SoupStock – the World’s Largest Culinary Protest!

protests, soupstock protest, culinary protest, canadian foodWe 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    The application for the mega-quarry was withdrawn on November 21st.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. 

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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.

Canadian food, soupstock protest, culinary protest

Andrea Damon Gibson of Fred’s BreaDamon-Gibson of Fred’s Breads; the team from Charcut in Calgary and a whack of George Brown College students from The Chefs House who created an amazing hot and sour lobster soup (bottom left).

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.
George Brown College, soupstock toronto
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.

 

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