Monday, October 31, 2011

CBC Plant Breeders' Rights debate in Canada 1987

Ambrosia Apples - Canadian apple grown in Washington State, too

The Ambrosia Apple Story

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Law of the Lands - Farm, Energy and Enviro Law: CBC's The Current - Keystone vs. Landowners

"In its bid to move unrefined bitumen from the oilsands of Alberta to refineries in Texas, TransCanada pipeline is finding some of its toughest opponents aren't environmentalists or regulators but the ranchers and farmers whose land the pipeline will cross."

Law of the Lands - Farm, Energy and Enviro Law: CBC's The Current - Keystone vs. Landowners: "In its bid to move unrefined bitumen from the oilsands of Alberta to refineries in Texas, TransCanada pipeline is finding some of its t...

Monday, October 24, 2011

CFIA to cease meat inspections: Country Life in BC article

CFIA to cease meat inspections

ABBOTSFORD – The B.C. Food Processors Association (BVFPA) is downplaying the significance of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) recent announcement that it will no longer perform meat inspections for provincially licenced facilities in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba within three years.
In its announcement, the CFIA notes “provincial meat inspection is not part of the CFIA’s responsibilities,” saying it intends to focus on “delivering its core mandate” which includes inspections at federally-licenced slaughter plants.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents federal food safety inspectors, some of whom could lose their jobs as a result of the change, immediately decried the move, claiming it will “expose unwitting B.C. consumers to heightened risk of eating contaminated meat products.”
The BCFPA rejects that, saying the association is working with abattoirs and the B.C. Ministry of Health Centre for Disease Control to come up with a practical system which assures “people will not be put at risk.”
“The province has known about this for a long time,” notes BCFPA past-president Robin Smith, pointing out provincial inspection systems have been operating very successfully for many years in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
Meat inspection has been a huge issue ever since the new B.C. Meat Inspection Regulation was introduced in 2004. That regulation now requires all meat sold in the province to be inspected, which was previously not the case in all regions. As a result, there are currently six categories of abattoirs in B.C.
At the top of the heap are the 12 federally-licenced facilities. The only facilities allowed to ship meat outside of the province, they must meet stringent federal inspection and documentation standards. They are now and will continue to be inspected by the CFIA.
The remaining five categories are all “provincially-licenced” facilities. Class C is a transition licence which is being phased out. Class D and E licences are intended for remote locations and severely restrict how much meat can be slaughtered and where and to whom it may be sold. They are currently inspected by local health inspectors and this is not expected to change.
The only facilities which will be impacted are B.C.’s 49 Class A and B-licenced fixed and mobile abattoirs.
“I don’t anticipate any issues,” Smith says, noting inspectors will be fully trained and inspections will follow HACCP principles.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Farmers fight back against farm stand theft : Maine

Reminds me of the a few summers ago when two long-time producers of farm products fought back on Pender Island.  They kept an eye on their stands, and when one particular thief left one stand and headed down the road to another, the farmer called with a warning.  The second farmer caught the thief with the goods, and even more from other stands.  The police were called, they made the thief return the goods and apologize, too.  Good old RCMP.

I particularly like how the Maine police take pictures and the press prints them. Nice touch. 

Farmers fight back against farm stand theft

Posted Oct. 21, 2011, at 6:17 p.m.
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Dakota Durand
Courtesy of Waldo County Jail
Dakota Durand
TROY, Maine — The farmers are fed up with having their farm stands pilfered for cash, and they’re definitely not taking it anymore.
Joyce Benson of Troy, who grows vegetables on the Detroit Road, estimates that over the last two seasons thieves have stolen well over $1,000 from the lock box at her roadside stand, and she’s not the only one in her agricultural community to have been robbed.
“Honor system farm stands are easy prey, “ she said. “All of us have lost money. People have shut down their stands because they can’t afford to keep losing.”
So Benson, 63, decided to fight back, using her wiles rather than weapons. She recently set up a hidden wildlife camera at her farm stand and waited in hopes of catching the perpetrators. This week, she caught one, and gave the photograph to the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office to see if they could continue the investigation.
Detective Jason Bosco said Friday that Sgt. Dale Brown identified the alleged culprit as Dakota T. Durand, a 19-year-old from Brooks.
“Mr. Durand ultimately confessed to his wrongdoings,” Bosco said.
Durand was issued a criminal summons for a Class E misdemeanor, which signifies the theft was worth less than $500. He also was arrested on an unrelated warrant for criminal mischief and booked at Waldo County Jail.
Benson said the problem is widespread. Over the last two summers, her lock box has been pried open over and over again and in less than a week this year she had three break-ins at the stand.
“The farmers are mad, and we’re frustrated,” she said. “We don’t have deep pockets. It was a very tough summer weather-wise for us, so something’s got to be done to stop this behavior. This is our livelihood. This isn’t a little hobby.”
Although she speculated that the thieves might think it’s no big deal to steal the day’s takings from a farm stand, it is.
“If they get $20, or $40 — that’s the difference between having food on our table or not,” Benson said.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back in the day things were pretty explosive on the Gulf Islands

Ah, to be back in the day where a normal farm practice of clearing land was to use good old dynamite.
The provincial Deputy Minister of Agriculture would help with the acquisition of dynamite to registered Farmers' Institutes who would collect the money from the farmers, fill out a special requisition book, and order the stumping powder (aka dynamite) to be used for clearing land for agricultural production.  Oh, some may have used a bit to go fishing, but most was used for clearing land.

Notice where it says "Canadian Industries Ltd., Vancouver , BC". 

