Some people in town simply make things happen. Rose Sexsmith is one of those people. Gifted with the ability to gather people behind a common vision you can easily see why she was the recipient of the Women of the Year at the recent City of Kelowna Civic Awards. You have all seen her name at some point as it glowed in neon outside of the her pub (that she co-owns) Roses Waterfront Pub. What you may not have seen is her time spend over the past 10 years working on a project called "100 Wise Women". She describes it originally as a get-together party with some friends that quickly turned philanthropic in nature raising funds for various charities over its 10 years in existence.
So now she is launching a new project and its called 100 Women Who Care
This graphic gives a quick idea of what its' all about but if you want more info check out my interview below or go to the website. And yes guys this one is only for women but if one of you want to start 100 Guys Who Care let me know.
For live music this weekend here is some info about the last show at Parks Alive! (Kelowna) and Music in the Park (West Kelowna):
This Saturday from 5-10pm a new free festival launches in West Kelowna. It will celebrate multiculturalism, provide some great interactive kids activities, and offer an assortment of ethnic food vendors.
Situated behind the Johnson Bentley Pool, Memorial Park will host this free and family focused festival.
The stage schedule is as follows:
5:00pm Stan Jack, Westbank First Nations dancer
5:20pm Strongman Show by Team Xtreme
5:45pm Alpha Yaya Diallo, Juno Award winning performer
7:00pm Ezra Kwizera, whose music is a zesty mix of Reggae, Soca, East African Bongo and Pop
8:00pm Fireshow by Team Extreme
8:45pm En Karma, Canada's top Bhangra band
Here is a quick video showcasing what is in store on stage this Saturday in West Kelowna.
The Interior Savings Kids Zone will be full of activities:
I had a chance to interview Ezra Kwizera earlier this spring when he was peforming in Kelowna. I was blown away not only by his music but his profound humility and unique perspective on life in Canada:
I first connected with Robert Fine about a decade ago when we were both part of a delegation from Kelowna to our sister city, Kasugai, Japan in 2005. It was a large delegation of over 70 featuring many folks who were highly involved in Kelowna's community. One of the most interesting things I discovered on the trip was that while we have our tranquil Kasugai gardens they have a street in Kasugai called Kelowna Boulevard with its miniature version of the Robert Dow Reid's "Spirit of the Sails". It's almost surreal travelling that far and seeing something from your home community.
Robert was there on his role as Economic Development Commissioner but also to entertain on various stages (including the 2005 World Expo) with his signature brand of Great American Songbook tunes and a highly interactive stage presence. If you're interested in seeing Robert on stage he has a show tonight, August 13th, performing alongside other guest singers with the Dreamland Band at the "Big Band" themed evening of music at Parks Alive! on the Island Stage. The show starts at 6pm.
I sat down with Robert this weekend to hear about his latest band, Robert Fine and the Finely Tuned, a small, versatile 4pc that he is starting to perform with on a more regular basis and also to talk about his role as our Central Okanagan Economic Development Commissioner. For that role you'll most often see his name quoted when new airport routes are being announced, new business initiatives are launched, during one of their business walk programs, or when an article on our overall business climate in the Okanagan is written. What you don't hear about are some of the most fascinating stories. For example did you know that our much loved GioBean coffee shop (who celebrate their 5th year in Kelowna today) is the direct result of some supportive business initiatives done by the COEDC? In the following interview we chatted about his new band, the role of an economic development commission (1:50), their focus on attracting those"foot loose entrepreneurs" (3:00), where their ideas come from on how to build our local economy (4:13), how he got started in this field after quiting his first job on the first day (5:40), and how his first project saved $5 million for the local municipalities and school boards in Ontario (7:10), and a few more stories along the way.
Ryan Donn Show: Robert Fine
Robert Fine and the Dreamland Band at the Cancer Relay for the Cure in 2013
For a full listing of live music in Kelowna this weekend check out: http://laner.ca
The 6th Annual Okanagan Feast of Fields event happens on Aug 17th from 1-4pm at the Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm.
I caught up with the producer of the event, Alison Love, via email to find out more information about this popular event that showcases over 50 restaurants and wineries in one sunny Okanagan afternoon.
RD: How does Feast of Fields support FarmFolk, CityFolk?
AL: Feast of Fields is the major fundraiser for FFCF. Feast of Fields highlights the connections between farmer and chef, field and table, and farm folks and city folks. The chefs/wineries/breweries etc all donate the food, wine etc towards the event as well as amazing items for the Silent Auction.
RD: FarmFolk, CityFolk Society is a well established not-for-profit with over 20 years of history in B.C., can you tell me a little about the organization and why they're working to build sustainable local food systems?
