Maple Ridge Earth Day event focused on food

Haney Farmers Market marks a decade in downtown's Memorial Peace Park

Keira Goss

Keira Goss

When you hold an event in April, you can expect the showers that precede the May flowers.

Earth Day was like that as the attendance at the event waxed and waned on Saturday according to the weather.

“The Iron Chef competition was a great success,” said organizer Leanne Koehn, with the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society.

Seven restaurants showed up at Memorial Peace Park to compete in the Iron Chef chili-tasting competition that was part of Earth Day this year.

GM Restaurant claimed the spot as best overall and most unique chili, while Big Feast Bistro and Catering placed second overall, followed by The Well in Chances Maple Ridge gaming centre.

“They [GM Restaurant] had a fantastic tofu chili. Of course, it won the most original, or unique.”

But when it came to a blind taste test as decided by a media panel, Big Feast was tops.

Funds from the cooking competition went to Friends in Need Food Bank.

“The Stone Soup went well. So many people brought so much food for it, it was wonderful,” Koehn said.

Volunteers with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Kitchen, which helps low-income people cook healthy food at low cost, made the soup.

Stone soup is based on folklore in which hungry travellers 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 pitched in with whatever vegetable they can offer until finally a soup is made and shared amongst the group.

Community Kitchen also got restocked with groceries in the process.

The Family Freecycle offered used clothing, toys and books while Cycle Recycle offered recycled bicycles.

Five cultural events were sponsored by the community arts grant.

Earth Day has taken place in Maple Ridge since 1970. Next year’s focus has already been decided.

“Next year, our theme is, ‘water, water, everywhere.” While Maple Ridge has a lot of it, there’s scarcity around the world, Koehn said.

In keeping with year’s focus on food, the Haney Farmer’s Market held its first market of the year, celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Usually, about 3,000 people attend the event, but this year that number could be down slightly, Koehn added.

The next Haney Farmers Market takes place May 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.