Volume 22 Issue 3 — September/October 2016
by Melva Armstrong
I have really enjoyed the summer with all her warmth and sunshine, along with the moisture that keeps things growing and green. Our little garden sprouted up and has been taken over by huge squash leaves. They are amazing plants with gorgeous trumpet-style yellow flowers. I can see some squash forming underneath the massive canopy and I am always fascinated by the magical ways nature works. The beans and peas have been enjoyed, along with heaps of rainbow Swiss chard and romaine lettuce. Nothing else grew because the squash leaves spread out and covered up everything else we planted. We’ll know better for next year. We also have another area with potatoes and we’ll have to wait and see how they produce. All in all, it is always a joy to plant seeds and watch them grow and produce our own nutritious food.
It is now that time of year when many people in our province begin to reap what they have sown, from individual home gardens, to community gardens, to the massive crops of canola, flax, wheat, barley, rye, corn, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and more. We are truly blessed to have so much abundance all around us. I think it is imperative, however, to recognize the importance of being able to grow and produce one’s own food, especially since so much of what is produced has been genetically modified, sprayed with toxic chemicals, irradiated, and, in many cases, processed so that most of the nutrients have been lost, and what is left is generally combined with a plethora of other harmful ingredients. Then, the food is put on the store shelves and many people buy and eat it, and in most cases without likely knowing the truth of what they are putting into their bodies. I am an advocate for reading food labels, for educating ourselves about food, and for supporting local farmers and farmers’ markets. If we don’t support them, they may disappear and then what would we be left with? I don’t recommend we go that direction. So, let’s think positive and find ways to keep our food supply safe and healthy and flowing abundantly from local sources.
Over this past year, we’ve had a series of articles from local farmers in The Farmers’ Table group, who are dedicated to their work and to providing sustainable, wholesome food locally. I trust these articles have given you some good resources to consider. Hélène Tremblay-Boyko is the author of this issue’s article called, BreadRoot Farm: An Earth-centred Community (p. 14), in which you’ll discover they produce certified organic beef along with organic oats, organic wheat, and organic hemp. For all the farmers in this group, their work is a labour of love, for which I am truly grateful. Let us support these farms so they can continue to provide the province with healthy local food and other natural products.
On the same theme of supporting the local economy, we have included Benjamin Galay’s timely article called, Introducing the 100-mile Diet: Buying and Eating Locally Grown Food (p. 30). He poses a number of questions for you to consider about the food you buy and where it comes from and he challenges you to try buying and eating only food that is produced within a 100-mile radius of where you live. It may be a tall order, but it certainly would make you think twice about where your food comes from, as well as allowing you to support your local producers. This is also an awesome way to meet new folks in your area and gain new friends.
This autumn, we are blessed to have the Organic Connections Conference and Trade Show being held in Regina at the Conexus Arts Centre, November 3–5. You can read Nadine Collison’s profile about it on page 7. It is Western Canada’s largest organic farming conference and this year’s theme is Organics: Resilience in a Time of Change. There will be many knowledgeable speakers, plenty of exciting exhibits, and lots of delicious organic food. Early-bird tickets are on sale now.
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I am looking forward to enjoying those beautiful orange and yellow colours on the trees, the cool touch of the wind on my face, the crunchy noise of the fallen leaves under my feet, the geese honking as they head south, and the warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, while I sit outside soaking up the beauty of Mother Nature.
There is lots of good reading in this issue to help you stay healthy and happy, so please don’t miss any of it.
(The spirit in me honours the spirit in you)