Singhampton,ON—The Canadian Chefs’ Congress concluded on Monday September 22, 2008 with a rousing petition and endorsement of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance’s campaign to Grow the Greenbelt.
Over 400 delegates to the Congress joined host chef Michael Stadtlander in signing a Statement on the Environment calling for comprehensive Greenbelt-style land use protection across Canada, starting with a call to Grow Ontario’s Greenbelt in Grey County, site of the event.
“It is my vision that the gathering of practitioners creating a Canadian culinary identity recognize the role we have in shedding light on political, environmental and social issues pertaining to food and the protection of natural resources,” said Michael Stadtlander, co-host of this year’s Congress and proprietor of Eigensinn Farm, rated the world’s 9th most attractive culinary destination. “We have joined the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and together will be pursuing a boundary expansion to ensure that Grey County’s natural and cultural wealth and all Niagara Escarpment features will be protected in Ontario’s world’s leading Greenbelt for generations to come.”
The Canadian Chefs’ Congress connected over 450 members of the culinary community to our land in solidarity with chefs, farmers, fishers, gardeners, foragers and all artisanal food producers.  This extraordinary event is a biennial gathering of chefs from across Canada that reinforces the passion and integrity of Canadian Food Culture.
 The Congress, with the support of ResTerra Strategies, joined the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance volunteers in seeking support and enthusiasm for the call to embrace Green Gravel, to stop new aggregate quarry operations in the heart of the Greenbelt and for pushing for greater protection of Canada’s dwindling farmland.
The Congress was addressed by David Donnelly, advisor on the Greenbelt Plan, co-founder of the Green Gravel Coalition and counsel to the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.
“Chefs and producers repeatedly told us they recognize the importance of being ambassadors and educators for healthy, sustainable farming and culinary culture,” Donnelly said. “Congress attendees from across Canada identified with the Grow the Greenbelt campaign so readily because just as interest in their effort to promote sustainable local agriculture is exploding, the land and water needed to farm is disappearing.”
Signatories include Jamie Kennedy (Jamie Kennedy’s Wine Bar), Craig Flinn (Executive Chef Chives Canadian Bistro, Halifax, host on Food Network, author), Robert Clark (Executive Chef of C Restaurant, Nu Restaurant & Lounge, and Raincity Grill,Vancouver) and Jim Loat (Borealis Grille, Guelph).
Attendees were treated to numerous workshops, many of which extolled the virtues of sustainable farming and local produce and the critical role that chefs play, including:
Jonathan Forbes “Wild Foods”, Robert Clark “Aquaculture in Canada”, Andrew Laliberté “Future of Canadian Wine”, Jeffery Smith “Genetically Modified Organisms”, Brent Petkau, Patrick McMurray, Andre Mallet “The Oyster”, David Cohlmeyer “Why is Canadian food so cheap?”, Petra Cooper “Artisan Cheese production”, Jamie Kennedy and Paul DeCampo “Slow Food”, Michael Stadtländer  “The importance of local food and the relevance of the Canadian Chefs’ Congress”. 

–       30 –
For more information contact:
 Mike Layton, Environmental Defence, (416)323-9521 ext. 257; (416) 525-5758
Adriana Dossena, ResTerra Strategies, (416)731-9855 for interviews with Michael Stadtlander and Chef Congress attendees