One of the most interesting parts of The Food Futurist venture is my getting in contact with many people, with many opinions about food. This usually generates active and stimulating discussions. Regardless of their background and their occupations, all the people that I meet are concerned with very similar issues: how to make sure we have enough affordable food, how to ensure that food is safe and healthy, and how to keep our ability to do this in the future.
This past weekend was no exception. I had been invited to Cape May, New Jersey to speak at the Cape May Forum about the future of food production. It was a good opportunity to hear comments and questions about the current food offering. For three days, I attended the other speakers’ presentations and I had the pleasure to have some good conversations with them. Although the different speakers had different angles on the subject of food, all these conversations were quite constructive and informative. As a sharp contrast with the heated and often aggressive statements that I can see in the media, traditional or online, all the exchanges at the Forum and around it were very respectful. I found this quite refreshing and encouraging for the future, eventually, it is necessary to evolve to food systems that can function and meet all the criteria, be it nutritional, social, environmental and financial.
However, there has been much more for me than the speaking and the discussions at the Forum. I have discovered a little gem with Cape May, NJ. I have met many kind people who are truly passionate about their community, and for good reasons. Cape May is a lovely town at the southern tip of New Jersey. The many Victorian houses aligned along the streets give this community a romantic charm that I have rarely seen elsewhere. Walking under the sycamore trees on Washington Street was a very soothing way of getting to the conference hall. The town center offers a group of pedestrian-only streets that make shopping safe and fun, just a couple of blocks away from the long sandy beach where encounters with the harmless prehistoric–looking horseshoe crabs are common. Nature lovers have many things to enjoy. Migratory birds pass and stop in Cape May, bringing many birdwatchers with them. In the second half of the summer, Monarch butterflies fly around the area in large numbers. Those who like a trip on the water can choose between various activities such as whale watching as sport fishing. To finish the day on a culinary note, Cape May offers an impressive choice of restaurants that will accommodate even the most delicate palate with excellent food and local wines.
Back on my way home, I had left Cape May a few friends richer.