Soup lovers packed Toronto's Woodbine Park on Sunday in a culinary protest against a proposed mega-quarry planned for a site just north of the city.
The one-day event called Soupstock featured over 200 chefs serving soups to raise awareness about what organizers call the negative environmental impact a quarry could have.
Anti-quarry advocates highlighted what they predict would be the loss of farmland and impact on water supply if the project goes ahead.
The event — for which local farmers and food growers donated over 11,000 pounds of produce — was a sequel to last year's Foodstock festival that drew over 28,000 attendees to a site adjacent from the proposed quarry land in Melancthon, Ont.
The provincial government has requested Highland Companies, which has proposed the quarry, to conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of the site before any construction begins.
The government has been waiting since September 2011 to find out if the company will participate in the assessment or abandon its proposal.
Organizers of Sunday's event said they hoped that Soupstock's new Toronto location would raise more awareness about the quarry project.
"I hope that people get more info about the fight and grasp the importance of what's going on so they can share the cause with neighbours and gain some support," said chef Michael Stadtlander, who helped organize the event with the Canadian Chefs' Congress and the David Suzuki Foundation.
'It's important for decision-makers to see that people do not agree with the mega-quarry.' —Michael Stadtlander, Soupstock organizer
Stadtlander, who was serving a potato-leek soup with squash and beets, said he was also hoping the event would catch the attention of policy-makers in Ontario.
"We are all here to protect our land and water," he said. "It's important for decision-makers to see that people do not agree with the mega-quarry."
That underlying message was not lost on 65-year-old cousins Bev Wilson and Brenda Scott.
The pair attended the event because they said it's important to advocate for the Canadian food and water-supply that they claim will be ruined by a quarry.
"This project and others that destroy farmland are disappointing," Wilson said. "Extinction is forever, so once the land is destroyed there is no way to replace it."
Scott was also concerned that the mega-quarry could threaten the natural resources available to future generations.
"We've got grandkids and we're looking out for them," she said. "We need to be a guardian for the environment and stop projects like these."