Eating local, eating green: Celebrate the harvest with the 2012 Eco Gala

Photo credit: Arden Twinkle, via Flickr

Siu Hong Yu is a scientist working at the National Research Council. Outside the lab, he tries to stay out of trouble with live music, food outings, photography, gallery visits, running, hiking, good reads and cinema.

What do delicious seasonal vegetables, a conversation about Ottawa’s sustainable economy, and a Belarusian violin/guitar duet have in common? They will all be featured at Ecology Ottawa’s 2012 Eco Gala, taking place this year on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the St. Elias Banquet Centre (750 Ridgewood Ave., near Mooney’s Bay).

Now in its sixth year, this annual dinner will celebrate local harvests and the vibrant environmental movement here in Ottawa. The four-course vegetarian menu will showcase some of Ottawa’s best produce and will be created in collaboration with Chef Murray Wilson of the Courtyard Restaurant.

Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots, volunteer-driven organization working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada. Their annual dinner sells out every year and we’re expecting the same for 2012. I started volunteering at Ecology Ottawa recently, becoming involved in the organization’s neighbourhood research project. While it’s unlikely I will ever become a full vegetarian, it’s been amazing learning so much about non-meat alternatives that are better for the environment. To me, it is all about balance and getting informed.

The MC for the October dinner will be CBC personality Adrian Harewood, and  the entertainment will feature a conversation with brothers Jeff and Jonathan Westeinde, from Windmill Developments, about how Ottawa can become a world-class environmental leader by transitioning to a more sustainable economy. Ecology Ottawa Chair Graham Saul will also give a keynote speech.

And, oh yeah, that music I mentioned? Duet Cantabile —  featuring Vlada Chametka on violin and Mikhail Rykov on guitar — will be performing arrangements of classical music and traditional Belarusian tunes.

We hope to see you — along with 400 other guests — at this exciting event, which helps fund important outreach and community-building projects. Together, we’ll celebrate the agricultural richness of our city and connect with others in the growing environmental movement.

Tickets are available online at or by calling (613) 860-5353. More information, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, is also available on the website.