Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach them to fish and you feed them for a lifetime
Teaching skills, building confidence, and helping to grow a more sustainable food system.
These were some hopes we had for Sydney’s first Upskilling Food Festival.
On May 3rd, around 100 people gathered to take part in a full, with 15 workshops to choose from, designed to excite and inspire people to learn a new food skills. People had the chance to learn about everything from fermenting foods, to backyard garden planning and keeping hens, to traditional Mi’kmaq medicines.
This was the second Upskilling that the Ecology Action Centre’s Our Food project helped organize, the first being in halifax. This time, Our Food Project partnered with New Dawn, Cooperative Study Club and the Cape Breton Food Hub to put on this food gathering together.
Planning began in the Fall, and started with the idea that we wanted to host an event that would encourage and support people in becoming more knowledgeable about food. We wanted it to involve lots of hands-on skills and practical knowledge.
We hoped that people would be as excited as we were about the whole thing. And turns out, you were. The event sold out in 2 days! And we were left scrambling how we could squeeze a few more people in. Not a bad problem to have, really.
There’s definitely a growing demand to become more engaged in growing and preparing our food and to reclaim a lot of the everyday skills that were common place a few generations back.
“It’s been a really neat experience!” one presenter told me. “Who knew, my gardening skills would bring me such celebrity!”And it’s true. More and more, those in our community who hold knowledge in growing and preparing food are being asked to share what they know.
This Upskilling festival flowed from morning workshops into a tasty lunch, conversation and live music and then into more hands-on learning in the afternoon. People seemed keen. Candid. And excited to be there.
Thanks to Corey Katz contributing to the photos in this post