Wild food festival axed from Earth Day due to early spring

NANAIMO – Earth Week celebrations won't include Wild Food Festival this year but people can take part in other activities.

A popular food festival has been chopped from this year’s Earth Week celebrations.

The Nanaimo Area and Land Trust has cancelled the sixth annual Wild Foods Festival, which would have seen chefs serve up tastes of wild food fare on Sunday (April 26).

Since its start six years ago, festival organizers have seen crowds grow from 500 to close to 1,300 in 2014. Chefs and vendors offered people the chance to learn about wild food foraging and sample gourmet cooking. But this year the event has seen fewer chefs take part and wild food will be limited with an early spring set to ripen ingredients before the weekend, prompting its cancellation, according to NALT.

It plans to bring the festival back next year, possibly on a new date.

“We’re very regretful,” said Gail Adrienne, executive director of NALT. “The big thing was shortness of chefs and we know because more and more people come every year we need those sample foods.”

Although the Wild Foods Festival is cancelled, NALT and the City of Nanaimo will offer other ways to mark Earth Week from April 20-26.

Nancy Turner, an internationally renowned ethno-botanist will do a presentation today (April 21) at the Bowen Park activity centre based on her book Earth’s Blanket: Traditional Teachings for Sustainable Living. The event begins at 7p.m. and admission is by donation.

On Sunday, there will be a workshop on local food sustainability and security at Bowen Park from noon to 3:30 p.m. The discussion is on ways to support local food production and supply and next steps for a local food security plan.

A wild foods lunch prepared by Nanaimo Foodshare will be included in the event, which costs $8 for those who register before Thursday (April 23).

It will cost $10 for those who register after the cut-off date or at the door.

To register, please call 250-756-5200 or online at ireg.nanaimo.ca (barcode 141045).