AL: Established in 1993 Farm Folk CityFolk is a not-for-profit society working to cultivate local, sustainable food systems across British Columbia. We are supported by grant-making foundations, private donors, volunteers and by funds raised at our annual Feast of Fields events in Metro Vancouver, on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan. The funds we raise support our work both within these communities and across BC.
In the Okanagan our Helping Farmers program offers resources for farmers looking to expand their business, produce food more sustainably, and gain access to land and capital. Our farm mentor-ship program for young farmers is offered in partnership with Sunshine Farm in Kelowna. Additionally, through our partnership with Young Agrarians, we host young farmer mixers and linking land workshops to support the next generation of young farmers.
For local food businesses we host Meet Your Maker, an annual business networking event bringing together local food producers and local food buyers to build business relationships and strengthen the local food economy within the Okanagan.
To help support and strengthen this market for local food, we host our annual Feast of Fields fundraiser and local food celebration. Held on a different farm each year, this event helps promote local farm businesses and the chefs who share dedicated relationships with these farmers. Since 2009 we have hosted events in Summerland at Valentine Farm, Okanagan Falls at Brock Farm, in Naramata at Van Westen Family Vineyards & Orchards, in Lake Country at Claremont Ranch Organics, in Kelowna at Little Church Organics, and in 2014 we will be at Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm, in Kelowna. Now in its 6th year the Okanagan Feast of Fields shares a rich history with the Metro Vancouver Feast, now in its 20th year and the Vancouver Island Feast now in its 17th year. Feast of Fields is a great way to also promote the region to tourists with over 25% of the Okanagan Feast guests coming from outside the region.
FarmFolk CityFolk produces a bi-annual magazine that focuses on issues around local food and agriculture and is distributed to engaged and concerned farmers, chef's, activists, and politicians throughout the Okanagan. For over 20 years, FarmFolk CityFolk has engaged communities and businesses in support of sustainable agriculture and the celebration of local food.
RD: Okanagan Herb & Lavender Farm was on the vanguard of agritourism in the Central Okanagan, inviting people onto the farm for tours long before others were doing the same. What is it that you like about this venue and their approach to the farm-to-table movement?
AL: Not only is the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm a wonderful example of agritourism in our community, it is still a family farm. it's a beautiful location with sweeping views of the Lake and they work with many of our chef participants by providing lavender for some of Sandrine's creations (Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate) and I know it's behind the bar at RauDZ Regional Table for some of their signature cocktails. They work hard to share their passion for farming, although maybe not what we think of as traditional farming, there is no livestock or bins of vegetables, but lavender is their "produce". Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm is serving Italian sodas with house made syrups and rose water meringues made from their own Damask Rose Water!
RD: There are so many amazing restaurants and little eateries in the Central Okanagan at the moment, and obviously the wine industry is establishing an international reputation for the quality of our products, what role do you see this event playing in the burgeoning food mecca we're developing here?
AL: Great food goes with great award winning wines and now the Okanagan is also being recognized as a culinary destination. This summer alone has seen a parade of food writers, bloggers from around the world descending on the Okanagan and discovering what we locals already know - we've got world class restaurants to go with our world class wines. Feast of Fields is a great event to show it all off and we regularly have many tourists who purchase tickets to this event. Taking a look at the EventBrite ticket site, I can see Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver addresses who have snapped up these limited tickets for this culinary celebration.
This year at Okanagan Feast of Fields, we are excited to showcase some of these new restaurants and eateries in the valley - Liquidity Bistro from Liquidity Wines, Blu Saffron from Volcanic Hills, Smoke & Oak from Wild Goose Winery, Salted Brick, the new charcuterie spot on Bernard will all be at Feast of Fields. We are also hosting some food writers along with Tourism Kelowna at the event as well, so we're spreading the news of our food scene one bite at a time.
RD: What are the parameters you give your industry professionals in setting up their tastings?
AL: These chefs who are participating are all professionals and already living and breathing the supporting local philosophy. We ask that they showcase a fresh local seasonal ingredient in their own particular style, while at the same time keeping it no-waste. We ask that they serve it on a cracker, a piece of bread or that it be self-sufficient as we do not want hundreds of paper plates and cutlery scattered around the field at the conclusion of the event. When each guest arrives they are given a white linen napkin and a wine glass to use over the course of the afternoon. When they depart, they return both to our volunteers and we leave the space as clean as it was when we arrived. The menus are starting to arrive and all sound delicious, duck slider with red currant onion chutney with apple slaw (anything more Okanagan than apple?) , a crostini with house-roasted 'kadhai' spiced local tomato sauce, a Povencal Nougat with local honey and lavender, a pork & chorizo skewer with sour cherry gastrique, and each dish is paired with a wine from our wine participants.