ANTIGONISH, N.S. - In conjunction with Ag Day in Canada Feb. 12, the Antigonish Guysborough Federation of Agriculture held a special film presentation and panel discussion event, in the conference room of St. F.X’s Keating Centre.
The film viewed was Before the Plate, which follows 10 ingredients used in a dish, at Toronto restaurant Canoe; “from planting to cooking and everything in between.” The film features the restaurant’s executive chef, John Horne, explaining why it’s important to him, and his customers, to know the history behind the food being served.
A panel discussion involving local farmers, producers and a chef followed the viewing.
“I believe it went very well,” Steven Eadie, from the local federation who acted as emcee for the evening event, said. “A good turnout and the presentation went well.”
Eadie said the event started with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture noting the film was “going around.”
“From there, after we had our local Federation of Agriculture meeting, we decided that we should probably try and hold something,” he said.
“It was short notice but we tried to scramble and put something together and, as a result, that was what we had on that particular night, the viewing of the film and a discussion.”
Because Behind the Plate features southern Ontario as its location, Eadie said it was brought up during the discussion that, perhaps, there weren’t a lot of parallels for smaller-scale Nova Scotia farmers.
“I think it was a good beginning,” Eadie said.
“It really wasn’t situated to what is down here in Nova Scotia but, overall, it did indicate where the food comes from, it put a name to the food and a place to the food, in particular for the chef in that restaurant … so I think it’s a good beginning.
“Our goal, down the road here for our local federation, we would like to try and do something similar, from a local stance. If we could do it, it would be a lot of work, but it would be a better way for smaller-scale Nova Scotia, small Antigonish, to put a face on where food comes from. It would be great.”
Adam Wile, from the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, also talked about the film being somewhat distant because of scale, but still having relevance for local farmers and general public.
“In terms of perspective, I thought it was pretty neat to see what happens in southern Ontario and how it can relate to farming in this area,” he said.
“The scale of the farms was pretty substantial; certainly compared to anything we would have here, locally in Antigonish anyways. But, at the same time, they were all family run farms and, I think, it was just neat to showcase that kind of perspective; a large family farm serving that area isn’t that much different than a family farm here serving the local clientele.”
As for Ag Day, Wile described it as a “national celebration of farming” and a good opportunity for communication between farmers and the public they serve.
“And this was a chance for farmers and the public to get together and have a chat about where food comes from, how it’s made … it was great,” Wile said, guesstimating attendance to be around 50 people.