An EPIC weekend…

Smarter, stylish living…do we all aspire to this?

Western Canada thinks we do, with the largest sustainable lifestyle showcase taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It’s where “Style meets Sustainability”. Now in its 6th year, it is a celebration and immersion of all things ‘green’, for a stylishly sustainable lifestyle. The theme this year was “All Things Food, local. Organic, Healthy”.

So I had to attend given I want to learn as much as possible about sustainability, especially the foods that I consume and those choices I make can make a positive impact on our environment. The timing couldn’t have been better given my new goals to live more ‘green’ as I put it.

It was hard not to walk away with a few hot topics firmly planted in my mind which were:-

  • Buy/Eat local – Coop companies and community gardens supplying Vancouver
  • Grow your own – Whole Foods providing advice on how to grow organically
  • Travel smart – energy-efficient cars, bikes, car-sharing companies.
  • Support Fair Trade products – Fair Trade Vancouver, seeking to increase awareness, availability and sales of Fair Trade products to Metro Vancouver.

Kid’s were also considered as our planet’s future depend on them. There were activities set-up to play with eco-friendly toys and a large garden patch for them learn how to grow food by planting herbs in a raised garden bed as well as taking home some seeds to do at home.

There was even a Eco-Fashion marketplace to check out some of the ‘waste-couture’ as I’ve heard it termed. There were designers selling scarves and accessories made with the thrums or scraps left over in the weaving process, handbags using a multitude of sourced recycled products for example, aeroplane seat belts used in handbags, which I must say was unique and smart …to a specific taste of course! There were some divine linens and baby wear made from bamboo textiles which are extremely eco-friendly and anti-bacterial too I found out!

The local food movement has been gathering momentum over a number of years now globally. For many of the exhibitors at EPIC the hot topic on their lips was reducing the number of kilometres/miles from farm to plate. Farmers who market locally are often relatively small in scale and therefore can make real improvements to their production practices which in turn impact the environment positively. The World Watch Institute reports that the average food item eaten in North America has traveled 2,500-4000 km from farm to table. The ‘eat local’ goal would be to achieve a 160 kilometre /100 mile radius boundary which is large enough to reach beyond a big city but small enough to feel truly local. It’s a big subject which I need to read up more on, however some reading material I am going to take a look at soon are;

> The 100-mile diet by Alisa Smith & J.B MacKinnon                                                              > State of the World – Innovations that nourish the Planet by the World Watch Institute

I spoke with Matthew Stuart, General Manager and Buyer for NOWBC a Cooperative online farmers market which makes it simple to eat local organic food. He sources some of best organic produce around from notable farms just to name a few like:- Glen Valley Organic Farm, Forstbauer Natural Food Farm and Klippers Organic Acres. They carry a variety of organic produce, meats, dairy, flours, grains and much more.

It was well worth going and its given me loads to think about, however for now I will take another small step towards living more green. Do you know what the most exciting thing was for me? Seeing my son’s expression of anticipation and delight as he was given a pea seed to plant and watch grow at home.