Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nourishing Hamilton Fair: Food, Faith and Justice

Food for ethical thought

Garden lovers traced the origins of local food Sunday — down to the roots.

Intercultural organization Faith and the Common Good paired with Environment Hamilton to host the Nourishing Hamilton Fair: Food, Faith and Justice at Grace Lutheran Church.

The afternoon event featured 10 booths with information about local green groups such as Earth Day Hamilton-Burlington, Hamilton Victory Gardens and Hamilton Community Garden Network.

There were many issues associated with food they hoped to raise awareness around, Greening Sacred Spaces project animator Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko said. “It’s an aspect of justice, really. If you don’t have space or money, how are you going to get food?” she said.

“Fair trade is another aspect — thinking about where the food is coming from. That’s important, too.”

Faith and the Common Good’s Greening Sacred Spaces program provides faith groups with practical ways of being more sustainable places of worship.

Sean Hurley, 51, moved to Hamilton two months ago and came to the fair because his wife has a garden and was interested in learning more about food issues.

“I think the core of any economy is food and if we don’t look after how we get our food, we’ll lose control of our own economies, essentially,” he said. “We’ll become dependent on imported food. … In the end, we lose the ability to even afford to feed ourselves.”

Sara Collyer, operations manager of the Neighbour 2 Neighbour Centre, spoke to participants about the organization’s community gardens at places of worship, a school and at a residence on the Mountain used to supply their food bank or neighbours in need.

“Traditionally, emergency food (wasn’t) the healthiest food so we feel by doing this we are able to provide healthy food to people who come to use our services,” Collyer said, adding they had 30,000 pounds of fresh vegetables last year.

Jim Sweetman, vice-chair of the Waste Reduction Task Force, was also present, distributing information on the city’s green bin program and material on recycling. The Dundas resident has been composting in his own back yard for the past two years and encouraged others to try it in addition to using the green bin.

“This city is definitely progressive and ahead of most communities in Ontario, but there’s still more we can be doing and keep pushing,” Sweetman said.

Tracy Hochheimer, 50, agreed. Hochheimer said she and her husband have their own garden, but have a lot of shade in their back yard and need more land to grow on. “Look at all the land that’s not being used. Food could be grown there.”

905-526-2468 | @WongatTheSpec

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