We came, we ate, we listened! And in the words of Dora the Explorer — WE DID IT!!!! The application for the mega-quarry was withdrawn on November 21st. While the public process and hearings around whether ‘aggregate’ trumps ‘agriculture’ in Ontario continue, the current battle was won.
This was the commentary we posted after the last event in Toronto in mid-October. It might serve as a refresher as to why the protest was so strong and why so many great food professionals and media were involved.
The estimate of attendance at the close of SoupStock was 40,000. With Michael and Nobuyo Stadtlander leading the charge, the same feisty couple who spearheaded FoodStock the previous year, crowds converged on Woodbine Park from all over Ontario and particularly from the regions that will be profoundly affected by the MegaQuarry. But it was more than a protest, it was a celebration of the local ingredients and the extraordinary local talent of our Canadian chefs community. It was a joy-filled but deadly serious call to action.
And as it turned out more than 200 chefs heeded that call. There were veterans like Jamie Kennedy and super-baker Andrea Damon Gibson; the George Brown Chefs House team who made a fabulous hot and sour lobster soup; well-‐known culinary champions like Lynn Crawford, Jamie Kennedy, Brad Long and Donna Dooher came hauling soup tureens. Up-‐and-‐coming chefs like Jon Pong of Hoof Raw Bar, Craig Harding of Campagnolo, and from ”away”, Calgary’s John Jackson and Connie DeSousa of Charcut, who showcased their talents on their way to cooking at the James Beard House in NYC.
The stage overflowed with music, all introduced by CBC’s inimitable Strombo. Twitter followers should check out @choirchoirchoir
Congratulations to all of them and to the people of Toronto who understand that water and land are two of the most precious ingredients of a healthy future.
Co-‐hosting the event with the David Suzuki Foundation, Stadtlander described it before the gates opened. “Soupstock is the culinary celebration of the year; delicious, huge and truly inspiring.” And he was right.
Chefs volunteered to concoct original soup creations for Soupstock that celebrated the Melancthon region’s rich agricultural, cultural and natural history. In addition to culinary star power, local Ontario producers donated literally tons of the produce used by the chefs in the soups. From beets and bones to potatoes and dairy, these producers shared their bounty and created an event of national proportions.
The Goal :
To stop the Highland Companies’ proposed limestone Mega-‐Quarry in the Township of Melancthon just 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto. The Mega-Quarry would permanently destroy more than 2,300 acres (930 hectares) of the best potato farmland in Ontario. The company is backed by a $25-‐billion Boston hedge fund and has proposed to blast a pit deeper than Niagara Falls in a landscape of great agricultural, cultural and ecological importance. the Mega-Quarry would require 600-‐million litres of water to be pumped out of the pit each day in perpetuity. Up to one million Ontarians downstream rely on this water. It will interrupt or destroy five (5) river systems. The Mega Quarry is this generation’s Carmanah. It represents destruction on a magnitude that few of us can imagine.