I thought it would be a really interesting challenge to bike around Manitoba, getting to know all these producers and consuming only food grown in the province.
—Steve Langston, filmmaker
Steve Langston combined his passions for cycling, the province of Manitoba and local food in a new documentary called Tailwind: Prairie Harvest.
He and three pals cycled 1200 kilometers in Manitoba in 17 days, filming their journey and they consumed only food they sourced along the way.
"I've always been interested in the local food movement and admired it from afar," he said from his home in Onanole, MB. "I thought it would be a really interesting challenge to bike around Manitoba, getting to know all these producers and consuming only food grown in the province."
Langston's team filmed everything themselves, then charged their cameras overnight (Steve Langston)
Langston's tour was carefully timed to coincide with the fall harvest and followed a strategic route so he would be well-stocked with produce.
"Some of the things people would be surprised by, we ate a lot of hemp," he said. "We found people in the Interlake region that made canola oil. We ate sourdough flatbread because you can't easily source yeast in Manitoba."
Lunch was typically a wild rice salad (Steve Langston)
A typical day began with a sourdough flatbread, eggs and potatoes.
Lunch was usually a wild rice salad. Dinner was always pasta with a vegetable-rich marinara sauce (three of them are vegetarians). They satisfied the sweet tooth with 'candy' made from honey and oats.
Cycling adventures are nothing new to Langston, his first TV documentary followed him pedaling from Whitehorse to Yellowknife.
"Bike touring is something that's been a big part of my life. I've biked over 35,000 kilometers since 2006 around the world. I had my life changed by bike touring."
His passion led to him write two books, Manitoba by Bicycle
and Canada by Bicycle
. The 29-year-old was named Aspiring Youth 2012 by Travel Manitoba.
Langston finds Manitoba's landscape incredible (Steve Langston)
Langston chooses to remain in his home province. "I'm a huge believer in Manitoba. I've had the opportunity to travel pretty much the entire globe and I feel like Manitoba is one of the best places to be. The people are fantastic, the natural beauty is unparalleled. I think the quality of life that we have here is incredible."
He now knows so many of the people in the local food scene. "I'm really into rural economic development as well, so the local food is such a great way of keeping our small communities vibrant and active.
After you meet these people you want to support them, help improve the environment, lower greenhouse gasses and make our communities stronger."
Steve Langston has cycled over 35,000 kilometers around the world (Steve Langston)
Highlights of his Manitoba journey include experiencing the Northern Lights, cruising into Riding Mountain National Park and seeing Clear Lake, and meeting all of the local producers, such as the pasta producer at Nature's Own in Steinbach and the Integrity Foods people on the shore of Lake Winnipeg.
He was really impressed by the sophistication and tenacity of some of the rural food producers, "just seeing that people can do it out in rural Manitoba and people can have a thriving business and not compromise their quality of life."
The documentary Tailwind: Prairie Harvest airs as part of the Absolutely Manitoba series on Saturday July 13 on CBC TV in Manitoba.
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