The advent of summer brings with it not only warm weather, but also a plethora of activities – you should never be wanting of things to do in Edmonton at this time of year! Saturday was a poster child of event overload – perhaps you ran into frantic City Chase participants, checked out either of the fabulous Royal Bison or Handmade Mafia craft shows, or learned more about public transit at the ETS Community Fair. We wanted to do it all, but with a seat at the CHG Top Chef table that night, we aimed to narrow our scope to Old Strathcona.
We should have taken the street car instead of the bus
Four walls couldn’t contain the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market!
Mack and I love a good street festival, so while we were in the neighbourhood, had to check out the East Whyte Block Party.
It definitely had the right elements – food from the ever-popular Fat Franks and Eva Sweet, art work displays, representatives from the community league, and demonstrations of athleticism from yoga practitioners and stunt bikes.
It was just lacking a festive atmosphere – music to help tie it all together would have been a great addition, and perhaps more signage near the farmers’ market to help direct pedestrian traffic that way. That said, for an inaugural event, it can only grow from here. I’m looking forward to see how next year’s party develops!
We made our way back to William McIntyre Park at noon to take part in the official kick-off to the City of Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture Policy Project. It was great to see a small crowd gathered to take in the displays and be a part of the launch.
Mayor Mandel and Councillor Loken emphasized that this policy, which will look at everything from where citizens source their food from, to where it is processed, to how it is disposed of, is a natural fit with the direction of sustainability in The Way We Grow, The Way We Live and The Way We Green (The Way We Grow, for example, highlighted the importance of the pristine farmland in the north east of the city last year, for example).
Councillor Loken addresses the crowd
As with other policies, the City will be gathering public feedback to assist with its development. An online questionnaire is already available, and a forum is being planned for the fall.
Though it will be important that policies such as urban beekeeping and backyard chickens are thoroughly considered, I do hope other hands on ideas for sustainability, though decidedly less controversial, are also highlighted. For example, the Alberta Avenue Community League offered a series of “homesteading” workshops a while back, a great initiative that really should be happening on a larger scale. Opportunities for people to learn how to garden (in a yard or containers) and to preserve what they grow (canning, pickling, etc.) should be more common – and for most, will be a gateway into more involved forms of food production.
I look forward to learning more about the development of this policy, and am optimistic that it will help Edmonton become a leader in this area.