Food revolution at Maple Ridge farmers’ market

Effort to get people back in the kitchen and eating healthy.

Vicki McLeod.

Vicki McLeod.

While spare time is becoming increasingly scarce in today’s hectic lifestyle, taking the extra time to prepare a home-cooked meal over fast-food or take-out can literally save your life.

“Diabetes and heart disease are out of control,” says food blogger Vicki McLeod.

She’s helping to bring celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day to the Haney Farmers’ Market this Saturday, May 19 in an effort to get people back in the kitchen and eating healthy.

“There’s a myth we’ve created that cooking from scratch is hard, but it’s not the case,” she said. “Sharing delicious, well-prepared food with the people we love, there’s just nothing like it.”

Oliver has been leading the fight against childhood obesity in his native U.K. for the past decade, and in recent years has spread his message to the U.S. and Australia with television series aimed at teaching children and parents the importance of healthy eating.

With Food Day Revolution, Oliver said he wants to take his healthy eating movement worldwide.

“Somewhere along the line, our relationship with food broke down,” said Oliver in a prepared statement on Monday. “On May 19, I urge you to stand up for real food and pledge to bring food education back into our schools, workplaces and communities. Host a dinner party or sign up for one of the great events happening across the world. Cooking with real ingredients, understanding where food comes from and passing along that knowledge will get us back on track.”

McLeod said the Haney Farmers’ Market was a natural fit for Oliver’s event, which is one of thousands taking place around the world.

“Everything is already there,” she said. “Local fresh produce, artisan bread, jams, jellies. It’s all local and it’s all delicious.

“The market is an education in itself.”

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are uniquely situated in one of the most productive farming areas in the province, and local farms have a plethora of fresh produce to provide, said McLeod.

McLeod’s blog, Dishing in the Kitchen, will be teaming up with the Golden Ears Food Education and Strategy Action Table to host “Try It You’ll Like It” at the Haney Farmers’ Market on Saturday, offering market-goers samples of chives, along with recipes and advice for growing and preparing them. The Gourmet Grannies, meanwhile, will be providing information on the history, use, storage and handling of leeks. Additional volunteers will offer tours of the market to introduce visitors to food producers.

Also taking part in the Food Revolution Day is local restaurant Big Feast Bistro, which will be offering Farm to Fork dinners, May 18 and 19, featuring three courses of local and seasonal food for $55. Ten dollars from each meal will be split between the Jamie Oliver Foundation and the local Environmental School Interactive Hot Lunch Program.

McLeod said she hopes to make Food Revolution Day an annual event at the market.

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