Nova Scotia Meal
Eat local: That’s the message Tracy Tate, 17, wants to spread by organizing and hosting an event called Nova Scotia Meal this October. “There’s just not enough awareness about eating locally,” says Tate from her family’s third generation dairy farm in Antigonish County. By putting on a large community supper made entirely from Nova Scotian ingredients, Tate hopes to encourage people to start actively thinking about the food purchasing choices they make.
Tate has grown up hearing about the struggles farmers have with selling their products locally. “We are competing against farmers in other countries who can take advantage of cheaper labour, less rigorous inspection processes and growth hormones,” says Tate. Most of the food produced in the province gets shipped elsewhere because it’s difficult for local farmers to sell their products to the various supermarkets in Nova Scotia. This is, in part, due to the fact that many Nova Scotians aren’t quite ready to pay a slightly higher premium for local products. The Nova Scotia Meal may start to change this.
With produce from her own garden, as well local fruit, milk and beef, Tate’s caterer will be whipping up culinary delights that are 100% Nova Scotian for the over 200 expected guests. And the rows upon rows of potatoes, beans, turnips, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions that Tate planted a month ago indicate her confidence in a full house. “There’s always the Farmers’ Market in Antigonish if I don’t have quite enough,” says Tate with a smile.
As the event draws ever closer, Tate has been busily organizing some of the other details of the meal. With the community centre in St. Andrews to book, insurance to get, and a liquor license to apply for, Tate was in need of a loan, so she applied for the Student in Business loan program, which she heard about at a weekend 4H conference several months ago. The funding will go a long way towards helping with cash flow in the lead up to the event. “As soon as the Nova Scotia Meal takes place, I’ll be paying back the loan in full,” explains Tate. Not satisfied with just breaking even, she is pretty sure she’ll even make money on the event, which will go towards her tuition for the Agricultural Business Program at the Agricultural College in Truro in a year’s time.
What started as a simple school project on eating locally has developed into a passion that Tate hopes will become a career path.
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