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Feast – a celebration of food without financial barriers

The Bikes, Beards and Bandshells Tour concert featuring Juno Award winner Quique Escamilla and friends performing while volunteers pedalled bicycles to power the show.

The Bikes, Beards and Bandshells Tour concert featuring Juno Award winner Quique Escamilla and friends performing while volunteers pedalled bicycles to power the show.

Christine Renaud’s vision of a large-scale celebration of food without financial barriers was unveiled Monday afternoon.

Her “Feast – Free Food Festival” sprouted from the local Food Not Bombs group, also started by Renaud four years ago, which is part of an international movement of collectives that share meals with anybody who arrives, while raising awareness of poverty and related issues.

Her idea of a feast to more widely engage the community was a co-winner at the March Awesome PEC and Slow Food the County idea pitch party. Awesome PEC’s award of $1,000 was matched by Slow Food and with 14 ideas vying for the prize, a promise was made to also support Renaud’s idea along with a plan for a community vertical gardening project.

“I had this concept of being able to envision the world as you would like to see it and then make that happen so people can see it in action,” said Renaud. “That is a world where everybody has equal access to food and community and mutual aid. I think people want that, but some people can’t really imagine it, so when you make something real for them to be at, it kind of gets into your bones, your real memory, that this could actually happen.”

A few hundred people had filtered into Benson Park in Picton at the event’s 3 p.m. start to hear the Bikes, Beards and Bandshells Tour concert featuring Juno Award winner Quique Escamilla and friends performing while volunteers pedalled bicycles to power the show. They are on tour along the lakeshore from Gananoque to Cobourg.

A perfect day in the park was made complete with free food, the sharing of skills in small roundtables, pop-up demonstrations, a cookbook exchange, the Really, Really Free Market and booths sharing information about food programs available in the County, including the Pet Food Bank.

“It’s turned out better than I had hoped,” said Renaud, who noted a collective of groups, friends and family that pulled the event together.

“Everyone should have access to healthy, delicious food. Food is a right, not a privilege,” said Renaud, inviting visitors to fill a grocery bag with food to take home and share with friends and family. “Just imagine a world with complete economic equality to help each other out and grow a community that is resilient.”

Christine Renaud with a few members of the Feast Day's collective - Bethany MacInnes, Erin Johnston, and Sorsha Drover.

Christine Renaud with a few members of the Feast Day’s collective – Bethany MacInnes, Erin Johnston, and Sorsha Drover.

Miriam, Talia and Maya prepare a fruit watermelon pizza at the school lunch ideas booth.

Miriam, Talia and Maya prepare a fruit watermelon pizza at the school lunch ideas booth.

PEC Syria and Slow Food the County shared Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat) and falafels.

PEC Syria and Slow Food the County shared Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat) and falafels.

Visitors were shown how to make tasty fresh vegetable rolls.

Visitors were shown how to make tasty fresh vegetable rolls.

A cookbook exchange was a popular feature at the Really, Really Free Market.

A cookbook exchange was a popular feature at the Really, Really Free Market.

The PEC Pet Food Bank offers assistance for furry friends in need.

The PEC Pet Food Bank offers assistance for furry friends in need.

The cover is unveiled at the free food market area of the Feast Festival.

The cover is unveiled at the free food market area of the Feast Festival.

If you see the Food Not Bombs banner, know you're welcome to join in for a snack or meal free of charge.

If you see the Food Not Bombs banner, know you’re welcome to join in for a snack or meal free of charge.

Filed Under: Arts & CulturecheersFeatured ArticlesWhat's To Eat?

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  1. Emery Niles says:

    This is such an awesome event to have in the County. The Organizers and helpers are to be complimented. It shows what we can do if we want to help others who are less fortunate.

  2. Samantha says:

    I was one of the people who drifted into the park, curious about what was happening. I was very really impressed by the whole affair. It was wonderful to experience the gift economy in action and realize that there are alternatives to our current social arrangements. Congratulations to the organizer and all the participants, and to those who supported the initiative. Well done. Also, the bike powered musicians were excellent – thanks to the peddle-pushers for the amplification.

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