In this episode, our guest Ivan Wadgymar (Maizal) shares his insights and experiences on the other side of farming: eating and the restaurant industry. He talks about how the pandemic has affected his own food business and what he sees as the role of restaurants in food security. Antonio and Janice also share how Cavaleiro Farm’s relationship with Ivan and his restaurant has impacted the farm and created a beneficial circular economy.
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2:12: Ivan shares: What’s the current vibe in the city (Toronto)?
3:10: What motivated Ivan to start Maizal, a restaurant in Toronto serving authentic Mexican cuisine (later named Libertad)
4:45: How market and demand shaped Ivan’s next venture: a tortilleria (Maizal) producing handmade tortillas made from farm-grown corn
6:17: How the pandemic has impacted Ivan’s restaurant
8:03: How Ivan works with Cavaleiro Farm and other farms to support his business
13:35: Why Ivan started his Zero Food Waste initiative with our farm (which has been recognized in the press and by the City of Toronto)
17:47: How food waste has positively contributed to our farm and farm animals
19:52: Current customer trends Ivan is seeing in the city in terms of local food, sustainability, and culturally appropriate food
21:47: What Ivan thinks works in terms of food businesses successfully connecting with their customers
24:13: The key thing Ivan thinks people need to know about food (and his intriguing perspective on restaurants being a luxury, not a necessity)
25:59: How COVID has actually helped people reconnect with their food more
26:47: “Restaurants don’t fit into food security”: Ivan and Antonio’s differing perspectives on the role of restaurants in our food system
30:05: Ivan’s future projections on the role of restaurants and how eaters access food, given the pandemic
33:28: Why it’s been important for Ivan to connect to farms and food systems outside of Canada
37:00: Why Antonio has found interacting with farmers from different cultures to be a perspective-shifting and rewarding experience (and how Ivan has helped to bridge that gap)
39:48: What Ivan sees as the opportunity in urban businesses connecting with peri-urban farms or farmland
41:30: How you can connect with Ivan and Maizal