Could you introduce yourself?
Andrea Carlson, chef and owner of Burdock & Co. Restaurant [and person-in-charge at Harvest Community Foods].
What is Harvest Community Foods?
A local food grocer and organic, locally sourced ramen shop.
How did Harvest start out?
Mike Leung created ‘This Space,’ a project to engage the residents of Strathcona and Chinatown. He sought input from the community to decide what business they wanted to see in ‘This Space.’ The people voted for a local food grocer, and that is where Harvest evolved from.
Is your dedication to local foods driven by personal principles or have you seen an increasing demand for local food?
I’ve been in the restaurants for a number of years and have been working with local producers for the majority of them. So yes, it is a personal philosophy.
What are the benefits of eating locally?
Knowing where the food comes from, who grew it, anticipating its seasonal arrival and ultimately supporting food security in your community.
Do you see a connection between consumers and the people who grow their food when it’s locally sourced?
Yes, the growth of farmers markets in Vancouver has broadened awareness of eating locally and those relations between consumers and farmers continue to grow.
What do you look for in your suppliers?
People who grow organically and ofter heirloom varieties, as well as wild harvest foragers. People within the community.
What other business do you recommend as models for a sustainable practice?
There are many…. Klipper’s farm in Cawston is organic, solar powered, runs award winning apprenticeship programs; Sole Food Street Farm in the Downtown Eastside employs residents of the community to work on the urban farm; and East Van Roasters is a Portland Hotel Society affiliated business that is Vancouver’s first bean-to-bar chocolate producer and provides work training for PHS members. These are just a few of the diverse, environmentally and socially responsible businesses that Harvest works with.
Final question: eating locally means eating seasonally around Vancouver, and that takes a little creativity in winter. What’s your favourite food to make that uses local, in-season ingredients?
The Sunchoke Terrine—sunchokes from Hazelmere organic farm are well roasted, pressed into a mold, and the cut and seared. It’s really delicious.