Feast at the UBC Farm with the annual Joy of Feeding fundraiser
Eat glorious food you’ve never heard of before. Toss in sunshine, mariachi music and good people. And don’t forget the good karma from helping the environment.
Combine these ingredients and you get the UBC Farm Joy of Feeding fundraiser, happening this Sunday, June 30. Now in it’s third year, the Farm is an idyllic setting for the outdoor food celebration. Sixteen local chefs, all of different ethnicities, will cook up their signature family recipes amidst the sounds of local musicians such as James Hussain and Ndidi Cascade. Participants will sample all 16 different cuisines, from countries as diverse as Azerbaijan, Colombia and Fiji. In previous years, the event received so much acclaim that organizer and restauranteur Meera Dhalwala, of Vij’s restaurant fame, is planning a sister event in Seattle.
Participants will also get to go home with a booklet of the family recipes they’ve tasted, along with the stories of the chefs who cooked them. The funds raised will support the UBC Farm.
For Dhalwala, food has always been more than just physical nourishment. “Really, what is community all about? We eat, we love, and we try to smile,” said Dhalwala. “And we should try to get to know each other.”
The Joy of Feeding provides an opportunity to do all of that, and help bridge cultures to boot. For instance, Canadian-Egyptian chef Azza Sedky gave participants last year a taste of the revolution at Tahrir Square. Enthusiasm radiated from her as she described preparing koshary, a street food favourite of the demonstrators who were buckled down in the Square halfway around the world.
“It’s pretty special,” agreed Amy Frye, the Director of the Centre of Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm. She is enthusiastic about the fundraiser for the quality of the food, but also for the cause it promotes.
“Concern for the local food systems only comes when we learn to cook with [the idea that] cooking doesn’t have to mean hours and hours in the kitchen,” Frye said as she spoke about fitting cooking into the busy student schedule.
“It doesn’t have to be intimidating. All [cooking] requires is a little bit of forethought and curiosity”.
The organisers also hope that the event will get participants thinking more about where their food comes from. “On first glance it does seem like food is readily available,” Frye said, noting that we miss “the precariousness of the industrialised food system.”
Although the Farm provides an education for the faculty of Land and Food Systems, Frye mentioned that its mandate extends beyond agriculture; for example, last year an engineering class designed and built an egg washer for the organic eggs produced at the farm, and an Italian class held conversation on the fields. The Joy of Feeding is another way for the Farm to provide real-world experiences that are relevant to both students and the local community, while leading to a sustainable future.
“The health of the environment and of humans [is] interconnected,” said Frye, “and we need to address its big issues.”
The Joy of Feeding takes place this Sunday at the UBC Farm from 1pm to 4pm. Tickets are $50 and available online at the joyoffeeding.com. The Farm also holds farmers’ markets every Saturday morning at the Farm and on Wednesdays from 11.30am-1pm on East Mall in front of the I.K. Barber Learning Centre.