Food Day Canada puts the focus back on farmers

Anyone and everyone who loves Canadian food is encouraged to show appreciation to the food industry every year on the Saturday of the August long weekend during Food Day Canada — this year it’s Saturday, August 1.

Food Day Canada’s first iteration was back in 2003 during the BSE crisis, and was started by Anita Stewart. Back then it was known as The World’s Longest Barbeque, as a means to show support for Canadian ranchers and farmers by buying, cooking, and promoting Canadian beef.

“Fast forward 17 years to 2020, here we are,” says Crystal Mackay of Loft32, out of Guelph, Ont., who recently joined Shaun Haney to chat about Food Day Canada. “Now [the day is] to put Canadian food ingredients, foods, and all the great people who make it happen on the agenda,” says Mackay.

In the past, Mackay has been involved with Food Day Canada through Farm & Food Care as well as the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, but more recently as a volunteer with the event. (story continues below player)

Food Day Canada has always been virtual, says Mackay; it’s not sponsored by anybody, it comes purely out of effort from a grassroots movement from home cooks and chefs, through to farmers and ranchers.

A new part of the event this year will be that major icons across the country will be lit up in red and white. “For example, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Government House, all the way up to a 737 being lit up in the Yukon, with a piece on Yukon food in front of it,” says Mackay. It’s a show of support across the country for the Canadian food industry.

“Chefs have really been heralding this event, I would say, for the last 10 years,” says Mackay. “These chefs were putting together these exquisite menus with all-Canadian ingredients, and farmers — pardon the pun — weren’t at the table,” says Mackay. The last few years Mackay has been working more to get ag partners involved and to get farmers more involved.

People can participate by shopping Canadian, eating Canadian, cooking a meal with Canadian ingredients and using #FoodDayCanada on social media to become a part of the conversation. If you live near one of the national landmarks being lit up, take a photo and use the same hashtag on social media to show support.

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