From farm to fork, from the burning effigy to Feist, The New Farm showcases the best in show every June with the Farms for Change fundraiser, hosted right on farm, just outside of the village of Creemore, Ontario. Owners and farmers Gillian and Brent (and also author of “The New Farm” – an insightful, often funny, but never easy journey on becoming organic farmers) open up their home, their barn and their farm to be invaded by the local community (and Toronto foodies and live music junkies) to share in good music and real food all for an even bigger cause.
In collaboration with Community Food Centres Canada, the event has raised over $750,000 over its history to support programs like The Stop and Regent Park Community Food Centre in Toronto. The goal is simple: good food for good people. Everyone needs access to good food – that means food from local, organic growers who are working hard to tip the scale against established, industrial food systems and reform agriculture and our relationship with the food we eat.
Best in class chefs from the farm’s patron restaurants, hailing from Toronto, Collingwood or anywhere in between, all congregate on the lawn to form a festival-style food market. Live music, picnic blankets, benches and large shade trees paint the scene with the scent of smoked BBQ. Tent after tent of local food creations make the decision-making the biggest challenge of the evening – Fogo Island cod or Mapleton’s ice cream?… both of course!
Tractors line the laneway with their buckets out like open mouths to accept compost only. Plates and cutlery must be brought with you. Most opt for camp-style ware or a biodegradable option. I made sure to pack my Swiss army knife with a spoon and a fork, clearly the most versatile option. Mason jars are provided when you enter and pick up tickets for local Creemore beer, Duntroon cider or any other creative cocktail being served up, like rhubarb gin and tonic. Hundreds of folks eating, drinking, imbibing, and all of this produces little more than a bag of garbage in all.
As dusk sets over the sea of canopies, everyone floods into the barn for what can only be the most intimate of stages to see one of Canada’s biggest bands. I really mean big! Toronto indie rock band Broken Social Scene is a collective of at least a dozen musicians, and tonight they’re complete with a horn section. Standing just a few meters in front of the stage, I can see that they are really just a bunch of friends that love playing music together.
But it’s the show stopping Feist, with her electric energy, barn-shaking voice and playful stage presence that really lights up the night. In her rose pink onesie, she barely stops moving. It’s hard for her not to steal the show, so they leave “I Feel It All” until the very end of the encore. And we certainly do feel it all.
The stage lights turn off, the music turns to fireside conversations, all the late-night grilled cheeses are devoured, and as the effigy slowly disappears into the coals, all my senses have been fed.
Article by Megan Myles and Pierce Pimiskern