restaurant-owner, leader of the Slow Food Vancouver Island convivium & active member of the Slow Fish Canada committee. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Take a Field Trip with Slow Food Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands | Alderlea Farm, The Tea Farm & Ampersand Distillery


A  Biodynamic Farm,  Tea and Gin Field Trip: Only in the Cowichan Valley!
Saturday May 2 make new friends and spend an interesting day on a field trip to the Cowichan Valley. Discover the people and the philosophy behind three successful  local businesses that take pride in their organic roots. 

Participants will receive detailed directions to each stop upon registration. 
Estimated time for the tour:  
  • 9:30am Depart Victoria in individual cars or make up your own car pool 
  • 11:00am Arrive Alderlea Farm
  • 12:30pm Arrive at the Tea Farm
  • 2:00pm Arrive at Ampersand Distilling at Sol Farm
  • 3:15pm events conclude

Members: $23.00 plus fee of $2.37 
Non-Members: $28.00 plus fee of $ 2.67 
includes tastings, a home-cooked lunch and a dessert. 


Stop 1:  Suggested departure from Victoria 9:30 a.m. up the highway we go to  Alderlea Biodynamic Farm and Café just south of Duncan,  arriving at 11:00 a.m.  Co-owners Katy and John have not only prepared a choice of delicious soups and a biodynamic greens salad for our lunch, but she has baked farmhouse bread from Vancouver Island’s own Red Fyfe wheat. Hear the story of their enterprise. www,

Stop 2:  The Tea Farm: Depart Alderlea Farm at Noon and arrive at The Tea Farm at 12:30 p.m. About 10 minutes north of Duncan, our group will rendezvous in the large car park next to a charming studio/tea room overlooking a pastoral scene.  With several terraces of Camelia Senensis  firmly rooted and ready for their best year ever,  Tea Farm co-owner Victor Vesley will tell tales of sourcing fair trade, organic tea , the joys of blending plus growing their own. Enjoy several tastings and a dessert.

Stop 3:  at 1:30 pm back down the highway we go to Ampersand Distilling arriving at 2:00 pm. A gin lovers and a tomato lover’s paradise all in one stop!  Ampersand Gin mellows in a rustic distillery in the back field of Sol Farm.  Open less than a year, Ampersand Gin has already been awarded a silver medal for it’s purity and flavor.  Hear how the Schacht family took their bold idea, experimented and innovated new ways of distilling on a shoe string. Taste the fruits of their labours.

Sol Farm’s large greenhouse is bursting with seedlings and greens, as well as the last of the winter produce.  Well worth a warm look with Ramona, the farmer, answering your gardening questions.

3:15 pm we bid a fond Slow Food VI farewell to the lush valley and the local producers who work so hard to bring us their bounty.

Information:  Joan Athey 250-294-6040