Yesterday (March 27, 2014) I attended the FoodcoreLGL Food Charter launch in Perth, ON. What an awesome all day event! We had great speakers, like Cathleen Kneen and Peter Andree. Peter spoke first, about today's food situation in Canada, from Nova Scotia to Ontario and more. This was in relation to the Good Food Revolution we have seen grow in the last number of years. The Revolution is a direct response to the "pushing of food systems to extremes." The concept of Peak Everything, or Peak Oil, Peak Water, and Peak Soil was introduced as well. Perhaps most dramatic and disturbing, was a slide showing drawings by Mexican children, ages 4 and 5. Children living adjacent to a pepper farm made pictures that were mere scribbles. Children living north of the pepper farm, on their own farms and gardens, made the typical stick figure drawing a child that age would make. Why the incredible difference? The theory has it that the pesticides used on the pepper farm, often from crop dusters flying overhead, has affected their development. Very frightening.
The other speaker was the audacious Cathleen Kneen. Her concept of food, that it is sacred, that it is not a right, but a basic necessity. Food is the way to connect people, from family and friends to entire communities. It's what connects us to every other human being. A great quote, and I paraphrase: "Any jurisdiction that can't feed its people, is at the mercy of whoever can." That in a nutshell really explains the situation today. We are in the unenviable position of being at the mercy of Industrial Food and all its allies. As I like to say, if you can't change the system, go around the system.
The launch was also valuable for people connecting with people. I met a number of people I knew, but haven't seen in some time, so it was good to reconnect. I also met some new folks in different fields like nursing, representatives of the local Health Unit, and community food program creators. One great example was The Table, a community food centre. The Table has a whole raft of programs for all ages, from children to seniors, all involving food and/or gardening. It was a lively day, lots of great discussions, and incredible energy and enthusiasm. You will be hearing more from this group.
Some sites to check out:
www.foodcorelgl.ca Foodcore's website and contact info.
www.thetablecfc.org A community food group based in Perth.