I often like to joke that I would be a terrible pioneer. Sure, I can bake, cook, garden, make jam and pickles, even cure and smoke my own bacon. I’m also a pretty good seamstress and knitter, but the two things that would be my dealbreakers for pioneer living are the lack of antibiotics and Ziploc bags. That may seem a little trite, but to me, the Ziploc bags embody one of the best aspects of modern living – being able to quickly preserve food and store it safely.
The theme of food safety is front and centre at the remarkable new exhibition at Ottawa’s Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Food Preservation: The Science You Eat had its official launch today at a breakfast event that featured delicious nibbles by Thyme & Again, proud speeches and a chance to tour the interactive new exhibition which showcases the advances made in food preservation, and therefore food safety, over the past 100+ years.
Designed to appeal to children as well as adults, the dynamic exhibition offers lots of hands-on opportunities. There are playful activities for young kids as well as nostalgic displays that will appeal to adults. Tweens – sometimes a difficult crowd to engage – might enjoy the delightful touch-screen activated display showing in glorious detail the process of foods (including a hamburger, some fries and a half watermelon) decomposing as they rot.
As Kerry-Leigh Burchill, the director of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, explained, we are fortunate to have a very safe food supply in Canada relative to some other places in the world. As she and other speakers at the launch touched on the vital link between scientific research and food safety, we were reminded of the many food preservation innovations that were developed in Canada, such as instant mashed potatoes, flash frozen fruit and dried cranberries, to name just a few. It is not only Canadian consumers that benefit, as Timothy Sargent, the assistant deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada noted, but also farmers and food processors around the globe.
The exhibition took two years to develop and came to fruition thanks to the cooperation of many government participants as well as the generous support of Nestlé Canada and Bernadin. Additional elements to the exhibition include a travelling version which is available for visits to schools, community centres and more as well as a wide range of online educational materials. There will also be food preservation workshops conducted at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum’s busy demonstration kitchen.
While there is so much to see and do at “The Farm” – as many affectionately call it – be sure to make time to check out this informative exhibit on your next visit. For more information, visit http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/whats-on/exhibition-food-preservation.php