Farmland crusaders set to party
NDACT celebrates with mini Foodstock
While the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) is widely known as defenders of farmland, they also throw one heck of a party.
On Sunday, Aug. 18, the group returns to party-mode to celebrate Food & Water First at the Honeywood arena.
“It’s not about raising lots and lots of funds. It’s about bringing attention to the importance of food and water,” said Shirley Boxam, who is organizing the party.
NDACT was created with the mandate to stop The Highland Companies quarry plans in Melancthon, as well as influence change in the province's Aggregate Resources Act (ARA).
The group organized Foodstock in 2011 and Soupstock last year to aid in raising awareness and funds for their quarry battle.
With the Highland application withdrawn, the group is now focusing on ensuring legislation exists to protect Ontario’s edible assets.
“We tried to come up with something for an event that would retain the recognition points on the mega quarry fight, but also bring recognition to this second phase,” Boxam said.
While Foodstock and Soupstock each drew tens of thousands of people, Boxam said the Food & Water First celebration mixes chefs and music on a smaller scale.
“It’s not quite as big as Foodstock and Soupstock, but hopefully something that will interest people from outside Dufferin County,” Boxam said.
“We wanted to hold an event that would extend the reach, outside of our own neighbourhood.”
Harlan Pepper will headline the musical side of the event, with other artists being announced later in the summer.
On the food side of the celebration, chefs from Men With Knives, Terra Nova Public House, Matthew Flett and One99 Restaurant have signed on for the event.
As well, an art show and sale, farmers’ market and kids' activities join the festivities.
With 50,000 hectares of prime farmland disappearing annually in Ontario, Boxam said the Food & Water First message is more important than defeating any single quarry plan.
“It’s actually a far more compelling issue, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s not as immediate,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like David and Goliath the way the mega quarry was.”
NDACT chair Carl Cosack said the timing is right for the celebration as the review of the ARA continues throughout the summer.
“We need to remind those who write it that we’re not going away until this is done the right way,” Cosack said. “We just have to take care of our farmland better than we’re doing. There’s only so much left.”
Admission to the celebration costs $5 with hot food items priced between $2 and $5. It is free for youth younger than five-years-old. The ticket price covers the cost of operating the event.
“The only funds being raised at this event will pay for the event,” Boxam said. “It’s just supposed to hold its own.”
For tickets, visit ndact.com or foodandwaterfirst.com