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Things Are Good: The Rise of Urban Agriculture

Industrial agriculture is not kind to the environment and has been attributed to deforestation of the rainforest to the massive bee die-off. Yet, we find ourselves attached to this 20th century model of centralized production. Lucky for civilization, this is changing!

Small scale urban agriculture is getting large enough as an industry to compete with the large scale industrial production.

Urban agriculture in large cities goes a long way in redefining the food industry, he said. Piloted by Alvarez and fellow Humber College Graduate Craig Petten, Aqua Greens is trying to do just that with an innovative yearlong growing cycle. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: As California drought drives up BC food prices…a dam to flood our best farmland?

California’s Central Valley is facing record drought conditions

As British Columbians share a meal this weekend, giving thanks for the food with which we are so blessed, year-round, let us pause for a moment to consider where so much of it comes from: California.

Let us also say a prayer for the last truly productive tracts of local farmland we have left, now threatened by industrial development – first and foremost being the Peace River Valley, in northeast BC, where the proposed Site C Dam could wash away enough good agricultural terrain to feed a million people.

BC depends on (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Perfect Cuppa

I was incited to blog about the “perfect” cuppa by an article in The Guardian titled, “How to make tea correctly (according to science): milk first.” As a user of many tea bags – a single bag per cup – I must protest. You cannot possibly get a decent cup of tea that way. The […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Extra Virginity

For some time before I got this book, I’ve been aware that there is more to olive oil than meets the eye. Or tongue. How much more really was startling. When I started reading Tom Mueller’s 2012 book, Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, I was simply amazed at how little I […]

The Common Sense Canadian: BC Hydro vastly underestimates loss of farmland to Site C Dam

At a recent press conference in Vancouver, renowned agrologist Wendy Holm and lifelong Peace Valley farmer Renee Ardill spoke to the vast, quality farmland that the proposed Site C Dam would flood or disrupt.

“These soils are completely unique,” explained Holm, a past president of the BC Institute of Agrologists.

They are in an east-west running valley with a Class 1 climate. They are alluvial soils. These were undervalued by the BC Hydro process.

In fact, Hydro counted just 13% of the land that would be lost to future agriculture in its environmental report on the dam, Holm charged. She testified (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Freegan Food Activist Exposes Grocery Industry Waste

You’ve got to hear about Rob. He’s an interesting guy, doing what I did last Summer except on a much larger and more successful scale.

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Food for thought

Check out this short video from The Peace Valley Environment association and The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis on the extraordinary agricultural land that would be flooded by the proposed Site C Dam.

The Peace River Valley, in northeast BC, provides much of the province’s energy needs from two large dams and tens of thousands of gas wells. It is also home to some of the country’s best agricultural land, now it is threatened by the proposed Site C Dam, which would flood or disrupt 30,000 acres of rich farmland – enough, say expert agrologists, to feed a million people.

With (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C: Damning the Peace…while US decommissions hydro projects

Damien Gillis and Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Suzy Hamilton discuss Canada’s plan to build a massive new hydroelectric project on the Peace River, while America is busy decommissioning dams.

The Peace is home to some of Canada’s best farmland, 30,000 acres of which would be impacted by the dam – enough to feed a million people. Meanwhile, Site C will likely cost taxpayers well over $10 Billion and continue driving up power bills.

Based on BC’s electrical self-sufficiency and the different stories the public has been told about the need for the project – from powering proposed liquefied natural gas projects and exporting excess (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Avoid Brown’s Social House

Nicola Tee wrote:

Hey! Just wondering why you have the archaic & sexist rule that your waitresses have to wear a minimum 1″ heel while they’re on their feet all night? The men don’t have the same rule. That’s terrible, and I actually won’t be back because of it. Please pass that on to head office, thanks.

Brown’s wrote: “the policy that our girls need to be in a 1″ heel is a brand standard…”

I won’t be opting to return to Browns because of this. I’m also going to be telling my friends to avoid Browns, and will (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Another fad bites the dust

The gluten-free fad took another major hit to its already weakened credibility this week when researchers who had first diagnosed “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” found out that, oops, they were wrong. It doesn’t exist. A story in Business Insider tells the tale. In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key […]

Things Are Good: Save the Oceans!

What’s a marine biologist doing talking about world hunger? Well, says Jackie Savitz, fixing the world’s oceans might just help to feed the planet’s billion hungriest people. In an eye-opening talk, Savitz tells us what’s really going on in our global fisheries right now — it’s not good — and offers smart suggestions of how we can help them heal, while making more food for all.

The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley farmland, ecosystems worth $8 Billion a year: study

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

Keeping the Peace Valley’s farmland and ecosystems intact would be worth $7.9 billion to $8.6 billion a year, says a new study from the David Suzuki Foundation.

