Fri, 28 March 2008
Many forms of urban agriculture have existed for thousands of years.
As practical and environmentally responsible as growing food within a city can be, the art of gardening has seemingly disappeared in many urban settings. As current farming practices are proving to be unsustainable in the long-term, urban agriculture is looked upon by many as being a critical shift that needs to take place if we are to ensure a level of food security in the near and distant future.
The Farming in the City series will now be incorporating a new focus on urban backyard chickens. Raising poultry within an urban setting provides eggs, fertilizer, garden help and meat with a minimal environmental footprint. Having suffered decades of disconnection from our food, bringing the farm into the city, and in this case animals, can provide a much needed dose of agricultural and food awareness. It's this very disconnection that has allowed for the appalling conditions now found in factory egg and chicken barns.
Helping guide this series will be Bucky Buckaw and his Backyard Chicken Broadcast. Produced in Boise, Idaho at Radio Boise, Bucky hosts weekly segments on backyard chickening. His experience and knowledge can help guide any urbanite wishing to set up some backyard chickens. On this broadcast, we listen in on four Bucky Buckaw episodes: Intro, Shelter, Feed and Winter.
Backyard Chickens can present a controversial issue in many parts of North America. While many cities do indeed permit the raising of poultry within city limits, some cities do not. One of these "no chicken" cities is Nelson, BC. We will visit with one Nelsonite who has been working to reduce his ecological footprint, and in doing so, is defying the environmentally irresponsible City of Nelson bylaw.
Bucky Buckaw - Host, Bucky Buckaw's Backyard Chicken Broadcast (Boise, ID) - Bucky Buckaw gives advice on raising backyard chickens, as just one example of how a locally based economy can work. Through this segment, he informs listeners about the downside of factory farming and what kinds of toxic chemicals you can expect to find in the resultant livestock. He promotes organic gardening and composting, and supporting local farmers. He shares fascinating chicken lore from the millennia that will fascinate even those with no interest in birds.
Christoph Martens - Backyard Chicken Farmer (Nelson, BC) - Christoph has spent the last three years working towards greater self-sufficiency. He grows food year-round on his small city property and discovered that chickens are, among other benefits, an ideal pest management tool. He accommodates chickens, ducks and rabbits. Christoph believes the long-standing notion that city-life should be separated from farming has "run it's course" and it's time to move on from this "pseudo-royalty".
Fri, 14 March 2008
The Local Grain Revolution I
The state of farming and food production in North America has clearly evolved into such a poor state of affairs, little infrastructure and incentive remain to respond to this current demand for local product. While fruits and vegetables may be the most easily accessible local foods at farmers' markets and select grocery stores, grains are not often referred to when speaking of local food. When we start to envision what plant-based foods we're still missing out on in sufficient local quantities, we can list off wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt, flax, hemp, corn, and leguminous plants such as beans and lentils.
On this exciting broadcast, we explore the creation of a project launched by two conservation groups wishing to experiment with the creation of a local grain market in the middle of the mountains of British Columbia. Matt Lowe of Nelson's West Kootenay EcoSociety and Brenda Bruns of the Creston branch of Wildsight have teamed up with a number of farmers, processors, bakers and eaters, to see if such an idea is indeed possible.
The project will see three Creston-area farmers commit to growing three types of grain in the coming 2008 season. Two-hundred member shares will be issued to residents of Nelson and Creston, and come harvest time, those two-hundred members, will hopefully, receive 100lbs of whole grains. If requested, a miller in Creston and Nelson will be on hand to turn those grains into flour or flakes. This will ensure members are only using the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious product available.
Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools II
Guests/Voices (The Local Grain Revolution)
Matt Lowe, Climate Change Campaigner, West Kootenay EcoSociety (Nelson, BC) - The West Kootenay EcoSociety promotes ecologically and socially sound communities while protecting species and ecosystems in the Southern Columbia Mountains ecoregion. The organization hosted a highly successful Regional Climate Change conference in 2007.
Drew Gailius, Farmer, Full Circle Farm (Canyon, BC) - Drew and Joanne Gailius are new farmers. They sell most of their product at the farmgate. In the past two years they have successfully grown wheat and oats and are eager to find a local market to supply.
Other Voices: Keith Huscroft (Lister, BC), Brenda Bruns (Creston, BC), Jenny Truscott (Creston, BC), David Everest (Nelson, BC)
Guests/Voices (Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools)
Kodiak Morasky, 10-Year Old Student, Blewett Elementary School (Nelson, BC) - Kodiak's 10 years of age shouldn't fool you. He is deeply concerned with the state of Canada's food supply. His concerns include factory animal farms, genetic engineering and chemical pesticides among others. He is passionate about sharing this information with his friends and classmates.
Fri, 7 March 2008
When taking a closer look at the demographics of the Canadian workforce and dividing it up among trades, farmers represent the oldest demographic in the country at a median age of 52 years. Within agriculturally dense provinces such as Saskatchewan, in 2007, the average farmer was 56 years of age and only 12.3% of all farmers there were under the age of 35.
As skills and knowledge are replaced by fossil fuel dependent systems and technologies, this aging demographic represents a significant threat to the future of Canada's food supply.
Where are Canada's future farmers, and how does anyone interested in farming get involved?
In March 2008, Host Jon Steinman travelled to Sidney, B.C. to attend the annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC). On this broadcast, we listen in on one workshop titled, "Starting Your Organic Farm".
Write to a Farmer Who Inspires You
Robin Tunnicliffe, Farmer/Co-owner, Feisty Field Organic Farm / Saanich Organics (Victoria, BC) - Saanich Organics is a community of farmers from small, certified organic farms who work together: Three Oaks Farm, Northbrook Farm, and Robin's Feisty Field Organic Farm. Feisty Field grows a variety of fruits and vegetables near Prospect Lake within the city limits of Victoria. Robin is currently completing a Masters degree at the University of Victoria on the value of local agriculture.
Paul Edney, Author/Director, We Are What We Do (Nelson, BC) - Paul is the Canadian director of the International We Are What We Do movement. He authored the Canadian version of Change the World for Ten Bucks, which outlines fifty simple, everyday actions that everyone can do to make a difference, such as: take public transport, decline plastic bags where possible, plant a tree, and write to someone who inspires you. Change the World for Ten Bucks aims to create a global community of people who are what they do. It started in the UK, and has launched in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. Worldwide, over 400,000 copies are in print!