Monday, September 28, 2009

Food Fair

Every summer, London’s downtown Victoria Park becomes a very active place for many different cultural events. This park is used to host events like The County Folk Festival, Sunfest, Gusmaker Basketball, and Ribfest to name just a few. In the early part of this summer Joanne and I went down to check out the second annual International Food Festival.

Jo’ and I like living close to the downtown because we get to attend many events in an environmentally friendly way. We ride our bikes or walk.

From our house we get to enjoy a variety of scenes as we make our way into the heart of the city. We ride past many beautiful old Victorian styled houses with colourful flower gardens before we hit the trails of a community park filled with children playing. We wind our way over a small bridge and watch the Thames River flowing underneath. Passed another open park, we emerge in the downtown core where thousands of people are enjoying the shops and patios of a huge variety of restaurants.

Last year, I wrote a story about how London’s community events are becoming ‘green’. Throughout Victoria Park – during these events – waste stations are set up to separate compostable and recyclable waste from landfill waste. During one event a station was set up to allow people to ‘rent’ plates and cutlery to enjoy their food. Once a meal was enjoyed, the plates and cutlery are returned to be washed and reused.

I was very disappointed to arrive at the park to realize that although the waste stations were set up, the plate rental station was not. I later found out that the rental station is only set up for just one of all the events that take place here. I am hopeful that this idea will build more momentum over the years and one day it will be a ‘norm’ in this city and many others.

Soooo… without the ability to rent plates and cutlery, Jo’ and I knew that our food choices would be limited. We know that it is everyone’s individual responsibility to make choices that place the environment above all other things, so we did not purchase any food that was served on styrofoam plates with plastic forks. We noticed that most – well… pretty much all – people didn’t seem to think about the fact that a ten minute meal would create garbage that would last for another thousand years.

We ate a lot of small hand-held appetizers. These were served on small paper containers or just a simple napkin, which were later put into the recycling waste stations. We laughed when we realized that our choices were allowing us to sample so many different varieties of food, instead of just one single meal. We really enjoyed all the varieties of food choices – representing all the differences that our world has to offer.

We made our way to the central bandstand in the park, where we enjoyed our food and all the people. There was a variety of entertaining performances by many local youth organizations and when the stage was being prepared for the next act, Jo’ and I would watch all the activity taking place in the crowd.

We spent a few hours enjoying our dinner and entertainment during this event – it was a sun-filled summer evening. We decided to take our time going home, so we rode our bikes through a few more parks until we noticed that the sun was getting ready to set. We arrived home as the first stars were beginning to appear, with happy bellies still full of wonderful food.

The world offers each of us so much beauty and bounty to enrich our lives. I think that the time is well overdue for us to start making these simple (yet profound) realizations so that we can act accordingly to ensure that future generations have these same opportunities.


No comments: