COVID and the Terroir Virtual Symposium
Whether it be personal or professional, COVID-19 has had a massive impact on all of our lives. As a program whose basis is connection and communication with the hospitality industry, the Ocean Wise Seafood program has had to adapt in many ways to continue to do the work that we do. The same can also be said for many of our partners across Canada and around the world.
When COVID-19 reared its ugly head and we realized that it would be sticking around for a while, the Culinary Tourism Alliance and their powerhouse team decided to step up to the plate and make some major changes to their annual event, the Terroir Symposium. With remarkable grace and ingenuity, they managed to turn the Terroir Symposium, an in-person networking and dining full day extravaganza into a three-day virtual symposium. They brought the same level of engagement and connection to this event through innovations such as their own event app, virtual networking rooms and a Terroir Box filled with goodies to celebrate all things local and Ontario from the safety of your socially-distanced couch.
The Ocean Wise Seafood program was thrilled to be involved by hosting a panel discussion with Ocean Wise Seafood partners to both highlight the positives of the aquaculture industry and provide a space for delegates to meet their fish farmers. This panel included Trout Farmer Susan Cole of Cole Munro who stood as the representative for the Ontario Aquaculture Association, Land-Based Salmon Farmer Yanick Hofstetter of Bluehouse Salmon and Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall. Each speaker brought their perspective of sustainable and local seafood as key to their brands and success.
At Ocean Wise Seafood, we often find ourselves in discussions with consumers who think that wild = good and farmed = bad. We felt that a panel like this would help to shift the narrative and highlight that, when done properly, aquaculture can be an excellent and sustainable way to produce seafood. Most people do not realize that over 50% of the seafood we consume in the world is farmed and in Ontario specifically it is possible to eat many local sustainable seafood options and support your local fish farmers at the same time.
In addition to meeting your fish farmers, we had Chef Jason Bangerter incorporate his chef perspective and share how working with Ocean Wise Seafood has allowed him to confidently build out a menu that is making a positive impact on our oceans. Chef spoke of the Ocean Wise Seafood program as a useful resource for his culinary team to enhance their knowledge on all the seafood they serve to their customers and to learn more about why he should not be serving other species as well.
Through social media, and the Terroir App, we had a lot of opportunity for engagement throughout the three-day symposium. Through the networking rooms, delegates were able to share their experiences in the face of COVID and tell their sustainability success stories and challenges. Ultimately, we were able to truly connect to the theme of the symposium, the power of collaboration, at a time when digital connections have never been more important. All we can say is, we can’t wait for the next one!
Blog written by Isabella Sulpizio, Senior Accounts Specialist Ocean Wise Seafood