Who Needs Food? Still Time to Give Input on Food Charter
Raise your hand, everyone who eats food. OK, now, raise your hand, everyone who knows where your food comes from. How far has it travelled? Has the price gone up in this past year? Was your food sprayed with pesticides and herbicides? Can it continue to be produced as plentifully and shipped to us if drought conditions continue in various US food-producing states?
Do you have a yard that grows vegetables, or could grow vegetables? What would keep you from growing food in your yard? Are there other places in or near Rossland where you, or someone else, could grow more food?
Rosslanders in the old days used to grow and preserve more food, and Rossland used to have several dairy farms on its outskirts. Modern agriculture has displaced many local food-production centres, and the Columbia River Treaty flooded some very rich and productive agricultural land in our region — just as Site C is poised to do in the Peace River.
People who attended the Food Charter borscht-and-bread dinner at the Old Fire Hall in Rossland on Wednesday evening to mull over issues of food security, give input on a draft Food Charter, and watch some thought-provoking short films, talked about these things and more. (The borscht and bread by John Premier were delicious, and the remainder of the borscht was put into Mason jars and sold at the door.)
The attendees considered concerns about food, such as the effects of climate change on crop production — including more extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, intense hail-storms and tornadoes. They considered the favourable things for seeking to improve food security in Rossland, such as the fact that people are allowed to make full use of their yards to grow food if they wish, and are allowed to keep a few chickens; and that fact that we have a community garden.
One person expressed a concern that Rossland gardens can produce only a limited range of food. Let’s look at that concern: we know that gardens in Rossland can grow potatoes, peas, carrots, a variety of bush beans and pole beans, cabbages and cauliflowers, kale, summer squash and the earlier-maturing winter squash varieties, lettuces and beets, Swiss chard, rutabagas and turnips, and even tomatoes; and a dizzying array of mustard-family greens. Blueberries, raspberries and other berries; walnuts, hazelnuts, apples, plums and pears grow well here. You might want pineapple and pistachios, but do we need them to survive?
Not everyone is a gardener, or has space to garden. The draft Food Charter is intended to be adopted by Rossland City Council, and to act as a high-level policy document to guide future Council decisions toward enhancing food security in our community. Think about that while stuffing your turkey, or your tofurkey.
Not everyone could get to the Old Fire Hall on Wednesday, either. To view the draft Food Charter, click here. The crew of volunteers working on the draft document will take everyone’s suggestions and comments into consideration before producing their final effort. To send comments, e-mail them to: Rachael.Roussin@gmail.com