he story is a funny reminder of what we can learn with a good meal. And
that is something United Church of Canada ministers Ted Reeve and Bill
Phipps suggest with their new initiative, Feast for the Common Good.
how difficult it is to talk honestly about climate change, right
relations with indigenous peoples and the growing income inequality, the
idea is to have conversations during a slow, quality meal of locally
sourced food," Phipps explains. "The premise is that people will be more
open and honest during such a convivial time together. The goal is to
deepen conversation and see the connections among these three
realities." St. Paul's United Church in Orillia, Ont. hosted the first
Feast for the Common Good in September. In October, Christ United Church
in Mississauga, Ont. will host a multi-faith Feast organized by the
Halton-Peel Chapter of Greening Sacred Spaces.
Of course, eating
locally sourced food is both new and old. It’s what we did 50 years
ago. What was on most tables in Canada was the food grown in our own
gardens and a nearby farm, forest, ocean or lake. Quite simply, we ate
what grew here. Oranges were even annual toe-of-Christmas-stockings
Today, we remember that eating locally is a good way to
consume food. And we are re-learning what grows naturally in the area we
On recent visits to Toronto and Winnipeg, I discovered
two new restaurants that serve indigenous foods, taking local and
natural to another level. Tea and Bannock
is located on Toronto’s Gerrard Street. It serves wild rice, three
sisters soup (squash, corn and beans), Labrador Tea, blue berry
desserts, fish and other delicacies. Aboriginal art adorns the walls,
art on the walls. What’s more, the friendly staff will answer questions
about the traditional foods they serve and the places from which it was
In Winnipeg, we have dined on traditional foods at Neechi Commons
Art, sometimes political and always interesting, lines one wall. After
the meal, customers can shop for arts and crafts, as well as groceries.
Meanwhile, the Feast Cafe Bistro
a new restaurant partly owned by actor Adam Beach, provides just that,
both for the palate and the eye. Here, you’ll be surrounded by equally
interesting art and served by knowledgeable staff quite willing to share
their culture along with traditional gourmet food.
All of these
restaurants are inspiring examples of eating locally sourced food and
learning more about the cultures of Indigenous peoples. After all, a
meal table is a wonderful place to celebrate, learn and enjoy good
conversation. And, perhaps, it puts another spin on "eating Canadian."