Sunday, February 24, 2013

A dismal future

Edmonton has recently rezoned a bunch of our most fertile agricultural land guessed it, residential. Because apparently we need more giant houses and less food.

Brilliant plan, Edmonton. Is there nowhere else you can grow aside from the NE corner, which is some of the most fertile land in the province?

I love how our governments listen more to the men with money than to (in this case) the woman with the passion for growing good food. Anyone seen Riverbend Gardens at the farmer's market? They're the ones with the purple cauliflower, speckled beans, and giant carrots. I would be sad to see them go.

It's disheartening to know that our farms can, at any moment, be expropriated for a new highway so that big vehicles trucking produce from California can more easily get to us. Does it not seem highly illogical to anyone else? I guess Alberta doesn't have enough concrete yet. You can already see the scar of oil sands operations from space, why not see criss-crossing blacktop as well? Who needs to see "amber waves of grain" anyway.

It all really fits into the "Big Ag" mentality. Big Ag can get it done with tons of pesticides, cheap labor, and vast amounts of oil-based fertilizers, so why do we really need our small, ethical farms?

Here's the best part - the new area is called "Horse Hills". Unfortunately they're kicking out the horses and ploughing down the hills (probably putting a few man-made ones in strategic places along the way). But in 30 years, no one will even know that it was ever farmland. Few people will remember Riverbend Farms and thousands of people will be struggling to grow the perfectly green lawn over top of what used to be an abundantly fertile place.

Is that the kind of future we want?

Postscript: for those who live in the City of Edmonton, here's an email I received from the Greater Edmonton Alliance earlier today:

Hi folks
Well tomorrow is the day! The fork in the road so to speak as Edmonton City Council begins to hear and deliberate around the issue of the farm and food lands in northeast Edmonton. 

Here is how the afternoon will unfold
1:30: the Administration will present the Horse Hill Area Structure Plan to Council and Respond to Questions
- then the people speaking in support of the Area Structure Plan will speak and respond to questions City Council.
- then the people speaking against the Area Structure Plan will speak and respond to questions from City Council
We don't know how long that will take but everyone who registers to speak by 1:30 should have a chance to speak. The Hearings will carry over to the next day if need be.
- Following the presentations, City Council may ask more questions of Administration and may move to approve or make Amendments.


Prior to the Public Hearings, Radical Roots has organized a POP UP PICNIC. Here are the details:

an invitation to discuss food and democracy
in our city

     Monday February 25th
 Churchill Square
11:30pm - 1:00pm

*Bring your own lunch
*Bring a picnic blanket
*Bring picnic games (optional)
*Dress up as something that connects you to food (optional). 
Examples: vegetable costumes, chef, farmer, whatever inspires you!

Enjoy a picnic. Then share thoughts with others prior to heading into the public hearings on the Horse Hills Area Structure Plan.

Let’s remind city council that we love food, and that the decisions city council makes about development are connected to food and democracy. Let's gather so that we can get to know each other, align our understandings, and go into the hearings as educated and aware citizens.

There will be a few Radical Roots (wearing vegetable buttons or hats) to facilitate conversation. They are registered to speak at city council’s public hearing, and will convey the conversations that come up during the pop-up picnic to city council.

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