On Saturday, January 13, Cape Breton farmers and aspiring farmers will come together to share knowledge, build connections and celebrate their contribution to Cape Breton’s food community.The event is organized by the Island Food Network, a Cape Breton island-wide team of organizations and individuals working towards a vibrant, healthy, just, and sustainable local food system. This participant-driven retreat is the first of its kind in Cape Breton.
The retreat structure is based on an existing farmer to farmer model where the topics of discussion are selected by participants and knowledge is built among farmers rather than delivered by an outside expert. The main goal of the event is to build relationships among food producers through a mix of question and answer, discussion and informal opportunities to socialize.
Coordinator of the IFN steering committee and owner of LocalMotive Farm in Hunter’s Mountain, Jody Nelson says: “[farmers] are always so busy from spring until fall. We cross paths at the market, but never have a chance to connect. This is the perfect time of year for us to chat and exchange knowledge, as we get ready for another season”.
Chef Bryan Picard will cater a farm-friendly meal for retreat participants. The menu at his restaurant, The Bite House, is inspired by the seasons with ingredients sourced from small independent farmers, foraged or grown in gardens. The meal will be a celebration of local food and a special treat for farmers who provide ingredients for his celebrated dishes.
“I am always in awe of the magic Bryan works with my vegetables. We thought it would be special to offer this experience to a broader group of farmers,” says Nelson.
The Cape Breton Farmer to Farmer Retreat is made possible by The Island Food Network, the Ecology Action Centre’s Our Food Project, Cape Breton University and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The retreat will be held Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the Baddeck Forks Hall. The event is currently at capacity. Farmers and aspiring farmers who are interested in participating can be added to the waitlist by emailing email@example.com.