Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rain and Regulations - They're killing small farms

I feel like Winnie the Pooh in the story "Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day. When I was a little girl we had this on a 45 (record) and had a read along book that slipped into the record jacket. It wasn't until I was in my teens I even discovered it was a cartoon. But I remember reading along and had it all memorized.

It's still raining. The sand in the ring has gone beyond it's saturation point now and there are a few inches sitting on the surface. Every depression is filled with water and it's still raining. But still, we're luckier than some who are having terrible flooding this year and more rain still falling.

This is not a good year for farmers and for many it's now too late to try planting a crop, even if the ground was dry enough to be workable with machinery, which it is not. But how would you feel if you were just growing veggies one day and the local government came in and told you that you couldn't do it anymore. Well, I posted in the Fall that Lantzville Council was telling a local farm couple, Dirk Becker and Nicole Shaw that they can't raise food anymore on their rural acreage for sale. I'm sorry to say that they're still battling it out.

It's bad enough to have to battle pests, weather, and other natural conditions without authorities causing a problem too. They say they support local agriculture although they certainly have a lot of work to do to prove that to voters. I understand that some neighbours want cute lawns and they tell him he should move further into the country. Well why doesn't anyone suggest that it's not husbanding of land to waste it under a lawn. And if these people want nice landscaping why don't THEY move into town? See my next post on City People in the Country

It makes it harder and harder to feed ourselves and have some surplus left to benefit others. This is just one case of regulations that don't have any foresight. Can't we look at where the population is going? 7 billion people this year. That's more mouths to feed. So how can WE increase OUR food security? This applies in Australia, Canada, US, UK, France, Israel, Germany.....everywhere, not just India or China or Africa. In a world where the Monsanto giants are trying to take over, how do we little guys fight back to keep options available for our children?

I'm not advocating keeping cows in the city. I'm advocating land use regulations that recognize the importance of small growers and producers to our communities food security. That educate people who decide to live in the country as to what is normal agricultural practice such as manure spreading. Living in the country is not all strolls down country lanes. We should be putting land in the Agricultural Land Reserve and indeed all rural and farm-able land, to good use. Over time even marginal land can be made productive. When Stephen and I get our own place we'll actually get to see the benefits of manures and compost over time, and I can hardly wait! But dealing with regulations can be a pain in the neck. Even in a distinctly rural province like Nova Scotia, there are localized rural areas that do not allow livestock. They've missed the point of understanding that animals fertilize the ground which grown their food, which in turn grows more food...see it's an endless cycle, or it should be at any rate.

Here's Dirk Becker's news story.

And if you think that seems dumb, watch this Police Raid in an Organic Co-op.

Nicole Shaw has written about her experiences dealing with Lantzville here and it's definitely worth a read.

Yikes! And it's getting worse all the time. But keep your chins up my gardening friends, the tide will turn before you know it and we'll be popular again. Or if the world goes to pot we'll still have food and the ability to be able to grow more next year next year. Community and victory gardens are making a slow comeback.

We have to stand up for our rights to choose what we grow and how. It's our lunch after all! And it's not even the giants like the FDA or Monsanto who cause problems. Sometimes self suffiency people squabble. Take the Dervaes Family for example. They got a copyright on the phrase "Urban Homesteading" and now lots of people using this common phrase are getting cease and desist letters. It's ridiculous. They went from being heroes in the eyes of most small producers and gardeners to being villains.

I guess when it comes down to it, it's all about being a good neighbour. Both to those who live close to you physically, those who rely on your farm's produce and those who live with you on the planet.

More tomorrow on what we want in a house.

Enough ranting, I'm starting to nod off onto my computer. TTYL

1 comment:

  1. You have got to be kidding me. Copyright on "urban homesteading"?!?!?! Can you even do that? I wonder if i could use "urbanish homesteading"?

    One again i have to quote albert einstein. "only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And i'm not too sure about the universe" or something to that effect.