Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mike Schreiner Visits

So on Thursday, Mike Schreiner - leader of the Provincial Green Party - came to the farm on a day touring KW. We had about an hour to chat and wander around. Mike seems to have lots of experience and history supporting local food systems and small-scale agriculture. I hadn't realized he even sat on the FarmStart board (the new farm support organization I teach courses for in the winter)!

I was really struck by Mike's genuine personability and understanding of agriculture and food system sustainability issues, as well as his focus on the importance of strengthening local communities. Mike pointed out that food and farming is the 2nd largest employer in Ontario.

Some highlights from our conversation and the provincial Green Farming & Agriculture platform:
  • prioritizing sustainable, local agriculture
  • improving small farm profitability
  • providing tax credits for Ontario businesses who purchase Ontario grown food products, and to farmers who make food donations in their communities
  • developing policies to get more local, organic food into public institutions including schools 
  • supporting the re-development of local processing facilities
  • offering public funding to support and expand farmers markets, farmer co-ops & other local food distribution systems
  • changing key regulations and zoning to better support new farmers and small-scale farming needs (this is a very rare focus for politicians - I've never known any others to have such a solid knowledge of these needs and barriers!
These policies are not just sweeping generalities - they have lots of good legs on them. To be honest, I was really impressed. We have a by-election coming up in Kitchener-Waterloo shortly and I imagine I'll be giving the Greens my vote. I really encourage you to check out their platforms. The Food Platform is here. Thanks to CSA member Jason Hammond for setting up this visit!

10th Annual Heirloom Seedling Sale May 19

Don't miss this!! Little City Farm and I have been doing this sale for 10 years now and it's gotten bigger by the year. Tonnes of heirloom tomatoes and lots of other vegetables, herbs and flowers. Not everything is heirloom, but a lot is.
This year we've got live music lined up, an organic cafe, cob oven demos, garden tours...