Some final thoughts on the 2011 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic

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All photos © Melanie Schade 2011

Sometimes the office life can leave an adventurous and passionate person feeling a little deflated. Working for an environmental NGO like the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, thankfully provides some relief from the nine to five grind.

I have been fortunate to attend many events out in the Greenbelt and continuously renew my passion. I’ve been to farms, farmers’ markets, hikes along the Bruce trail, tours of conservation areas, world crops events at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and GTA-wide world crops planting events. I have been able to speak with the people involved in the front line work: the farmers, the scientists, the families; and I believe that passion ignites passion.

The most recent event, the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, was a great marriage of all things Greenbelt. From farmers and farmers’ markets to beautiful natural heritage --from local arts to internationally recognized celebrities – just like Ontario’s Greenbelt. The inaugural Greenbelt Harvest Picnic was undoubtedly a success (backed by the many positive attendee comments and media stories that have followed the event)

So the next time I’m buried in paper, eyes blurry, and skin grey from a computer screen suntan; I’ll be sure to remember all of the fun that can be had out in Ontario’s Greenbelt and the importance of the work that I do day-to-day and gain inspiration from the amazing things that people are achieving “out of the office”.

And now for some special thanks….

After hearing about a music festival that supported and celebrated local farmers and who the artists were (at that time I think it was Dan Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Gord Downie, and Ray Lamontagne) our CEO, Burkhard Mausberg thought this would be a perfect fit in our efforts to support our farming communities. When he shared this idea, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. Burkhard and I sat down with Jean-Paul Gauthier, owner of September Seventh Entertainment Ltd. -- and the rest as they say, is history.

Working to coordinate our sponsorship for the picnic was a big deal to me and carried a lot of responsibility, so thank you to my boss, Burkhard, for believing in my abilities. I’d also like to thank Jean-Paul Gauthier for making the Foundation’s role in the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic a great experience - it really was a pleasure working with you. I’d also of course like to thank Daniel Lanois, for gathering all of his musically gifted friends for this great day – what a fantastic idea, mister! To the Hamilton Conservation Authority, thank you for partnering with Jean-Paul and Daniel to make this possible at beautiful Christie Lake in Dundas. And to our Escarpment Hero Sarah Harmer – we continue to be fans over here at the Foundation – thanks for the Greenbelt shout out! Thank you to the many local farmers, vendors, and artisians who came out to sell their goods and hear some fantastic music!

Lastly but certainly not least, thank you to all of the Greenbelt Crew and volunteers who came out to Christie Lake with me and helped tremendously on the day of the event. I’ve never worked in an environment where there are so many helpful, talented people with such stellar attitudes.

--Carla Balabanowicz, Communications Coordinator

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Fans gather to watch Sarah Harmer.

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Opening act: Dawn & Marra with Greenbelt frisbees. 

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Thousands showed up for a great day of food,farmers and famous musicians in the Greenbelt.

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