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51Accessing the limestone, however, is not a small endeavour, andwill require an open pit mine of approximately 2400 acres thatwill make it Canada's largest quarry (roughly a third of the size ofdowntown Toronto). Because its depth is well below the watertable, it will require the extraction of 600-million litres of waterper day, every day, forever, affecting the watersheds of fivesouthern Ontario river systems. It will also destroy Class 1farmland that produces about half of the potatoes sold in the GTA.Ultimately, left to proceed as planned, the quarry will devastatethe region's farmland and water system forever.Stadtländer and the Canadian Chef's Congress are leading thefight to put an end to this proposal that values constructionmaterial over food and water, but it's not a cheap proposition. TheHighland Companies is well-funded to fend off any lengthy legalbattle, so the strategy is to put the matter to the court of publicopinion, raise awareness in the streets, and pressure thepoliticians. Drawing inspiration from the Woodstock musicfestival, the Congress held Foodstock this past October 16. It wasa day to remember, with 100 chefs from across Canada travellingto the region to cook with local ingredients for close to 30,000supporters. "This will be the culinary equivalent of the original'60s celebration," said Stadtländer, leading up to the event."Each chef is pouring their talent into one dish, and if you lovefood, farmland and water, you will not be disappointed."Also served up was a healthy portion of entertainment, as the chefswere joined by a number of musicians including Blue Rodeo's JimCuddy, Sarah Harmer, members of the Bare Naked Ladies, and RonSexmith. "Happy to lend a hand to people who are trying topreserve the sanctity of water and arable land," offered Cuddy. "Ifa little music can help open some people's eyes to the risks we arefacing up here, then I consider myself lucky to be able to help."Cuddy's sentiments captured the tenor of the day, with everyonepleased to be a part of the experience and to stand in solidaritywith the farmers. Though I'm too young to have attended theoriginal Woodstock, I've seen the movie enough to confirm thatthere were sufficient similarities to warrant the use of "stock" inthe title. For starters, the rains from the week (and later in the day"Happy to lend a hand to people who aretrying to preserve the sanctity of water and arable land." - Jim Cuddy

52For more information on the proposed mega quarryor to find out how you can support the CanadianChef's Congress, visit canadianchefscongress.comof the event) muddied the farm and forest. There was no avoidingit, so attendees embraced it, helping to spread bales of hay overthe trails, and trudging through it with an adventurous spirit andgraceful humour. Secondly, there were many more guests thanorganizers expected with traffic jams extending miles from thegate, and earnest supporters simply parking on the shoulder andhiking in. In the end, close to 30,000 people arrived, surpassingexpectations by 30 percent. Thirdly, the chefs put on a show toremember, which will surely have lasting reverberations throughouttheir industry. And, finally, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's famedretelling of the "Star-Spangled Banner," there were many creativereinterpretations of old staples; the most memorable beingParkdale's Parts & Labour's take on the submarine sandwich,which included liverwurst, braised oxtail and grilled beef heart! Forthe record, I wimped out on sampling that dish. But this was really a day for the chefs. Toronto has a culture thatcelebrates its chefs, and at Foodstock they used that celebrityto promote positive change. Their message: Stand up for ourfarmland. It is a precious resource, it cannot be replaced and, iflost, it will forever change the way we as a community are ableto feed our families.I sought out some of our past editorialists at Foodstock, and I'dlike to give them the last word:Michael Stadtländer, Eigensinn Farm, HaisaiI think the quarry will affect the whole tourist industry of theregion, including Blue Mountain. Secondly, the quarry will ensurethe dying off of all the farmers in the area, and, with that, theproduce. And there's a very big worry about the quality of thewater, which will have additional impacts on the spawninggrounds of fish, Georgian Bay, and so on. We may not have anymore whitefish or lake trout. But, it's wonderful to see such unitedsupport here today.Brad Long, Belong Café, VeritasWe're talking about choosing between two very importantcommodities. One is aggregate, the other is food. Aggregate, in allfairness, is a pretty short-term need. Food wins, and this is primefarmland. It's crazy to take that away. You can dig for rocks in alot of places, but you can't grow food in the same places. This ispriority number one. It's about today's meal, tomorrow's meal andthe meal 50 years from now. Jamie Kennedy, Jamie Kennedy Kitchens, Gilead CafeThere's an amazing buzz around this event in Toronto and withinthe chef's community. Everyone was checking with one another --"Are you going? Are you going?" --so this community here that'sbeing affected by this proposed quarry has amazing support fromthe City, and hopefully that will give them the political powerthat's required to move the resistance further on. Anthony Walsh, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, CanoeWe need to be as responsible as we can in supporting our farmersand making sure that we have a food cycle that is realistic. Wehave to attack these things as a business with the farmers, and ifwe don't do this sort of thing, we are screwed. Your kids, my kids,and on and on. We have some of the best growers and growingconditions in the world, and we need to take advantage of it. Ifthis leaves us, we're not going to get it back. So to me it's reallyimportant to be a part of this. Keith Froggett, ScaramoucheLook around... this is prime agricultural land. You start to quarryand it's gone forever, removed for any future food production.While there's a need for aggregate, there's a bigger need to feedpeople sustainably and local. I feel very strongly for the peoplewho live here and who have worked this land for a long time.They're now fighting this battle and it will go on for years, andput a great strain on their resources. Anything we can do to helpalleviate that, to help make it a level playing field. that's whyI'm here today.Photos by Jason Von Bruggen