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City Conversation’s Tasty Topic: Urban Food

July 24, 2012

The next City Conversation on the First Thursday of the month:

The Romance and Reality of Urban Food

When: August 2, 2012
Time: 12:30-1:30 pm
Location: Harbour Centre, Room 1600

You sit down to a dinner of locally grown food, incredibly fresh and direct from the farmer, flavors bursting in your mouth. A meal doesn’t get much more satisfying or romantic than this.

And that romance is much of the attraction, but part of the problem. Local food isn’t just about the farmers and the consumers. It’s about land, costs, hard work, and a bunch of people we don’t think about but who are vital if this exuberant return to simpler values is to be sustainable.

If it fails, are we back to processed corn, sugar, and fruit rocks picked green in South America and ripened with ethylene gas? How do we keep your enjoyment in, and the well-meaning mistakes out?

Our presenters are Peter Ladner, former City Councillor and author of The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities; and Tyson Reimer, co-owner of Woodland Commissary, which provides kitchen space for food entrepreneurs.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2012 8:23 am

    Playing devil’s advocate here. Is this statement correct?

    “If it fails, are we back to processed corn, sugar, and fruit rocks picked green in South America and ripened with ethylene gas?”

    To me that sounds like fear mongering. The failure of a subsidized non-profit venture does not mean we will suddenly be putting junk into our bodies, does it?

    We have farmers, and farmland in the nearby Fraser Valley. The high costs of doing business these farmers face aren’t offset by a bunch of well-meaning folks subsidized by Vancity tending the crops.

    I’ll grant you that a garden box with beets in it is more visually appealing than an empty parking lot. But when the owner of that parking lot is getting a six-figure break on his property taxes to grow beets we have to ask ourselves what is the best use of urban land and our tax dollars.

    The argument I’ve heard for programs like Solefood is that they create jobs, bring people together and educate people about food. All worthy goals. But is there a way to achieve all this and more without big government handouts?

    This is the way I see it, but if there is a convincing counter-argument I’m all ears (and not of corn).

    I will be out of town on Aug 2nd, but hope it’s a good event and discussion.

  2. July 26, 2012 7:37 pm

    “But when the owner of that parking lot is getting a six-figure break on his property taxes to grow beets we have to ask ourselves what is the best use of urban land and our tax dollars.”

    Perhaps if someone could verify if such property tax concessions are detailed on the City’s website…. Surely, it must be buried somewhere.

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