May 20, 2008
ACROSS CANADA ON THREE WHEELS
Two Ontario tricyclists make their way across Canada hoping to raise awareness of where our food comes from.
As the new saying goes; if you can't join 'em, follow them on-line!
At 3pm on May 7, 2008, Darrick Hahn and Sinisa Grgic departed Victoria from the 0-Mile mark of the Trans-Canada Highway and embarked on a cross-Canada journey to raise awareness of the conceiver of this very column – the nationally-syndicated radio program Deconstructing Dinner.
Their travels are being documented through a blog on the Internet, and as you'll notice by their many photos, the pair is travelling by uniquely designed recumbent tricycles (or trikes).
Launched in January 2006 at Kootenay Co-op Radio CJLY in Nelson, BC, Deconstructing Dinner has since found its way onto the weekly schedules of 27 Canadian radio stations and many more around the world.
The reason for such interest is not surprising. "In the past few months the subject of food has become a growing concern for Canadians, and the trip across the country comes at an opportune time," says cyclist Hahn.
Darrick Hahn and Sinisa Grgic are old high-school friends based in Southwestern Ontario who have long planned to cycle across Canada. In the summer of 2007, Hahn stumbled across the show. "After listening to Deconstructing Dinner more and more, I felt compelled to spread the word about the show," says Hahn. "So as we cross the country, we will encourage everyone to listen to the show and learn more about the state of our food system."
Hahn and Grgic believe that many of our current health problems are directly, or indirectly a result of an unsustainable food system that has become too founded upon big profits. The trip will be focused on raising awareness and not money. "You keep your money, and with more awareness, you can choose what to do with it," says Grgic. "We hope you use it to buy healthier food from local farms in your community, or support Deconstructing Dinner, a voice that is not yet well-represented in the mainstream media today."
En route, the two cyclists will stop in at farms and markets and explore Canada's food and farming culture. "We hope to eat as locally as possible along the way, and wild plants are not off-limits," says Hahn.
The first agricultural area along the way was the Fraser Valley of BC. Surrounding the community of Agassiz is a relatively large number of hazelnut farms. Among them is Canadian Hazelnuts, and it was this certified organic farm that marked the first local food stop on the adventure. The pair loaded up on hazelnuts and continued into the mountains.
Once in the fertile Similkameen Valley, Hahn and Grgic experienced what has now amounted to one of the highlights thus far; a feast prepared by some generous hosts in the community of Hedley. The meal incorporated almost all locally-grown and hunted ingredients.
Their hosts are fans of the show, and were eager to support the efforts of the two cyclists. On the menu was wild rice harvested in Ontario, bannock (native fry-bread), local quail and duck, freshly-picked asparagus, backyard-grown Jerusalem artichokes harvested last fall, Saskatoon berry pie, and a selection of locally produced wines from the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys. Hungry yet?
After another grueling mountain pass, the cyclists descended into yet another agriculturally-diverse region surrounding the town of Grand Forks. Located there is Jerseyland Organics - an organic dairy producing a range of cheeses, yogurts, butter and sour cream products. The farm proved to be a comfortable place to set up a tent for the night and feast on cheese!
Hahn and Grgic have now since passed through the home of Deconstructing Dinner (Nelson), and departed on May 17 from the centre of Nelson's Saturday market after filling up on locally-grown and baked goods.
As they continue across the country, the pair will be distributing flyers and CDs and communicating with local media. To date, the pair has fielded over seven interviews with media.
Since word first got around about the trike tour, listeners have been coming forward with ideas and suggestions as to where Hahn and Grgic should visit along the way and where to get the best local food. A listener north of Calgary has already offered up some of his heritage varieties of tomatoes, radishes and other veggies already available to eat (thanks to his season-extending greenhouse)!
Hahn and Grgic will be periodically updating a blog with photos and a journal at www.fresh-entertainment.ca, and weekly updates through phone interviews will be airing on Deconstructing Dinner each week.
Deconstructing Dinner is heard on radio stations across Canada and is available as a Podcast. More info on the tour can be found at (www.cjly.net/deconstructingdinner/acrosscanadaonthreewheels.htm).
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