We all lost an hour of sleep last weekend. Semi-traumatic as that was, it means that spring really is coming. The Community Gardens may be covered with snow yet, but many of us have started our seeds. My neighbour the Tomato Guru has his dining room table covered in milk containers that have been recycled into seedling planters for tomatoes. They’re all labeled: Early Girl, Best Boy, Tumblers… in a month, the little seedlings will be out in his greenhouse, reaching for the sun.
The other thing that we are reminded of when we turn our clocks forward is the JLFS’s annual Locavore Days. This year is extra special because we’ve teamed up with the Jasper Municipal Library, which celebrates Nutrition Month every March. Kudos to Paula Klassen, one of the founding inspirers of the JLFS, for the stellar Locavore Days organization, and to Janeen Keelan, JLFS member and librarian, for the Library’s cool events, and for the great poster!
The events begin on Thursday, March 15th, with a public panel discussion on the challenges –and successes– for having local foods on menus in a national park. Jasper’s restauranteurs have some real challenges: as an international destination, cuisine expectations are high. That means a range of foods not from anywhere near Jasper. At the same time, local, or at least regional cuisine is esteemed. But we are in the middle of a wildlife preserve where the people footprint is constrained and nothing can be harvested. With our closest food producers are at least 100km from the park gates, the 100-mile diet just doesn’t work here! Yet we are having some successes. So for our Locavore kick-off event, some of Jasper’s star chefs, our local brewer, and a bee-keeper will gather at our local brew pub, to share their challenges, successes and dreams for a local food system for Jasper. Ingenuity consultant and LEAF auditor Melissa Scaman will act as discussant for the panel, and Jasper’s Environmental Stewardship Coordinator Janet Cooper will describe the commercial composting program (fueled by food waste).
It will be an evening of thinking about how food service businesses can be more environmentally responsible and improve the local food system. It’s also a time for celebrating the successes we are having.
And we’ll probably have a pint (or two) of the locally brewed beer.