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Summer Solstice

Summer is here.  At least that’s what the calendar says.  Sure doesn’t feel like it!  I can’t believe how cool it has been so far.  Not that I’m complaining.  I am enjoying the cooler weather because there’s so much more than I can do.  I can work in my garden in the afternoon, or go train or exercise my dogs.  I can exercise myself for that matter!  Something I wilt at the thought of once it gets into the high 20Cs.  So I am not complaining, nor is my garden.  I must get the photos up that I have taken.  I have a whole sequence now, and will try and get them downloaded in the next couple of days.

To celebrate the summer solstice, I went to a talk in Toronto on Food Politics.  Now before you start berating me for driving all the way to Toronto to celebrate the earth (yes, I know that’s counter productive), I mostly went to the city to meet with my supervisor and work on my dissertation (and I took public transportation!).  I have only seen her once in the last year as she’s been on sabbatical and living in Europe.  But we arranged the meeting around an event I wanted to attend so I could do both in one trip.

The talk I attended was titled “A solstice conversation with Gustavo Esteva: GROWING GLOBAL HUNGER – Digging for the roots of the food crisis.”  It was fascinating, and left my brain whirling.  It is the first talk I’ve attended in a while that really shook up my thinking and understanding around politics and food.  I will write more on this shortly.  Right now I’m still digesting so will just describe the event itself.

First, it was held on the roof top of the Carrot Common on the Danforth.  An interesting place.  I wish I had arrived earlier so that I could poke around.  Instead a friend and I went to a nearby Greek restaurant and ordered dinner.  What a mistake!  We assumed that any of the little restaurants would be decent, but the food was really quite awful.  I was starving and forced much of it down.  Too bad, because the event provided really great, fresh, predominantly local or at least fair trade food by Chocosol and the Guerrilla Gourmet.

Standing on the rooftop of the Commons under sunny skies, we pulled petals off flowers to make edible flower salads: Calendula, roses, sage, honeysuckle, bachelor buttons and others.  Who knew you could eat so many flowers?  And they certainly made the salad look gorgeous.  I have most of these growing around my house and will be sure to do the same.  Dressing was a simple mix of sunflower oil and apple cider.  Yum.  We also were treated to endless samples of chocolate made from raw cacao, including chocolate drink and chocolate dip (for fresh bread).  This chocolate is not sweetened and goes very well with dinner.  Not that there’s a bad time to eat chocolate.

We then took our seats – or spots, as the event was standing room only – and listened to Esteva give his talk, followed by the other two guest speakers.  Then there were questions and answers.  And then there was music, more food, and socializing.  What a delightful way to spend the Summer Solstice.

What really impressed me is that all of this was absolutely FREE.  Many of the events around raising awareness around food that I have attended have been free.  I think this is extremely important, as all demographics have a right to healthy, fresh food, and learning about how to get it should not be limited to only those who can afford it.  If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that this is a pet peeve of mine.  More than that in fact.  I get very frustrated when I see events, like those put on by Slow Food, that cost an arm and a leg to attend.  I think that is just plain wrong, and completely unnecessary.  Ironically, the best events I have attended to date have all been free, or nearly free.  

So now that it is officially summer, I thought it was time to once again spruce up my blog.  One of these days I’ll figure out how to put in a custom header and load up my own photos, but for now I am happy to use the many options provided by this site.  This image reminded me of the sky on the Commons rooftop last Friday evening – clear and blue with big puffy clouds that floated off to the horizon, making you believe that anything is possible.

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