Some overall thoughts on the great things that happened at the Covent Market on Saturday May 19, 2012. I will be writing individual blogs about each of the events and share some of the tips and ideas provided!
I woke up Saturday morning anxious and excited, hopeful and worried! Over the last 5 weeks I have breathed, dreamed, and lived planning the Food Revolution Day in London Ontario. I had worked with amazing volunteers and the wonderful Amy Shakelton at Covent Market, I had spoken with the presenters and made sure we knew how the sessions would be approached. We had posters up all over the city, the event was reported on in media. What had I forgotten? I had no idea, but the day was here and it was time to get ready for my day!
My 18 year old son had come in from Toronto for the event to help out, my 15 year old daughter was a bundle of nerves because she was going to sing at a public event for the first time in her life. I tried to comfort her and encourage her while I was dealing with my own anxiety that things needed to go well! Did I need to bring anything to the market, I had name tags, I had markers…in the end I forgot to grab them with Megan’s anxiety in my brain’s forefront!
We got on the road and headed to the event, before long my phone rang and it was my amazing volunteer Tracey on the phone telling me that someone was there who wanted to interview me, I said i could do it on the phone and I spoke to Lola, since I was 20 minutes from the covent market we agreed to meet in person once I arrived. She was from Western University and she was the second interview from Western I had been requested to do in the last 24 hours. She explained that they were students and were assigned to find events in London on the weekend and report on them. All good ,the more the word is spread about this revolution the better!
My phone rang again 5 minutes later and this time it was Andrew Fleet who was running the kids event, he was looking to see if we could setup outside the labatt room so people downstairs could see us. I really couldn’t authorize that idea but I understood his reasons. For safety reasons I wanted to assure parents that kids would be in the room and that they could come out to the parents session and not worry about their kids.
I arrived at Covent Market and the first person I saw was Andrew Fleet, he was running around looking for his volunteers , looking to get things upstairs. I introduced him to my son Alex and sent Alex to help, Andrew was running a mile an minute and it was good to see Alex running to catch up! I met Erin Neely who was my amazing printer finder!! She is amazing woman fully focussed to helping me move this forward and she will be a big part of the future events! Christine Taleski was in the room and helping to get thing set up for Andrew too! I looked to the left and saw that Brian Nelles was setting equipment up and Deni Gauthier was in the room getting ready for his performance too! Everything looked good in the Labatt Room and I looked outside the room to see my right hand Tracey Platero standing and talking with Carole Persaud about their parent nutrition session! I went over to give both ladies hugs and to make sure they were comfortable and ready to go. All good and Tracey’s face was lit up with so much excitement!
I noticed a girl off to the side watching me, I outstretched my hand and sure enough it was Lola from Western University looking to interview me, I sat down with Lola and let her ask all the questions that she had. While I was busy talking to Lola I noticed my hairdresser Mitch Holmes had stopped by and Megan went over to greet him. I waved but wanted to give Lola the information she was looking for. Lola wanted to talk to all the presenters so I set her up with Carole Persaud and went back to the kids room as I was noticing that families were making there way into the event.
I went in and smiled. There were lots of kids on the floor, my Megan and my Alex were helping little girls make their veggie character! I noticed Erin helping some kids and Christine manning the Dirt bowl to help kids plant seeds! Things were looking great Britown Music was ready to go! Megan would sing 3rd. She was sitting happily helping a little girl on the carpet while I was taping the other bands that were singing from Britown Music. They were terrific and Brian you did a great job with theses guys!!
I had to get Megan up from the carpet and bring her over so that her focus changed to her singing of Defying Gravity. She had practiced non stop and it was time for me to introduce Megan and introduce why this event was being held in London Ontario!
I told a bit of her story and told parents that we would be hosting a nutrition class for parents next door in a few minutes. Megan got up there shaking like a leaf and did a great job, her nerves were high and she is not thrilled with her performance but I am very proud and know she did well!!
After Megan finished singing a lady came up to me and told me about how she had lived in the states and how much better things are in Canada. I asked her to join me in the foyer where we were hosting the parent session. I wanted her to share her story for sure! We had about 10 participants so we decided to make it a round circle and make it a conversation versus a seminar. This worked very well and the conversation was lively and very informative! I hope that the parents who were involved all felt they learned something.
At 11:45 Melissa Briones came up the stairs with a big smile. She was ready to go for her tour of the market. I suggested we wait until 12 so if any other participants were coming they would get a chance as well. Lola from Western University jumped on this chance to ask Melissa her questions.
We walked through the Market with Melissa and Tracey leading the parade. Was very funny to see us going through a line and the other patrons of the market wondering what was going on! We stopped at the vendors who had created Revolutionary Meals for the Jamie Oliver event and we have gotten 2 reviews back on this part of our day!
Just wanted to let you know the weekend event was a huge success for us.
Thank you for organizing and promoting ..
I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did my mom and sister. We thought the Dietician was very knowledgeable and might contact her for further events. I thought we would peruse more of the market but an hour goes by very fast. It was nice to have a sample of quinoa at one of the booths and we ended up having lunch at the fresh food stall right next to where there were selling the quinoa – thankyou for the opportunity!
We love the feedback and would love to hear more from those who attended! Did you learn something great? What was your favourite part? What should we do differently for next event?
By the time this event was over at 1pm Dr. Kresimir Jug and his lovely wife Rachelle were upstairs and getting ready to go with their event. Dr K. was going to talk about Life By Design. A slightly more controvesial topic about paleo eating and this generated lots of questions for Dr K after his talk and was great to see people scratching their heads trying to digest the ideas of not eating grains. I introduced Dr K and his event went very well. They even brought some cool technology to analyze the spine and the nervous system energy in the body. There was a line up looking to get that done!
We had a break at 2pm and I was exhausted by this point, I could see Megan was truly fading and Alex was starting to look bored. We got lunch and ate it upstairs. Our last session was going to be the Healthy Eating on a budget and Organizing the kitchen.
I was very sad to see that we only had 1 real participant for the event. Everyone else who was sitting in the circle was a presenter or family of the presenters.
The session itself was great! I got lots of ideas for organizing my kitchen that I will use. For me this was a must attend session and it deserved a lot more participation!!
In retrospect that session was too late in the day. We needed to find a way to either bring another kids event into the afternoon to get people upstairs or to have done an annoucement on the PA system of the market!
The day was amazing! I am seeing lots of people talking about real food on twitter and at the office lots of chatter too! This was a success and while I am totally exhausted I think we have set a pretty high bar to make future events even better!!