Keynote Blogger: Emily Doyle, FEASt (Food Education Action St. John's)
Three years ago I became involved in the local movement towards food security. I have worked on industrial pig and chicken farms and have learned a great deal about the industrial agriculture system, now referred to as conventional agriculture. In Newfoundland, I dream of days living off the coast, farm animals in the back, bulk buying and local governance and community. In a way, that is what is being proposed by the local food movement - which makes a strong case for exploring alternatives for community enhancement and sustainability.
Years ago, people had a different type of knowledge, one that is perhaps being lost due to its current undervaluation. We live in the days of the oil economy and who knows where we would be without oil. The days of the past are remembered for their harshness. But absolutes are what we are dealing with here - this is good - that is the past. Starting locally and at odds with mainstream economics and culture is a challenge. Many of our lot work for free and try to live simply. Building capability from the ground up and moving slow we aim for small steps. A garden attached to every school and hospital, the ability to walk to work and shop, knowledge of planting, harvesting, preparing, and storing - a cyclical concept. But I'm just learning how to grow my sprouts - it's a life process.
When I was working on a farm in Birchy Bay, my closest friend was my father's partner's mother and she is a woman who remembers living with no electricity and a well in the back. When I speak to her of organic agriculture she does not understand the rave - her conventional agriculture is organic agriculture, seaweed, fish, etc... ... Ahhh, to learn from the past!!