Sat, 12 September 2009
Nelson Urban Acres
Massachusetts Avenue Project
Paul Hoepfner-Homme - urban farmer, Nelson Urban Acres (Nelson, BC) - Paul is 28 years old and was fortunate to grow up in a gardener's oasis uncharacteristic of the norm in suburban Oakville, Ontario. His mother, a passionate gardener, transformed the lawns into a thriving landscape consisting of native plants and shrubs, vegetables and berries. Being raised in this environment gave Paul an early appreciation for what grows out of the ground. During university he developed a passion for sustainability when he read the novel Ishmael, and upon completing his computer science degree he made it his mission to learn how to live sustainably. This passion led him to enrol in a 7-month internship at Everdale, an organic farm in Ontario, where he gained valuable skills and knowledge in operating an organic vegetable farm. In 2008 he moved to the Kootenay region of British Columbia and took a Permaculture Design course in Winlaw where he gained a deeper understanding of growing food in relationship with ecosystems.
Diane Picard - executive director, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) (Buffalo, NY) - Diane has been with MAP since 1997. She was instrumental in opening the Neighborhood Outreach Center in 1998 and she currently directs Growing Green. She received a Masters of Social Work from Boston University, specializing in Program Planning and Community Organizing. Her undergraduate degree in International Agriculture and Development from Cornell University prepared her to teach agriculture and art at a rural secondary school in Botswana, where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1986-1988. Diane is devoted to grassroots community-building as a means of making positive change.
Sat, 5 September 2009
What is Retail Supported Agriculture?
As far as the North American local food movement is concerned, it's not a concept that has yet been coined in any notable way. The Kootenay Grain CSA (community supported agriculture) project located in the Kootenay region of British Columbia is now changing that.
Community Supported Agriculture is most often a model exclusively serving individual eaters (shareholders), whereby the eater invests in their food at the beginning of the season, providing the farmer with much-needed revenues up front when expenses are highest. The CSA model guarantees the farmer a market and secures the eater with whatever the harvest unearths. While eaters might not be used to such an idea, it's not a stretch for most eaters to commit to such a model. Retailers on the other hand are in a different position as the volumes used by bakeries, grocers and restaurants are substantially higher, requiring a much more significant investment. At the April 2009 meeting of the Kootenay Grain CSA, farmers and steering committee members discussed how businesses might be incorproated into the CSA project and the discussion that ensued was fascinating to say the least. Could this mark the beginning of a new model? Deconstructing Dinner sat in on the meeting to find out.
When shareholders in Canada's first CSA for grain received over 80 pounds of five varieties of whole grains in late 2008, many were left wondering what to do with it all. In comes Lorraine Carlstrom, a Nelson, B.C., resident who saw an opportunity to share her experience and create some part-time employment at the same time. Lorraine offered a series of workshops to CSA shareholders and on this episode, we listen in on a class on the ins and outs of sprouting grain. As Lorraine points out, sprouting grain has significant health benefits.
Lorraine Carlstrom, Chapter Leader, Weston A. Price Foundation (Nelson, BC) - Lorraine is a member of the Kootenay Grain CSA and a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation - a nonprofit, charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established parameters of human health and identified characteristics of what he saw as optimum human diets. Dr. Price's research sought to demonstrate that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods. The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.
Matt Lowe, co-founder, Kootenay Grain CSA (Nelson, BC)