The region, in northeast BC, is under threat from the proposed Site C Dam – which would flood or disturb over 30,000 acres of prime agricultural land – along with natural gas fracking operations, logging, mining and other forms of industrialization. The study is a follow-up to an earlier report which analyzed the area via satellite imagery, determining that some 67% (Read more…)

Things Are Good: You Can Lower Greenhouse Emissions With a Simple Change in Diet

Want to lower your impact on the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted to bring you food? Yes, you can ride your bike (or walk, or take the bus) to the grocery store instead of driving, but there’s an even simpler solution: adopt a vegetarian diet.

Researchers in the UK have concluded that the production of meat and animal-based foods produce a ton of waste.

The production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than plant-based foods. The objective of this study was to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions between self-selected (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Supermarket Loves Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

Just because it’s not good looking doesn’t mean it tastes bad. Growers take their odd-looking fruit and usually sell it to juice, soup, or canneries instead of grocery store. One grocery store chain in France decided to take the produce usually rejected by consumers and make something fun out of it. This marketing synopsis covers what they did:

Intermarché launched the Inglorious Fruits&Vegetables, a film, print, poster and radio campaign, celebrating the beauty of the Grotesque Apple, the Ridiculous Potato, the Hideous Orange, the Failed Lemon, the Disfigured Eggplant, the Ugly Carrot, and the Unfortunate Clementine. Now you can eat (Read more…)

Things Are Good: LED Farms Could be the Growing Fields of the Future

As humans flock to cities and the surround them with suburban sprawl we have covered some of the most arable lands in concrete. This has caused problems of food security, access, and sustainability. Urban farming is nothing new and will continue to spread, but what about industrial-scale farming in cities?

A farmer in Japan has taken an old warehouse and modified it into an enamours and efficient farming operation using specialized low-powered LEDs.

The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Lore of Tea

Whoa! Down the rabbit hole I tumbled this week. I started reading about tea in several books I recently purchased. What a story. What a delight! Many hours spent between the pages absorbing culture, history, types, classifications, production, terroirs and marketing.* I’ve read bits and pieces about tea before; mostly history and cultural notes; some […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Cup of Dragon Well

Legend has it that, in the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1711-1799 CE), the grandson of the Emperor Kangxi, went on a holiday to the West Lake district, in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province, China. He stopped at the Hu Gong Temple, nestled under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan). There, he was presented by […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: May and June Breads

The past month I haven’t done as much baking as usual – just been too busy to do much, plus I was away for a long weekend holiday in Toronto. So June saw a mere two loaves baked. I made a few others in late May, however. The two most recent loaves were a poolish-levain […]

The Common Sense Canadian: David Suzuki: Time to save bees and ban neonic pesticides

Neonic pesticides “pose a serious risk of harm to honey bees and other pollinators,” a new study warns.

Bees may be small, but they play a big role in human health and survival. Some experts say one of every three bites of food we eat depends on them. The insects pollinate everything from apples and zucchini to blueberries and almonds. If bees and other pollinators are at risk, entire terrestrial ecosystems are at risk, and so are we.

New report slams neonic pesticides

Well, pollinators are at risk. And we know one of the main causes of their alarming death (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Food Babe and other nonsense

She’s been called the “Jenny McCarthy of food.” That’s not a compliment and should warn anyone with half a brain to beware of her. She’s a New Age wingnut helping turn the public from science to superstition. She’s also been described as the “latest quack making a name for herself on the Internet by peddling pseudoscience” […]

Trashy's World: Greekonwheels

In Ottawa – timing sux. Don’t recommend. Seriously. 1.5 hours on a Sunday night. #poorservice #noexcuses #takeout #ottawa (0) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

The Common Sense Canadian: Leaked emails reveal old plan to plow ALR, disdain for First Nations

Former Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm is drawing fire for racist comments about First Nations

Read this May 28 Globe and Mail story by Justine Hunter and Mark Hume on a series of emails involving former Liberal Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm and Energy Minister Bill Bennett, revealing longstanding plans to open up the Agricultural Land Reserve to the energy industry. Bill 24 was passed in the Legislature yesterday, amid fireworks over the emails, which also attacked First Nations for standing int he way of the plan – drawing fire from native leaders.

…NDP agriculture critic Nicholas Simons said leaked e-mails demonstrate the ministers behind Bill (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Failure and Redemption

The past month has seen the rise, fall and rise again of my bread making efforts. Mid-month, in April, I was having some success making sourdough breads and was looking at trying some experiments with herbs and other ingredients. Maybe look at other specialty breads, too. But late in the month I tried a cheese […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Corky Evans: How YOU can help save the ALR in 5 min

Former BC Environment Minister Corky Evans (Photo: RichardHughes.ca)

An Open Letter to Almost Everybody:

My name is Corky Evans. I garden and farm in the Kootenays of B.C. Many years ago I was the Minister of Agriculture.

I do not understand popular culture or electronic communication. I have not learned to do Facebook. What I have been told is that when people find something interesting from someone they trust, they send it on to other people and in this way it is possible to engage more people, faster, than ever before.

I have decided that this technology that (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Still hot and getting hotter

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since I last updated my web page on hot sauces, and about 15 since I first wrote it. My, how times flies. So many years, so many hot sauces since then. I’ve been a hot sauce aficionado for much longer than that, though. Most of […]