Food festival cultivating a culture change
Upskilling takes place May 11-14 across CBRM
In an age when people are rapidly losing touch with the land, the Upskilling Food Festival and Conference is trying to cultivate an interest in farming by showing how it’s possible to produce food locally — all the way from the soil to the dinner table.
The festival itself has grown in this its third year, expanding from one day to four days, beginning with an opening reception and film night on May 11 and culminating with the signature Upskilling workshops on May 14.
“The Upskilling Food Festival is about creating spaces to bring people together to talk and learn about all things food-related,” Alicia Lake of the Island Food Network, one of the organizers, said in a news release.
The opening reception will take place at 6 p.m. at 173 Charlotte St., Sydney (the old Bank of Montreal building), followed by a screening of the documentary “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” at 7 p.m. A film for children will be shown simultaneously, so people are invited to bring the family.
An academic conference takes place May 12 at the Holiday Inn in Sydney from 8 a.m.4:15 p.m. This event includes roundtables, papers and conversations about food. Panel themes include tourism and culture; food and civic engagement; health; agriculture; and data. People can join presenters and attendees for an evening ceilidh at 5 p.m. in downtown Sydney.
There will be a fun-filled day of food tours from 9:20 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 13, including a tour of the Cape Breton Farmers Market on Keltic Drive and a food security game at Breton Brewing Co., followed by visits to two local farms. While children are not permitted in the brewery, there will be children’s activities at the market.
The heart of the festival is the daylong workshops from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 14 at Cape Breton University. People can build food skills in six areas — cooking, growing, preserving, discussion, advanced skills and culture.
People can register for event days separately and purchase tickets by searching Upskilling at eventbrite.ca. Conference details and future events can be found at islandfoodnetwork.ca or the Upskilling Food Festival Facebook group.
This year’s expansion of the UpSkilling Food Festival is the result of a partnership between the Island Food Network and CBU.
The Upskilling Food Festival and Conference will take place May 11-14.