One of the issues people talk about is how does one get locally grown produce through the winter months. Peak of the Market is a 67 year old Manitoba organization selling 120 varieties of Manitoba grown vegetables through out the year across Canada and internationally.
On October 20 over 125 people from all over Hastings County celebrated Creative Hastings at a Harvest Hastings Supper. The idea behind Creative Hastings was to showcase some of the people and organizations that are driving the growth of Hastings County’s creative rural economy. But we wanted to go beyond Richard Florida and the creative class. We wanted to make sure that we recognized the creative and innovative things that people were doing on the many farms across the county. That is how the Harvest Hastings Supper and Creative Hastings came together. It was a perfect opportunity to talk about the creative rural economy, highlight the creativity of Hastings County’s farmers, and taste some of the food that is grown right in our backyards.
Reading the article Rediscovering Natural Gas By Hitting Rock Bottom about the recent discovery of ways of extracting gas from shale at great depths in areas like Pennsylvania, reminded me of the story of James Paraffin Young, whom Scots claim to be the father of the oil industry.
My brother in law James Hawkins is an landscape artist living and working in the West Highlands of Scotland at Rhue Studio, Ullapool. He has an exhibition called The Straight Line Ramblers Club in London, England, from May 4 to May 9 at the SW1 Gallery, 12 Cardinal Walk, London. The exhibition includes many of his paintings of the mountains of Knoyart now owned by the The John Muir Trust. In the exhibition catalogue James Hawkins quotes John Muir, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike” “….. Wildness is a necessity…mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life”, (Son of the Wilderness, The Life of John Muir by Linnie Marsh Wolfe).
The idea of the 100-mile diet or a diet based on food grown within a 100-mile radius of where one lives has become popular partly because of a book by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. They chose the title 100 miles rather than 100 kilometres as it rolls of the tongue better.
For those who are interested in viewing climate trends and anomolies Environment Canada has information under the heading "Climate Trends and Variations Bulletins". Unfortunately it is not current, but it does show overall trends for temperature and percipitation across Canada and by region. So for example in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Lowlands region the wettest spring was 2011 and the warmest year was 2010. Generally the trends for both spring temperature and percipitation for this region is upward although there is quite a bit of variation from year to year.
We often hear about the bulge of old people making its way across First World nations. The consequences talked about include rising health care costs, disability scooters everywhere and, in Canada, more people ignoring Tim Horton's no loitering rule.
It is hard to imagine the scale of the cleanup work at Deloro without seeing it. At the public liaison committee meeting on May 17, Heather Hawthorne the communication consultant with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) showed a a video she had made of the work at on the red mud tailing on the east side of the Moira River. The contractors are laying huge rolls of geo- textile material across the tailings and then sewing the rolls together. They then put sand over the textile mat and will cover it with clay and topsoil. If everything goes well next spring they will plant 20,000 trees on this cover.
At the Hastings County Tourism Destination Development Working Group today, April 28, we were talking about farmers getting involved in tourism, not just farm bed and breakfast but also having camping on the farm of small huts or bothies. I came across this interesting website. Feather Down Farms in the UK are small working farms that offer cottage-style tents with traditional interiors; with feather beds, wood burning stoves and flush toilets. They have oil lamps and candles and hot showers near by. Children can get to know the farm and families can enjoy fresh produce. They can even rent a chicken coop complete with chickens during their stay.
At one of the farms you get the ingredients including fire wood, the recipe and cooking utensils to prepare a delicious Farmers Soup or Stew at your tent enough for four people. Each farm has a farm larder so families won't need to go to the supermarket. From the farmers' point of view the tents can be taken down in winter and stored. Some of the parks in Ontario have yurts, so why not yurts on farms. It is something to think about.
Hearing about the changes occurring in Egypt is inspiring to say the least. Indeed, if we needed a reminder to show how effective people power can be, there it is right in front of us.