Fri, 26 September 2008
Listen to a few broadcasts of Deconstructing Dinner, and choosing food may suddenly become an intimidating adventure. Of course there are alternatives to the industrial food system.
Enter the co-operative model of operating a business. Long an example in Canada of how people can assume control over our needs and resources, co-operatives is the focus of this ongoing series.
How does a co-operative differ from a traditional business? A co-operative is owned and democratically controlled by the people who use the services or by those working within the co-op. A co-op is operated for the benefit of members and members have a say in decisions affecting the co-op.
The urban area of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois has a population of around 200,000, but up until recently did not have a natural food store easily accessible to the public. There was however, an underground food co-operative in the basement of a church operating for over 30 years. In late August 2008, the Common Ground Food Co-op surfaced and it now sits above ground in a brand new building.
At a time where the economy in the United States is being hit hard and loans are a hard thing to come by, the Common Ground Co-op implemented an innovative financing model that sought close to half of its financial support from members themselves. Certainly a sign of a supportive community wishing to take greater control over their local food supply.
Jacqueline Hannah, General Manager - Common Ground Food Co-op (Urbana, IL) - Jacqueline has worked in retail and service management for over fifteen years and after my her first job working for a corporate bookstore chain, she has worked exclusively for independently owned shops. She pursued joining the co-op staff because she wanted to work somewhere that was truly in line with her ideals; where community always came before profit and where it was believed that fiscally sustainable business is not only possible when putting people and the planet first, but that its actually the way to thrive.
Clint Popetz, Board Chair - Common Ground Food Co-op (Urbana, IL) - Clint has been involved with the co-op since 2000, and has previously served as a Tuesday night coreworker, an outreach liaison at the farmer's market, a store operations coordinator, a facilitator for coordinator meetings, and a bread baker. Through his role as board chair he hopes to help build a strong and stable future for the co-op, helping to increase the level of empowerment and accountability within our organization in order to create a co-op that can achieve its goals of spreading the joy of good food and cooperation to a larger and more diverse community.
Sat, 13 September 2008
Since the Local Grain Revoltuion series first aired in March 2008, a lot has transpired as a result of that broadcast. The Nelson-Creston grain community supported agriculture (CSA) project has been mentioned in the House of Commons; it was a feature in a May issue of The Globe an Mail; and people from across North America have become inspired to seek out locally grown grain.
On this exciting part II of the series, Host Jon Steinman travels along with the first CSA tour, where members and farmers met for the first time. Members were given the opportunity to see the grain that would soon become their bread, cakes or pasta.
So long as the will and effort of a community chooses to make it happen, this broadcast captures just how easily we can all work together to resurrect local food systems.
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. Matt is the co-founder of the grain CSA.
Roy Lawrence, Farmer, Lawrence Farm (Creston, BC) - Roy is a third-generation farmer. He has long farmed using conventional methods but sees the CSA as an opportunity to transition to growing naturally.
Keith Huscroft, Farmer, Huscroft Farm (Lister, BC) - Keith is a fourth-generation farmer. His great-grandparents were the first white settlers in the Creston Valley and his farm has been in operation for about 100 years. Keith takes all measures to ensure no inputs are required on his farm. He uses mixed farming practices and fertilizes using only animal and green manures. He is one of a shrinking number of farmers farming with horses instead of fossil-fuel dependent technologies.
Tammy Hardwick, Manager, Creston & District Museum (Creston, BC) - Much of Creston's history is rooted in agriculture, however, much of this history is now found indoors at the Creston museum.
Mon, 1 September 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.
Since March 2008, The Farming in the City series has been incorporating a 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 agriculture and food awareness. It's this very disconnection that has allowed for the appalling conditions now found in factory egg and chicken barns.
And lending his voice once again to the series is 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 backyard chickens. On this third episode of the series, we listen in on three Bucky segments on the topic of eggs.
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".
Steve and Hazel - Backyard Chicken Farmers (Nelson, BC) - Steve and Hazel are rookie backyard chicken enthusiasts who now house chickens within a city that does not allow them
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.