In the Blog
No Cameras Allowed - the Bananas are Shy.
The food system is a juicy topic lately. We’re starting to understand just how ecologically complex our food system has become, but there are political and social issues at play as well. If you’ve ever tried to untangle the mystery behind how our food is sourced, you’ve probably asked yourself questions like, Why is local food sometimes more expensive than imported food? How hard is it for Ontario farmers to get their goods to local stores? Why are farmers markets often full of resellers instead of farmers?
Just one of the keys to understanding the complexity of the food system is locked inside the Ontario Food Terminal - the immense physical space where food first touches down before being shipped off to Ontario stores, restaurants and ultimately within the digestive tracts of the lovely folks within this fair province.
A rare opportunity to take a tour of the Ontario Food Terminal happens this Thursday, as part of Alphabet City’s Food Festival. Each year Alphabet City explores a different concept through a publication and an “arts and ideas” festival. Last year they studied Trash, this year Food, and in the next few years they will work on Fuel, Water and Air.
This tour is a big deal because unauthorized folk are not normally allowed in the terminal. It is the “largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada and ranks in the top five by volume wholesale fruit and produce distribution centres in North America.” You’ll see big chain stores bartering for cases of cucumbers, chefs looking for exotic passion fruit, and smaller shops taking what lettuce they can get.
I can’t make it into town myself, but if you happen to go, let me know what you learned.
Thursday 4 October
Ontario Food Terminal tour 7:30 am (Time to be confirmed; check alphabet-city.org for final details.)
Drop-off and pick-up outside the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. W.)
Admission is free to those with a copy of Alphabet City’s FOOD book Travel to the OFT by chartered bus and get an insider’s tour of the facilities with Alphabet City authors Pierre Belanger and Angela Iarocci. Only 30 spaces available. First come, first serve, so please be early. Bus leaves at 7:30 sharp. No cameras allowed.