Tag Archives: factory farming

Seed Banks Are Rewriting the book on food security

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Organic farmer Adam Schick holds a single Rembrandt pea aloft in the light of his drying shed to contemplate the magic and generosity of nature.

“There we go. From that we’ll get 50 peas next year. Just from one little tiny seed,” Schick said. “There’s no reason why there should be any insecurity when it comes to food.”

Simply put, access to seeds means access to food, says the market gardener for Linnaea Farm ⁠— a 314-acre organic co-operative land trust dedicated to sustainable agriculture, the environment and education on Cortes Island, B.C.

But the privatization and consolidation of seed production over time has driven down seed diversity — which in turn threatens food sovereignty and resilience to climate change, Schick said.

So, Linnaea Farm is setting up a seed library to keep more seeds in the public domain and to ensure they change along with the local climate.

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Tamara McPhail Talks About Small Farming & Linnaea Farm

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Every May, long-time farmer Tamara McPhail’s day begins and ends with frog song. Followed closely by the chatter of birds.

McPhail, her partner and their two kids live off-grid in a fortified yurt with a dugout basement, which means even inside the walls of their home, the family maintains a close connection to nature.

“We’re essentially living in a glorified tent, so in the mornings I awaken to the dawn chorus right now,” said McPhail.

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Shocked, Shocked?

[An earlier version of this article originally appeared in Medium, an online magazine, under the title “The Price Tag.”]

The influenza epidemic of 1918 — as most of us are remembering or discovering right about now — killed about 50 million people worldwide between 1918 and 1920. At that time, the world population was perhaps about 1.8 billion people (as opposed to today’s approximately 7.8 billion people). So to achieve the same statistical impact, a pandemic today would have to kill about 200 million people (or approximately 2/3 the population of the US). Spread of the disease was greatly aided by military deployment at the end of WWI, and by the poor physical condition and abysmal living conditions of troops in the trenches. So far, Covid-19 is not even remotely in the league and hardly merits comparison. However, that could change. Like the old Carpenters song, it’s only just begun.

My second reaction to Covid-19 was one of puzzlement or frustration (I’ve written about the first reaction elsewhere). All around me, people were not only scared or appalled, but bewildered, outraged, shocked. What a freakish thing to happen, how unfair, how incredible, how surreal! A pandemic? A Plague? How mediaeval! Who woulda thunkit? How could that happen here?

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Overshooting Our Planet’s Resources

By Roy L Hales

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Rex Wyler spoke of a wolf pack that found a valley full of deer. Initially, they flourished and grew plentiful. Only they were too successful. They eventually ate all the deer and there was no food left for the wolves. Humanity is in a similar situation, overshooting our planet’s resources.

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