Feast of Fields Vancouver Island Gets Ready for its 15th Year

All images courtesy of Feast of Fields

It’s one of the longest running food festivals on the island and, as Feast of Fields marks its 15th year, attendees can expect the same quality and atmosphere they have enjoyed in previous years, along with some always exciting changes and surprises.


Through an on-going partnership with Farm Folk City Folk, Feast of Fields highlights the connections between farmer, chef, and table while raising awareness and funding for a sustainable and local food system. Guests are invited to join in a 4 hour tasting event where you’ll find local fishers, ranchers, food artisans, vintners, brewers, distillers and other beverage producers.


Melanie Banas, event organizer

Melanie Banas has been the event organizer for the past 5 years, and has been involved since the Feast began back in the ‘90s. – an opportunity that has allowed her to see the evolution of this island food festival. “While quite a bit has remained the same, we realized early on that we needed to make continuous changes to maintain the event,” says Banas, admitting that, “the fact that we change the location every year is definitely one of my biggest challenges as an organizer, but it has immense payoffs as it gives attendees an element of surprise and keeps the event fresh and exciting.”


This year the event will be held on September 16th at  Alderlea Farm and Cafe in Duncan, a biodynamic and organic community farm that supports over 200 local families through its Community Supported Agriculture Program. “We’re a real, working, small farm and our primary activity is growing vegetables for the community,” explains farmer John Erlich of Alderlea Farm, “but it’s difficult in this economy to make a living in farming on a small scale,” adding that, “the mission of Farm Folk City Folk is to raise funds for expanding farms and to deal with that rural-urban interface while raising awareness about local farming. It’s a great thing to have this fundraiser on a working farm, so that people can see what we do first hand.”


While this is Alderlea Farm’s first year hosting the event, they have been involved with Feast of Fields for the past 3 years, offering their signature sauerkraut spread and using the event as a great opportunity to become more familiar with fellow farmers and other members of the local food scene. “Not only have I been able to network with other members of the farming community,” says Elrich, “but this event has allowed me and other participants to interact with people coming to Feast of Fields on a more intimate level. There is such a fixation on food now – people are much more aware of the types of food and types of diets – I truly believe that they want to gain back a relationship with food.”


Raising awareness and creating relationships through food is something Feast of Fields has been doing for the past 15 years and hopes to continue to do for many more years to come. They even encourage and welcome the addition of many more events of its kind. “We may be one of the oldest food festivals on Vancouver Island,” Banas says in closing, “but we certainly don’t think we should be the only food festival on Vancouver Island. I think that it’s great that there are more festivals now. I think our hopes and dreams from the beginning were to have other people getting excited about local and sustainable food. It’s all for the same wonderful cause – perhaps the competition will make all the different festivals hold themselves to a higher standard and create even more buzz about this important issue.”


Tickets for Feast of Fields are now on sale, and are available at the Feast of Fields website at www.feastoffields.com

















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