NDACT Winter 2015 Newsletter

As you hopefully know by now, the The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has declared this the International Year of Soils. That may not sound very exciting, but then soil hasn’t exactly gotten celebrity status in the media. NDACT, in particular our Food and Water First Team, promote the protection of food and water, and it is our land, consisting of mostly soil, that underpins all of this.

We learned during the mega quarry battle that Honeywood loam was a rare and precious type of soil, a variety that farmers everywhere would want to have. Without public outcry we could have lost it, as it is being lost around the world and in our own backyard. Public gathering with a united voice is itself getting some focus lately. That big things happen when people speak together has been the subject of study in recent years. The concept has been called collective impact.

Some of us became involved in this mega issue at Foodstock. I remember the thrill of seeing thousands of people gathering for a cause. That was the basis of the movement’s success: lots of people speaking as one and opposing something together. That is the foundation for our efforts here at NDACT/FAWF: outreach and education so that everyone in Ontario understands that our food security is at risk.

Those of us in rural areas see lots of farmland around us, yet Ontario in 2013 exported 11 billion in agricultural products and imported 22 billion– so says the Ministry of Agriculture. That net food deficit speaks volumes on our current dependence on foreign food. That dependence is reversible however (see the newsletter’s Final Words). We can increase our demands for local food and economies, encouraging a strong and resilient local food system. One that provides us with fresh and healthy food.  That makes the farmland we have all the more precious. 

If you attend the Orangeville winter Farmers’ Market, or other local Farmers’ Market, you’ll see how some of that wonderful produce makes its way into the winter months supported by a thriving meat and dairy industry. It’s more than enough to keep us hanging on until spring. A most wonderful time of year in Dufferin. Fresh breezes, new growth and shiny new lawn signs are just around the corner!

Shirley Boxem

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