The Farmacie team is on a mission. A mission to “invigorate a conversation around informed food choices.” And the best part is, they’re pulling it off through fairytale-like long table dinner series that seem to have sprung out of Kinfolk magazine.
Everybody who knows food – and even a smattering who don’t – want to be there.
We nabbed a moment with Britney Gill, one of the co-founders of Farmacie (along with Jennifer Savory), as the Farmacie team ramps up and gets prepped for their third long table dinner. Read on to find out what drives this not-for-profit passion project and how it all comes together.
What inspired the creation of Farmacie?
Initially it started during an internship with Imagine1day. One of the fundraising models they have there is called ‘creatribution’ – a passion project that is something you’ve always wanted to do paired with doing something good for your local community while raising money. It’s kind of this intersection of your talents, your goals and your passions.
I always had this dream to do a dinner. If it wasn’t for Jen – the co-founder of Farmacie – being around me and sharing that dream, we would never had done it. She’s an amazing go-getter and operations guru who just gets shit done. It was our fire coming together.
What’s the purpose or goal in hosting the long table dinners?
Every dinner has two pieces – community and awareness. Bringing people together and invigorating conversation. All of the dinners have an underlying theme; the first was literally just awareness around local food. A Farmacie dinner could be the first time someone is sitting within 20 feet of where their food is grown.
How do you choose your long table dinner venues and partners?
A while ago I started a rolodex of people I had seen in the community who were up to cool things. I’ve just been kind of going down the list of people that activate me or excite me. Fresh Roots – which is where our next dinner is going to be – was an alumni from my program. UBC farm is just somewhere I felt connected with. A partner might even come from Instagram; I see a cool picture and I just call them.
So you said every Farmacie dinner has a theme. What’s the theme for this next one?
Children and food and the strength that farms and gardens can have on communities. A basic cause of malnutrition is a disconnection from food. During my degree I learned that when kids are learning in the soil it’s very powerful for their retention and for activating different parts of their brain. Gardens and farms can transform space and bring people together – especially the elderly and children. The elderly are now like: “I used to grow my snap peas this way” and the kids are actually listening to the elders rather than like Googling it. That to me – those stories – are the most inspiring about the farm.
How do these long table conversations have an impact on food culture in Vancouver? Why are they important?
We want you to meet strangers and we want you to get some cool ideas at our dinners and then go on and carry these ideas forward. That’s a big part of our mission – we want everyone to further the message in their own way.
It’s converting a food culture. Not that it’s all bad, but shifting a focus from solely leisure and gluttony and taste to a deeper conversation as to ‘why’. Why it’s important to be informed so that we can continue to have availability. It’s important for people to be aware of what we have in our backyard so we can protect it.
Are things changing in Vancouver? For the better or worse?
I think I used to be in a conversation of fear and doomsday and now I only see the positive things. This culture here in Vancouver is very advanced in food knowledge and I see a shift where healthy and local is cooler than not. That’s almost what’s driving this shift. And our chefs are sort of becoming celebrities – which I love.
What’s next for Farmacie?
We’ll continue the dinner but are going towards hosting retreats. Promoting people that are up to great things in the community who can also teach people things like how to make your own bread from starter. Creative homesteading that isn’t ‘Suzy Homemaker’ – but is more empowered.
We don’t know about you, but we’ll take all of what this fabulous Farmacie team has got on offer. Wine and dine for a good cause? Wholesome homemaking skills? Yes please.
Get your tickets NOW for Farmacie 3.0 long table dinner. It’s gonna sell out quick. You’ll be dining at the David Thompson Secondary School Farm on food by Chefs Juno Kim and Marika Richoz with your ticket proceeds going to the fine folks at Fresh Roots and the fabulous kids they’re working with.