Sustainability a hot topic at Food Talks Vancouver Vol.9

On a crisp Tuesday night a group of food enthusiasts gathered together at Lost + Found Cafe to chat about sustainability in our food system. Key conversations for the evening were: what local means; protecting the farmland; how much to tell customers about sustainability issues; quality and taste of local; and politics at play.

Before the first speaker took the “pedestal”, guests had time to grab a glass of wine, mingle and have a bite to eat. Lost + Found graciously provided an assortment of sandwiches including curried chicken apricot and a BLT (with spinach) on a garlic cheddar onion bun, as well as “energy balls”, a couple of healthy and flavourful salads, and bite-size pieces of their cranberry lemon bar.  Unfortunately, they weren’t crafting caffeinated beverages, despite it being advertised in the event posting. “It’s our way of getting people to come back,” I was told. Since I’m a huge fan of Republica coffee (especially the Perfect Storm Blend), and I was impressed by Lost + Found’s ambrosial, home-baked buns, you could likely say their plan worked on me.

Like every Food Talks, the speakers are allotted a certain amount of time to tell their story. Once all of the speakers are finished, the event opens up to a Q & A.

Here are some notable quotations from the evening:

Chef Andrea Carlson

Chef and Owner Burdock & Co Restaurant and Harvest Community Foods

“In the summer there isn’t a neighbourhood in this city that you can’t find a farmer’s market.”

“Changes like this (access to, and demand for, local food) give chefs the opportunity to operate more sustainably.”


Felix Schellenberg

Owner of Chilcotin Harvest and Pasture to Plate, B.C.’s first vertically-integrated organic grass-fed meat operation

“In the beginning we had hunters, gatherers and fishermen. They took from the land and never had to give anything back. That’s fine. Then came the farmer…the first person who had to give back to the land.”

“We need transparency in the food industry between farmers,  food processors, and ranchers.”

“Eat grain fed ruminants to reduce your omega 6 intake & increase omega 3.”

“Everyone knows that we eat with out palates and our eyes. But, we also eat with our minds. When we know the farmer who sourced the ingredients, or the person who made it, we can be blindfolded and it’ll still taste better…. Because we trust them. And because local tastes better.”

“Can we as farmers, consumers do well with what we have? Yes we can!” (Roosevelt + Obama)

Food Talks Vancouver

(L to R): Felix Schellenberg, Peter Ladner, Susan Davidson, Chef Andrea Carlson, Jenice Yu

Susan Davidson

Glorious Organics Co-op

“Our co-op is very inter-generational…our youngest is two and our eldest is 79. I’m teaching a girl right now who is eight…”

“For every hour that goes into moving seed to plate we have to charge $35-40….I’m not proud to say it but after 30 years of farming I have the seniority to make $12 an hour. But I have something called an ‘anticipato’ meaning that I gain a sense of joy and satisfaction from the work that I am doing – the ‘bonus’ of my paycheque.”

“Fill yourself more with the good stuff and the bad stuff will fall off the edge.”

“People feel entitled to eat…we need to re-inhabit the kitchen and restore the act of eating as a community, with the sense of pleasure from nourishment…”

“In the 30 years that I have been farming, I have never seen such an unstable season.”


Jenice Yu 

Owner of Fresh Ideas Start Here Market Ltd. [F.I.S.H. Market]

“A day in the life of a fish monger…well, we wake up very early…”

“Give Coho and Pink a chance. There are so many pink in the ocean that fishers aren’t catching them because there isn’t the demand.”

“Sometimes it takes a little research to do it right. Buy local. Don’t waste.”

“Being sustainable is not about buying the right fish or eating the right meat, it’s a certain lifestyle.”

“To be sustainable we have to choose what’s available here, rather than what’s popular.”


Peter Ladner

Former City Councillor, Author of The Urban Food Revolution

“Fossil fuels should be used to produce food instead of using it to import food.”

“A ‘local’ sticker increases sales by 40%.”

“Being more conscience of where things that we eat are coming from can encourage people to eat healthier…when kids grow (insert food here), they eat (insert food here)!”

“Land should be used for its highest and best value. No need to fear farmland loss. With wealth we can all buy more food.”

“The awakening interest in local food is opening up new economic opportunities.”

“What we need is a local food hub that is covered and open year-round. In it there will be farmers, processing, etc…. If other cities are doing it, why can’t we?”

Food Talks Vancouver

Tickets for this event were $15 in advance or $21 at the door with a $3 donation from each ticket benefiting Growing Chefs. Stay tuned to for information on the next event.

Check out what happened when Food Talks took over Dockside Restaurant or how the first edition of Food Talks unfolded.


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