Earth Day celebrates food this year in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Haney Farmers Market.
On Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the family-fun event will take place in Memorial Peace Park with exhibits, activities and performances, all centered around the theme “Food for Thought.”
Candace Gordon, with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Kitchens, will be coordinating the making of a Stone Soup.
The idea was fashioned after a folk story in which hungry travelers arrive at a village, fill up a cooking pot with water and throw in a stone. When the villagers ask what they are cooking, they reply stone soup, but that it needs a bit of garnish to make it taste great. So, each villager pitches in with whatever vegetable they can offer until finally a soup is made and shared amongst the group.
So, Earth Day visitors are being asked to bring a vegetable to add to a soup between 9 and 11 a.m., at the bandstand. The free soup will be dished out at noon, so bring a reusable mug.
Another new event this year will be an Iron Chef Tasting Challenge, to raise money for the Friends In Need Food Bank.
In a fenced off area at the southwest corner of Memorial Peace Park, nine local chefs will have their chilies ready for sampling.
Unlike a true Iron Chef competition, in which food is made on site, the chilies will be made ahead of time.
“The idea of having an Iron Chefs competition was so exciting, we kind of had to let go of it in its truest form,” explained the event’s organizer Rebecca Awram, citing the unpredictability of weather in April.
However, Awram says, with a variety of different chefs, the chilies are bound to be really interesting.
Admission to the chili cook-off will be a minimum of $2 per person, with all proceeds going to the food bank, but Awram is hoping people will dig deeper.
A judging panel of five will each pick their top three favourites, in the hopes there will be a clear winner.
All the other categories will be voted on by the attendees, who will be handed voter cards upon entry.
Categories include best overall chili, most unique, most comforting and most eco or sustainable. Chilies entered in the last category will list their ingredients along with what is noteworthy about them, if it is organic, local, sustainable, fair trade or free range.
During the opening ceremonies, 11 a.m., the First Haney Beavers will be do a veggie dance, choreographed by the Dance Circle.
Also, a food mandala will be created by the Maple Ridge Environmental School, with artist in residence Kat Wahamaa.
The second Earth Day poetry book, an interactive food song sing-a-long with Julie Cutting, who often performs at the Haney Farmers Market and a drum circle using found sounds from the kitchen, will be part of the event.
This year, Meadows Maze will have an interactive display for children to learn where their food comes from. Children will collect food from different stations and sort them for the market, where they will get a Freecycle buck that they take to the Freecycle event at the Greg Moore Youth centre in exchange for a treat.
Donations of gently used clothing, toys and books are being requested for the Earth Day Freecycle. They can be dropped off in front of the ACT along 224th Street from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday April 25 or in the blue box at your school.
On Earth Day, these items will be given away for free.
Jackie Chow with HUB will be promoting local cycling excursions.
Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation cookbooks that will also be on sale, with all proceeds going back to the foundation.
• For more information go to rmrecycling.org.