Community Common Eating Fall Suppers

Future of Feasting Climate Fall Supper

Last night I attended The Future of Feasting fall supper. This supper is a little different from the one’s I’ve attended so far. The Future of Feasting: A Climate Fall Supper was the brainchild of five local organizations. Wildnerness Committee: Manitoba Office, Green Action Centre, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Manitoba Office, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, and Manitoba’s Climate Action Team. The dinner was held in the Roblin Room of Red River College.

Future of Feasting table setting
The table setting for the Future of Feasting fall supper
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The tickets for The Future of Feasting are staged. Running from $20. per person for those who don’t have the means to pay full-price, all the way up to $100. for those who not only want to enjoy the meal, but can afford to add a little extra to support the organizations hosting The Future of Feasting. This last important, as on the same day as the feast occurred, CBC did a story on how the Green Action Centre had a 50% cut in it’s provincial government funding.

Future of Feasting Discussion Topics

The big difference in this fall supper is that it begins with time spent learning about the various ways in which we can take action in dealing with climate change. This is done by having a series of workshops. There were eight workshops in total, four in the first hour and four in the second.

In the first block I attended the one on connecting producers and consumers. In the second one I attended the one on community gardens. In addition to the workshops, there was a panel presentation between the main course and dessert course. This featured four people in the field of agriculture and food production, discussing the ways in which they are working towards using less fossil fuel in their production.

One thing that stands out about this future of feasting dinner, is that the people presenting all are working from a position of hope. They all believe that there is a future that is worth working towards. This is a future where Manitoba is sustainable at the local level for food production and consumption. People think of talk about climate change as fear-mongering, but that was completely absent last night.


centerpiece for the future of feasting
The table centerpiece for the dinner.

What I appreciated about all the speakers is their emphasis on the complexity of climate change issues. For example, in the first workshop, Justin Girard of Hearts & Roots Farm talked about how local needs to be defined by more than just food miles. Another thing that caught my attention came from the panel discussion.

One of the speakers, I didn’t mark down his name.commented that in 20 years they good restore the necessary nitrogen to the in the soil. However, there is a future beyond that needs to be looked into, because too much nitrogen in the soil is a problem as well.

caesar salad
Caesar salad to start the meal. In case you are unaware of Winnipeg weather, there is one non-local ingredient.

Future of Feasting Feast

After the workshops came the feast itself. The meal was catered by Diversity Food Services. You may wonder why a dinner hosted at Red River College was catered by a catering service from University of Winnipeg. Well, you can click on the link above to get full details, but simply put the evening was about sustainable, local food production, and Diversity Food Services does this better than anyone in North America.

Marinara with Roast Vegetable Future feasting
The pasta marinara with roasted vegetables.

The menu for the meal is vegetarian and the meal is served family style. While the meal is vegetarian, I want to note that the event is not anti-animal farming in it’s approach. Among the workshops and the panelists there was a place for animal farming as part of the solution to climate change.

Future of feasting desserts
This is the plate of desserts that our table shared at The Future of Feasting.

The first course is a Caesar Salad, One good thing about the family style service is that it forces you to introduces yourself and interact with, you fellow diners. This is followed by two pasta dishes. The first is a pasta marinara with roasted vegetables, and the second  is pasta with alfredo sauce(this is definitely a carb-lovers meal). There is also garlic toast. I’ve enjoyed Diversity food in the past, particularly at Elements.

The Future of The Future of Feasting

One thing that this supper showed is that the Future of Feasting doesn’t need to be any less tasty that it is. We can work to reduce our reliance and still enjoy great food. We may need to enjoy less of it, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We may need to enjoy fewer varieties of food. However as was pointed out, there are many of varieties of food found locally that we ignore.

As for the dinner itself, I hope this becomes an annual event. The table is a great place to meet for discussion. Perhaps instead of people talking across each other, the conversations would be better if we talked across the table instead. This applies to those who think climate change isn’t a great concern. It also applies to those who think it is a great concern, but are unwilling to listen to anyone who doesn’t share their views on possible solutions. The future will always look brighter over a well prepared, and well shared meal.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.