We Must Build Community and Food Security

As Karen Theriault stated, in a recent article, “Healthy Diet too Costly for Some: Expert,” in the Chronicle Herald publication, “We know that Nova Scotia has a particularly high rate of food insecurity with about one in six households experiencing this.” We know from farmers locally that growing food is getting more and more difficult. In fact, even mid-income households report that a lot of the vegetables and fruits are unaffordable now that drought and other factors of the climate change crisis that have driven up the prices for imported produce as well, all which spell more food insecurity in Nova Scotia.
People struggling without property or capacity to profit, even the working poor and the lower middle class, who are also MORE insecure than if they were working communally, building more resilient communities, have to face the runaway climate emergency without the cushion of “means,” [though, as the difficult-to-attribute (Alanis Obamsawin is one source) quote, “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” points to], we need new, radical strategies to secure food for everyone.
 
Before the notion of private property and profit, was that of the “Common,” by which all indigenous and pockets of other cultures (including in Nova Scotia in my grandmother’s era) shared resources sustainably. An example of this in present-day has occurred, for the last five years, on the Halifax Peninsula, on land that belongs to the people–the Halifax Commons. This movement is called the Common Roots Urban Farm which catalyzed and enriched food production capacity for food banks and any citizens who paid the $40 fee for a growing plot at the now demolished Queen Elizabeth High School site. Now this vital development has been forced to move to make way for a new hospital (where many of the diseases being treated are largely as a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices (of which the sufferers of them have few) . The “irony loop” never ends.)
 
Apparently, no socially-minded citizen with fallow land has offered to lease to this vital health movement of urban farming. But, wait! Directly across the street from that site is another parcel of “Common” land, the site of the now demolished Saint Patrick’s High School. A citizens’ group has collected over seven thousand signatures for the municipal council imploring them to allow the Common Roots Urban Farm, a movement, the like which we will need more and more, as produce becomes too expensive to buy and too hard to grow.
 

We need strategies to apply the new Canada’s Food Guide with its 50% vegetables and fruits at every meal. How else can most segments of the population begin to attain this standard if we don’t sometimes shift our thinking away from prioritizing a monetary tax base of “condos for the rich” to the basic needs of the majority? This requires politicians to be far-thinking in the service of survival for the many, instead of short-sighted in the service of covering our common lands with private enterprises for the recreational and pecunious obsession for power and luxury of the few. This part of the common should be available to all citizens who need to grow and supply food to themselves and the neediest. Otherwise, the new Canada’s Food Guide will only be for the few who can afford its platform.

 

By Joanne Light

Green Greetings from Parish of Blandford

The Parish of Blandford is busy with lots of green projects. Read on to find out more and how to get involved!

Pens, Markers and highlighter project.

Bic alone makes over 8 billion units of writing instruments a year. Until
recently everyone threw away their dry pens and markers. Staples supports
a project by Teracycle that turns those pens and markers into bench ends
and clipboards. So far since we started last year on Earth Day, we have
collected 2200 pens. Maybe that sounds nice but what I am proud of is that
we have, as of this week, EIGHT collector stations in a 30km radius. A new
bin goes into a day care on Monday. It’s a small thing but has really got
interest recently.

Bottle cap project

Knowing how bottlecaps are killing hundreds of seabirds and mammals
yearly, two years ago we started collecting bottlecaps but had no place to
really pass them to until Matt’s Bottle Exchange started accepting them
for a project. We just passed in our first few gallons of caps. What I am
proud of here is a partnership I am trying to foster between Mathew and a
large company with a thousand employees in Dartmouth. I will brag when it
goes through.

Eye Glasses
Just a tiny project as we are a collector point for the Lion’s Club

Planting Night
For seven years we held a planting night on the Friday closest to Earth
Day. It was a great time to teach how to grow in all sorts of containers,
make bird feeders and have a multi generational night together. This year
we are changing a bit and passing out planting kits. See our Facebook page
or www.grandmasgoingreen.com for updates

Community Gardens
There are garden boxes back of the community centre. I just got this job
half way through last summer, so I topped up the gardens and are ready to
give away plots. I’ll brag as the season goes on

If any of these projects interest anyone I can get them started. If anyone
needs help or needs us for a collector spot for their project, we are here
to help

Claudia Zinck
www.grandmasgoinggreen.com