Farm to Table Feast for Agi Hall refurbishment

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, August 2 2016

Tickets for the Farm to Table Feast went on sale this past weekend. Lynn Bowerman and Christine Bletcher, the primary organizers of the Farm to Table Feast, expect to sell 350 tickets for the September 10, 2016, event being held at the Commons.

“The tickets will include a three-course meal, appetizers and desserts all prepared by restaurants and food places on the island,” says Bowerman who is the Secretary of the Gabriola Agricultural Association (GAA). Bletcher is the President.

Local restaurants will be provided with local produce from island farmers, and are donating other ingredients and their labour. 

Tickets for adults are $30, $15 for youth 10 - 15 years of age, and free for nine years old and under. This first annual event is a fundraiser for the GAA and the future of the Agi Hall.   

“People are doing this all over the world,” says Bowerman. “It’s used as a fundraiser and a celebration of local farmers and the local harvest. We need volunteers for prep, set up, and tear down. There will be the Dinah D Trio for the first half of the dinner and then dancing under the stars with DJ TIM G.”

“We’re doing this to look at the hall’s future. We’ve made the decision to take the building down,” says Bletcher, “and build a smaller building with a larger outdoor space for the community to use, and gain extra vender space for the market.” The architect, Matt Hessay of Zas Architects and Interiors in Vancouver, has provided the tools to come to this decision, says Bletcher. 

“No one is using the hall, it’s not being rented, and with no heating and acoustic issues it’s costing a fortune to maintain with no returns. It’s time for a big change.” 

Bowerman says the group is interested in expanding the market and beautifying the space. “So much has happened with the rest of the Village, we’d like to follow suit. We have a key spot, at the entrance to the Village. I’m also part of the Village Visioning and it’s a key place to start the journey and bring it up to date,” adds Bletcher.

Bowerman says they are encouraged by all the community involvement in the event. “Everyone is helping, with all the restaurants getting on board and the farmers’ donations of food, many people have been saying that they’ve been waiting for this to happen and they’re so glad we’ve picked up the ball.”

The event will take place outside at the Commons, around the timber frame building that’s also called the sustainability building. The Gabriola Lions are lending the grill, tents, tables and chairs. Another partner is the Gabriola Food Hub’s Graham Bradley, who is helping source and collect all the food on his electric bike. Tickets are available from Colleen’s, Wishbone, North Road Sports and at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

Bletcher also talks about getting some fun back into the Agi Hall and using the space for outdoor dances, and possibly a winter farmers’ market. 

There will also be a services block that will include coffee, tea, a bar, bathrooms and storage. The new space, including indoor/outdoor space, will be about 1300 square feet. They will keep the cement pad that the current hall sits on.

Bletcher and Bowerman say the hall is a four to five year plan and in 2020, depending on which builders they are working with, Gabriola could see a new facility at the Agi Hall.

“We really want the Farm to Table event to be a party,” says Bletcher. And Bowerman sees it as a chance to advocate for local food farmers. 

“I want to help the island become locally sustainable with food, advocating and education. The Farm to Table is a great avenue for this.”