Last summer, Valerie approached me with the idea of organizing an Alberta-wide food conference. Given the rising interest in buying local and the burgeoning online food community, she thought it was the perfect time to arrange a more formal opportunity for people to connect with one another, and learn more about the bounty we have in Alberta.
For many reasons, the province-wide aspect was dropped in favour of focusing on what we knew – Edmonton and its surrounding areas. We also downsized our original attendee target, realizing that the quality of the conference would be most important, especially because our hope was for this event to continue on an annual basis.
In the fall, we asked several other members of the local food community to join us in this endeavour – Sherene, a food blogger, Allan, a chef and blogger, and Mack, a social media guru. We also realized that the goals of this conference very much aligned with those of Slow Food Edmonton (of which Valerie, Allan, Mack and I belonged to already), and that it made sense for the event to come under their banner of promoting good, clean and fair food.
As a result, with Valerie’s leadership and through our discussions, Eat Alberta was born.
On April 30, 2011, the inaugural Eat Alberta conference will take place in downtown Edmonton. Through a mix of hands-on and demonstration workshops, tasting sessions, and presentations from some of the leaders of our food community – farmers, chefs and local food advocates – we hope that participants will learn how to use and source local food as well as develop nurturing and ongoing relationships with one another and with those that produce our food.
Here are a sampling of the sessions participants can look forward to:
- Wine pairing workshop with The Tomato’s Mary Bailey
- Hands-on artisan sausage making with chef Allan Suddaby
- Goat cheese making demonstration with Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese
- Honey tasting with Patty Milligan, aka Lola Canola
- Slow-rise pizza dough lesson with Yvan Chartrand of Tree Stone Bakery
- Home coffee brewing tips from Josh Hockin of Transcend Coffee
- Keynote presentations from Jennifer Berkenbosch and James Vriend of Sundog Organics and Kevin Kossowan, who will share learnings from his “From Local Farms” project
Registration for the conference opens March 14, with early bird registration closing on March 31. Conference fees will include a small continental breakfast, lunch, and a glass of wine. Be sure to register early for the best selection of sessions!
I hope to see you there!