CHAUTAUQUA, a traveling institution begun on Chautauqua Lake, NY, and with Canadian roots in Methodist Temperance rallies, which carried education, inspiration and entertainment to isolated communities across North America. John M. Erickson brought the idea from the US to Alberta in 1917. Chautauqua was a traveling college with lectures on cultural and science based topics. Chautauqua was a stage where plays and music were performed. Chautauqua was a library that encouraged people to read the classics and new discoveries in literature. Chautauqua was a gathering of people at a certain time and place to share and learn more about their world
PEACE CHAUTAUQUA is proposed as an ongoing gathering of Peace area communities and community members with a focus on developing a community based food culture in the Peace River area.
Over the last few generations we have all relinquished, to varying degrees, sovereignty over our core material and social rights. The advance of social change and technology has made us isolated in a much different way than the pioneers of our region. Our lives are now regulated by layers of bureaucracy and distraction that have moved us into vulnerable positions as individuals and communities. The common understanding in community food security research is … that within the current economic model, there is only a three day supply of food in grocery stores… nation wide. If there is disaster or disruption of this supply chain, our lives and communities are in jeopardy.
Good food at the dinner table in each of our homes is what we all share in common. It is what our grand parents were able to provide for themselves, from their own lands, with the help of neighbors. We all have a piece of this map to remember, to reclaim and to share towards a renewed heritage that gathers daily at the dinner table in each of our homes and communities.
PEACE CHAUTAUQUA seeks to invest in creating food abundance.
The one principal that is most common to all our lives is our need to eat and our compassion to feed others. This joyful activity centers around each of us and the tens of thousands of gardens, kitchens and tables of our neighbors. In this greater neighborhood resides a vast wellspring of experience comprised of thoughtfully tended homes, gardens, produce and animals. There is always someone you know… who knows someone… who knows about the growing of food, or the history and culture of food in their local area. Within each of these folk is a life’s collection of stories, recipes, gardening wisdoms, kitchen talents and the many secrets of the pantry and stove. Many of these wisdoms are vanishing, year by year as our elders pass away.
PEACE CHAUTAUQUA proposes that in rotation, each engaged community hall, church or barn be open to host a local expression of CHAUTAUQUA on a monthly rotation. Drawing locally on the gardens, pantry, cooks, recipes, lectures, gardening wisdom, stories, tools, books, experts, history, demonstrations, local free range music, art and hand crafts; and everything that connects people to the dinner table. A centralized information website would let everyone know which community was hosting a CHAUTAUQUA and folks from other communities would have an opportunity for an outing to sample the spirit of food, wisdom, entertainment of the greater dinner table in the region