Promoting the growing of tree nuts in Canada, and their use.
|The Red Oak Forest Festival is just the Starter's Gun!|
Year 2011 is just around the corner. We have a spreading global recession on our hands. We have had recessions before, right? So we can just wait this one out, right? Sure, it will be tough for awhile, but the pain will pass. It always has before. Nothing really new here. Or is there?
News about our planets ability to feed all us humans has not been good lately. It fact is has not been good for at least the last half century or so. And it keeps getting worse, as well. Climate shifting, quirkier weather, droughts & floods, growing water shortages, more fisheries closing, UG99 ... This recession, will it last longer than the others? Will it be worse than they were?
Lets not wait to find out. If we cannot secure everyone right away, lets at least take care of ourselves first. Show the others the way, too. Heres how we can do it.
Lets talk about our region first - like, who we are. We can work on securing our region and its denizens -- us. The Ottawa region has about a quarter million households -- lots of mouths to feed. Climate change forecasts show us to be in the best place in the world when things start to get really bad - and they will -- this generation, maybe next. Our region covers a big couple or three thousand square kilometers. Another big plus -- Ottawa city itself happens to have the most farmland of any capital city in the world. Good! The West Carleton - March Ward has almost 800 of those precious square kilometers -- still almost entirely rural! So, if it goes agricultural, populated by a thousand new CSAs (there are already over 1300 CSAs in North America alone!), it could feed all our quarter million households while earning itself upwards of a tidy half BILLION $$ a year! Rural Rideau-Goulbourn and Osgoode and Cumberland Wards are aggie candidates, too.
So -- Ottawas WC-M Ward could be the food basket for the region. Hey, its not that big a change. Its younger farmland owners could become CSAers themselves or rent their land out (earn some extra cash). Older farmers wanting to retire, and who generally are the larger farmscape as well, could do the same, by having several leased CSAs on their big land, and thus have steady incomes in their retirement years, without leaving the farm. Happy days! And lots of quality jobs for our young stalwarts (keep them busy, productive and proud.)
We cannot get to this eden in one big step. This aggie idea has to spread, be cogitated on and slowly catch on. Maybe over a year or two or three. Have to plant the 'idea seed' first. To get to the thousand we need could be done by 2020.
Constance Bay Village Red Oak Forest is the launch pad. It has a food-producing red oak forest already that yields thousands of hectoliters of nutritious acorns. Food for us and them. An annual festival celebrating the acorn harvest (and all the other red oak forest perks) sends up the flag across the region -- its the starter's gun. The city of Ottawa realizes there are also many other producing tree nuts within its borders (black walnut, oaks, butternuts, nut pines are some) that also yield thousands more hectoliters of nutritious tree nuts, just for the picking up. (Lots of other Canadian cities are tree nut rich, too - but that's another story). Agroforesters will tell you that tree nuts are 3-dimensional agriculture - the tree crops grow over head while other crops can grow underneath, or downtowners just live there. It works. The Festival spreads.
Now folks begin to think that CSAs make big sense. Each are not big farms - 2 to 20 acres is usual - but it is a business model that brings family farms of the old days back to profitability in todays urbanized landscape. CSAs are eco-organic farms -- few if any expensive chemicals needed. Each grows it own choice of crops -- those crops best suited to its immediate site. Tree nuts are easily included on CSAs. All sell locally -- importing food from continents away is no longer compulsory -- CSAs often deliver weekly food baskets to your house. Food is consumed within a hundred klicks of where it grows. Climate shifting is buffered, exotic chemicals are not required. And lots of jobs are created for the same folks who will eat the food. A family affair, right?
So, our Red Oak Forest Festival is the starter's gun for the beginning of urban agroforestry, making city trees profitable food producers, big time. The City joins the parade and all its tree nut crops are harvested instead of wasted to landfills. The rural areas, like WC-M Ward go aggie with scores of CSAs. Food baskets all around. A huge on-site market (bigger even than the Jean Talon Market in Montreal) emerges. We feed ourselves, every one, even in the tougher times ahead.
What are we waiting for? Lets get it all started, before the sun goes down!
The first Red Oak Forest Festival in 2011, eh!
PS... Why Is Community Supported Agriculture the Key?
CSA's direct marketing gives family farmers and growers the fairest return on their products and reduces waste.
CSA keeps food dollars in the local community and contributes to the continuing advancement of regional food production.
CSA encourages communication and cooperation among farmers and buyers.
With a "guaranteed market" for their produce, farmers can invest their time in doing agroecological farming best rather than looking for buyers.
CSA supports the biodiversity of a given area and the diversity of agriculture through the preservation of smaller farms producing a wide variety of crops.
CSA creates opportunity for dialogue between farmers and consumers.
CSA creates a sense of social responsibility and stewardship of local land.
CSA puts "the farmers face on food" and increases understanding of how, where, and by whom our food is grown.