Hundreds are gathering at Edmonton's Expo Centre this weekend to talk about sustainable food in Alberta.
Susan Roberts, a lead organizer, helped plant the seed for the 2017 Cultivating Connections forum. Just like the local food industry, Roberts said she wanted the event to be all about community.
"It's not a conference, it's not an assembly, it's not a summit. It's a time to talk," she said.
She rallied a team of farmers, gardeners and local produce experts to answer questions about food in the province.
They fielded questions like: How can I preserve home-grown fruits and vegetables? Can humans live off insects? How does produce grown in a hydroponics garden taste?
"They're people who are doing things and want to share it so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel," Roberts said. "We can come together and really have a bang-up good food system."
Jerry Kitt is one of 80 guest speakers at the forum. He owns a livestock farm near Grande Prairie and drives six hours every weekend to sell meat at the Strathcona Farmer's Market in Edmonton.
"I'm quite interested in the sustainability of food and food systems," Kitt said.
"We don't really seem to be concerned about this right now only because we've gone through a long period of time where we can just get anything we want at any time. But that hasn't always been the case and it could change in the future, too. Food security is important."
Forum participant Jamie Clements said speakers like Kitt revived her determination to grow and preserve her own food.
"I think I need to do more of it and reach out to my friends and maybe get together and have different nights where we're doing canning and preserving and sharing those skills between each other," Clements said.
The three-day forum launched on Friday and ends Sunday evening.