Vanderhoof feasts with local harvest and meat

Over 200 people enjoyed a community dinner made from locally produced ingredients at the Vanderhoof Community Garden on Sept. 14.

From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Among fresh greens and live music, between 200 to 300 people enjoyed a community dinner made from locally grown, harvested, and produced ingredients at the Vanderhoof Community Garden on Sept. 14.

On its third year, the annual Harvest Celebration and Market hosted by the Nechako Valley Food Network (NVFN) is not only about introducing local residents to the community garden, but also to the local food producers, explained Maya Sullivan, one of the event’s organizers.

With ingredients contributed or gathered by 15 local farmers, bakers, and catering groups, this year’s menu featured roasted chicken, lasagna, pulled pork, berry cheesecake, apple crumble, bannock, as well as a variety of salads.

“We’re just trying to showcase the different ways people can incorporate local foods in their diet and how delicious local foods can taste,” Sullivan said. “We also offer some food that’s gathered in the wild, such as Labrador tea and huckleberries.”

At the event, the Nechako Healthy Community Alliance (NHCA), which includes the NVFN as well as the Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative and Nechako Creative Communities Collective, solicited members and collected a lifetime membership fee of $2 for the first time.

The registration will help the society’s efforts to gather funding in the future by showing support from the community, said NHCA’s chair Susan Carberry.

“As a non-profit society, we are required to have paid membership,” Carberry said. “ Our goal is to inspire and support the people of Nechako Valley to choose actions which improve the health of our environment and the well-being of our communities.

“A big part of today is to promote our local economy, particularly for food.”

For Gerry Woode, who attended the harvest celebration every year, one of the greatest thing that happened to Vanderhoof is the community garden.

“It teaches young people how to plant and grow their own produce, don’t need to depend on the stores for food.”