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Solution #2- Integrate Rather than Segregate! – Kym Chi

27 Nov

Integrate rather than segregate is actually one of the most valuable permaculture principles.  It speaks to looking at how things can work together as a whole instead of separating everything that is different and grouping everything together that is the same.

We see this a lot in our society whether it be in schools with cliques, in agriculture with monoculture, in our communities with cultural differences and in our current class system with upper, middle and lower class.  When we have too many of the same things grouped together in a system it eventually causes for that system to become stagnant as it ends up with too much of one thing and not enough of another.

How can we go about fixing this?

I know that when I was younger I was taught that being different was bad, that thinking outside of the box was silly.  How many other children are being taught this?  Most of us are taught to think within the current system instead of being encouraged to think of ways things could be different.  We perpetuate the cycle of segregation and we constantly fight integration.  The reality is that integration is the natural way.  If you look at a thriving natural system you see that there is a lot of diversity to make that system function.  It operates successfully and abundantly only because of the diversity it offers.  If we took this model into our current system we could also operate more efficiently.  I propose that we spend more time encouraging students in schools to think outside of the box.  This can be done by offering various teaching styles to students, surveying students and asking them for ideas on how we can do things differently and rewarding them for having different ideas instead of making them feel outcast or silly.  Encourage children to learn from each others differences and understand the value in diversity instead of being fearful of it.  The reason why I focus so much on schooling as our youth are our future and I know much of the thought patterns I have struggled to turn around come from my childhood and youth, we should start there.

Breeding openness to ideas amongst our youth will also open up our next generation to diversity and acceptance.  It will allow for others to really see the value in differences and alternative ideas.  In turn we will have a diverse system with enough of everything to make it function as a whole.

Love and Light,
Kym Chi

Food and Water Security Part 1 – Allan Parker

13 Nov

This is part 1 of a three part series. In the next post we will look at problems with our water management. Part 3 will be all about solutions.

The two main concerns with food sovereignty are availability and quality. Many people have noticed that in the grocery stores the quantities are getting smaller and the prices elevate or stay the same. People aren’t really sure what they’re buying anymore.

When you get right down to it, food and water security are essential to freedom. They are what allows us to take care of ourselves. What’s happening over the last few years with globalization is the food producers, especially in the northern climates, are getting further and further apart. And we saw last year a clear danger of what can happen as a result, where a weather event froze the tomatoes in California and Mexico and suddenly there was a shortage of just one crop. This could easily happen on a much larger scale.

Statitsics show the average food product on the shelf is traveling 1500 miles to get here. If you follow it down the chain it’s the oil companies that are in control. This has the potential for many dangers.

If the supply lines were to stop the food would stop flowing. There are many reasons why they could stop, for example if there was an influenza outbreak and people stopped going to work because they were afraid of contracting the disease.  At this point in North America cities like Calgary have on average roughly a three day supply of food.

We found ourself in this situation through over a hundred years of industrial monocrop farming using fertilizers which have leeched the soil an depleted the topsoil to the point where most large farms are almost incapable of producing any kind of vegetable crop without using fertilizer.

This is something that is highly overlooked and it’s only recently that people are starting to catch on to how important this is. We need to start educating people in university about how to maintain our soil.

There are examples of people getting e coli poisoning from lettuce. In Mexico there is human sewage flowing into the fields where they grow lettuce and spinach. This is an incredibly dangerous practice and it travels all the way across the continent.

Companies like Monsanto experiment with genetically altering food crops. They’ve gotten into some really weird sci-fi stuff where they’re putting flounder genes, fish genes into tomatoes to make them frost resistant. We have products on the shelf that taste and look like a tomato but there is very little nutritional value. We really don’t know what these modified crops are doing to our health.

Monsanto has managed to control nearly the entire soybean and corn crop in North America. They are trying to move into Mexico. There continue to be court decisions that favor them to the point where now if they find their genetic property in anybody’s crop, which is spread by pollen, they own that person’s crop by legal entitlement.

I’ve spoken with many local farmers who have gone onto the Monsanto program. Monsanto produces crops that are resistant to Monsanto’s pesticides. In other words you plant Monsanto crops and then you can use Round Up to kill all the weeds. A farmer I spoke to last winter says that after 2 years he’s seeing the same weeds that he killed with Round Up coming back with their own naturally evolved resistance to the pesticide.

There has been no long term scientific study done on the effects of eating these products. There is some scientific evidence coming to light recently showing that it’s detrimental to cattle and other livestock that are eating them. That stuff is going into their system, then we eat the livestock and it is going into our systems.

Monsanto has been around for over 100 years. They’ve done a lot of work for the military. They invented agent orange and nerve gas. They also invented saccharine which was supposed to be A-OK but we later found out that it was harmful to us physically.

The requirement that all foodstuffs to be labeled with a complete list of ingredients and nutritional values is a Health Canada mandate. Yet they do not require anything with a GMO product in it to be labeled with that information. At this point 90% of the products in our supermarkets have GMO products in them.

Canadians need to demand to know what’s in their food. If you have children you’re probably concerned about what you’re actually feeding them. We need to know if there are GMO products in what we’re eating. We need to know where they come from. What countries do they come from, are they using equitable and sustainable growing practices?

This is really about our earth. We don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not like we can go grow corn on Mars. This is all we’ve got. The question I want to ask everyone out there is: are you willing to allow the same people that have created the monetary system and the unnecessary addiction to oil to control our food and water supplies?

Canada has slipped from third to seventh place as a world food producer. The government is encouraging people more and more to get on board with companies like Monsanto and pushing the monocrop ideal. There are forces at work buying huge pieces of land in India and Africa and creating giant monoculture systems that do not work. They leech the soil and become less and less productive over time. We really need to rethink this and start thinking about the field to table idea.

Since 1900, 90percent of the vegetable crops that we used to see on our tables are now extinct because the new industrialized farming ideal has pushed them aside to the point where they are gone. There may be some feral species left out there somewhere. I hope there are and that they can be found and restored. But how many more will we lose in the name of profits and control to some major corporation?

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