In 1913, Canadian Explosives Ltd, later called Canadian Industries Ltd, established a dynamite plant on James Island. At its peak, the plant employed 1200 people, most of whom lived in a small village on the island. During World War II, the plant produced 900 tonnes of TNT per month for the war effort. In 1962, the plant closed. In 1979, the plant and the village were disassembled and removed from the island.
At least one of the houses were barged off to other Gulf Islands.  We have one on our farm.
House originally from James Island
    All of the bricks on the island came to Pender Island to build Earl Hasting’s house, and Earl also bought the box factory for all the lumber that was in it.
      But we can go further back in James Island’s history, before it was named in 1854 for Governor James Douglas, before a portion of it was bought in 1874 for one dollar per acre. We go back before 1907 when fallow deer and game birds were brought to the island for Victoria businessmen to hunt.
Before the 330 hectare island that lies off Saanichton Bay on the east side of the Saanich peninsula was named James Island, it was part of the traditional territory of Tsawout First Nation. An ancient village site and graveyard is there. In 1904 the government forced the natives off of the island. That has not deterred the Tsawout First Nations from pursuing their aboriginal rights to the land, which they plan to file in 2012. Apparently the current owner of James Island has banned the Saanich people from setting foot on it. According to Sidwell, after billionaire Craig McCaw bought the island in 1994 and sprinkled it with “No Trespassing” signs, “the Tsawout Native Band sought to reclaim the land because they said there was a native village and graveyards on the island. I believe they were told give me what I paid for it and you can have it back”. The Tsawout First Nation wrote in 2008 to Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services, requesting that the OCP amendment Bylaw 169 not be endorsed by the Minister, advising that several issues had not been addressed, namely the heritage village and burial sites and the lack of access for the Tsawout. The bylaw was endorsed anyway. The Tsawout’s were shocked at the report written by North Pender Trustees Gary Steeves and Ken Hancock in 2007 “A Solution for an Ill Treated Island” because no mention was made of Aboriginal Title and Rights. Not only that, the North Pender Island Local Trust Committee, agreed to rescind the RLUB and incorporate James Island into the Associated Islands OCP/LUB for owner McCaw. In rescinding the RLUB, future parkland and right of public access were denied. Any observer of James Island would recognize the duty to consult First Nations. But they were not . The OCP/LUB would create no parkland dedication but instead “cash-in-lieu” for 1.5 million or 5% of the value of the island at time of subdivision.
       At the same time, Trustees Steeves and Hancock discussed the probability of the cash in lieu accruing for the benefit of North Pender residents by using the money to purchase land to protect the Buck Lake watershed. However, the Chair of the LTC, Gisele Rudischer opposed this, as did the CRD Director Susan deGryp. Was it because it was the equivalent of colonization, with the Islands Trust committees as Empires, and the smaller associated islands are the colonies? Maybe McCaw as current owner is ok with it because he did not want public access, but other stakeholders are not. Private now, but based on the subdivision plans, it would devolve to public ownership, at which point there would be no parkland.
      Claims of “deep pockets” that have cleaned up “boxes of buried dynamite and crude oil bunkers” might give the impression that James Island was in terrible shape before McCaw, but I would like to see proof. This often repeated claim of the buried explosives is not in agreement with Sidwell’s detailed descriptions, or John Money’s of Saturna who was also involved in the deconstruction, in that all explosives were accounted for to the ounce. CIL used an Ontario contractor who had done this work before, and a seismograph was used to identify areas to clean all lines of explosives. They drilled down to rock or impervious soil, detonated any areas that may have had residue, and ensured that no explosives were present before any heavy equipment was brought in. Bunker C was torn out, the “boneyard” where old machinery was buried was excavated for the metal to be removed. Lead pipes were all excavated, melted down to ingots, and removed. Yes, it would be classified as a “brownfield development” to have soil tested and remediated as needed, but I wonder about what I see repeatedly written.
      As for the much talked about conservation covenants – how is that working out? According to three conservation assessments, with ground truthing between 2004 and 2006, there has been significant degradation of the environment due to landscaping of the golf course with heavy equipment. The present owner was aware of the sensitive ecosystem inventory for the island and commissioned the 2004 conservation assessment. Notwithstanding this, the species at risk habitat was replaced with a golf course. In his 2006 report Matt Fairburns of Aruncus Consulting states that “the loss of contorted-pod evening primrose is particularly troubling as this species was recently assessed as Nationally Endangered, and the Powder Jetty (on James Island) populations “one of the largest in Canada”. Recognizing the significance of the conservation assessments, and the environmental deterioration since 2004, the decision to go with cash in lieu versus park dedication must be questioned. Will the development have too great an impact? The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve has included First Nations in developing management plans for the Park Reserve areas and they are involved in management as well. Perhaps a better solution would be to dedicate parkland that will be managed by or in cooperation with the Tsawout First Nations through the CRD where the funds are to be sent, which will also allow the Tsawout First Nations their right to access the island.
      Then there is the significant chunk of ALR land, comprising nearly half the island. The province is recently reviewing house sizes on ALR land, because of the increased number of estates on farmland. I don’t even want to open this can of worms right now. A “private island” with a planned 80 houses @ 5,000 sq. ft. max+cottages+commercial development with no public access, even for the Tsawout First Nations, who ironically are in dire need of $500,000 to build their longhouse across the water from James Island after it burned down two years ago.
     Coincidentally, the same two Trustees that fashioned this OCP -rescinding the RLUB that would have given 15% of James Island for the public interest, are now Trustees for North Pender Island again – by acclamation.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

THE FARMER'S STAND: Harry and Debbie Burton and their travelling Apple...

THE FARMER'S STAND: Harry and Debbie Burton and their travelling Apple...: In 2010 Salt Spring Island's Harry Burton gave an enthusiastic presentation on apples to an equally enthusiastic Pender Island audienc...