Tasty local fundraiser
Food for Thought-082212-MMweb
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
A farm located in northwest London will serve as both a dining room and a classroom next month as the advantages of using locally grown foods will be on full display.
The property, owned by Werner and Janet Reindorf, will be the site of London Training Centres’ third annual Food for Thought fundraiser on Sept. 6. The centre also uses the farm to grow a great deal of the produce used by students in the program.
Food for Thought is put on by Local Food Skills — which is the name of the centre’s program. The event invites people to support the centre’s local food skills program by attending a dinner in the very field where students grow and harvest real food.
The dinner takes place from 5-9 p.m. at 20718 Vanneck Rd., 4.8 kilometres west of Hyde Park Road at Gainsborough and Vanneck roads.
This event supports London Training Centre’s Local Food Skills program that provides skills, training and certifications for people looking for jobs in the food sector. However, the centre’s executive chef wants the event to help educate people on the types of local food that are available.
“Initially, it is about our course. But it is about the local aspects of food. The people who are attending are going to see all this amazing food is made from products in their own backyard,” said Steve James. “Buy Ontario, local, seasonal food. Find out what is available. Don’t buy strawberries from California; buy the ones from here. That is what we are really getting people to think about. It promotes local business, promotes the local farmer.”
James said there are already 100 people registered for the dinner, at $55 per person. However, he adds that even if there were twice that number to ultimately show up, there would be more than enough food.
In addition to the Tapas menu (a variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine prepared by the students), the event will include award winning local craft beers, Ontario wines, the skills of guest chefs and food artisans and even a live band.
Putting together an event that not only raises money, but also is fun, engaging and raises public awareness might not sound like an easy thing to bring together. And James would agree with that idea.
“It isn’t necessarily an easy thing because there are so many components to put together. You are trying to bring the best out of the season for everyone to see,” James said. “We have people coming from around the area to take part. The coordination of all those elements together is a challenge.”
Although this is the third year of the event, it will be the second time the Reindorf farm has hosted the fundraiser.
And while the dinner will take place under a large tent, the farm and nearby fields are quite familiar to James and everyone at centre.
“With the land we have, well we’ve doubled that this year. We have put things down like an irrigation system for our tomatoes. We had to invest in a water tank,” James said. “And all of this we have to generate the revenue ourselves because we aren’t funded by the government for this part of the program. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities fund the employment services side. But this side, we have to raise the money, which is one reason why the fundraiser is so important.”
While Food for Thought pushes the importance of locally grown goods, it also makes sure people understand the impact the program has on the lives of the students taking the three-week course.
“Anyone who is out there coming to this event can see what happens when the students come in with no knife skills, no idea of what they are doing, and then the end result in three weeks. And what they do with fresh, local food,” James said. “We do a dinner every three weeks. You can see at the beginning they have that deer in the headlights look, but by the end the night of the dinner they are walking around like they have been in the business for 20 years. It is about building confidence. For a lot of people, it is a whole new world.”
London Training Centre’s food initiatives include: local food skills program, local food skills feasts catering, food skills training and certifications, London’s food charter, ecological farming, sustainable food systems research and food safety.
To register for Food for Thought or to find out more about London Training Centre, visit www.londontraining.on.ca or phone 519-685-4331.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News