Every spring, as I walk through the woods on my farm, I see the pools of water that appear between and around the trees. They remind me of the wood between the worlds, made famous in C.S. Lewis’s stories about Narnia. By jumping into a shallow pool in the woods, one is able to enter whole other worlds, some old, some new. All linked by the woods where the pools live.
Roderick Benns recently interviewed the PPC, Conservative, Liberal, Green, and NDP candidates for Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Brock riding to help voters make an informed decision leading up to the election in October. In our second installment we connect with Barbara Doyle of the NDP.
Benns: Can you highlight a policy of your party that will lead to increased employment and increased average income in our riding?
Doyle: The NDP will start by immediately increasing the minimum wage to $15 that will help over 900,000 workers across the country while supporting small businesses with the access to service they need to grow, innovate and stay competitive in Canada and around the world. That’s why we have stood up for lower small business taxes, opposed unfair merchant fees, and fought to make it easier to pass on small businesses to the next generation by ending the unfair tax treatment of family transfers of small businesses.
September 17, 1997. A terrifying sight is bringing up the rear of Lindsay’s annual Fair Parade. An 80-year-old steam engine (more properly called a traction engine), complete with a water wagon and antique threshing machine in tow, inches its way up Kent Street.
Terrifying, you say? Yes, indeed. To a six or seven-year-old child, the column of grey smoke rising from the chimney of this fire-breathing monster built by George White & Sons Co. of London, Ontario, means only one thing: its whistle will soon be shrieking like a banshee as it passes by on route to the [old] Lindsay fairgrounds.
After examining her soil-stained hands for a moment, Jessica Foote looks out at the fields of her farm, on which several acres of crops have already been lost this year. “We’re at the beck and call of mother nature,” she says, before wiping some of the soil from her hands. Foote, one of many area farmers struggling this year, is the owner of Lunar Rhythm Gardens has been working in agriculture since she was nine-years-old, under the guidance of her father.
Despite the high elevation of her Janetville property, flooding has already destroyed six acres of alfalfa, along with several of Foote’s lettuce crops.
“It’s the extremes that do it,” she says.
Farmers have been concerned about water issues for as long as human beings have been growing crops. From the irrigation ditches of the ancient near east, to the flooding of ancient Egypt, the lack of water, or too much of it, has shaped the rhythms of farming life.
As a result, farmers throughout history have developed various strategies related to water. Some of these—like the worship of ancient fertility gods and goddesses—seem a little odd to us now. Some, like tile drainage, are still practiced but are somewhat controversial. Others, such as the use of terrace farming and dams, continue to be used today.
The Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) has announced the location of the 2020 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo will be Kawartha Lakes, at the Lindsay Exhibition Fairgrounds.
“We looked at several potential locations for IPM 2020 and this one ticked all the boxes,” says newly minted OPA President Sheila Marshall. “It’s a great spot, in a fantastic, agriculturally rich community. “We’re excited to bring the IPM and its 80,000-plus visitors to Kawartha Lakes.”
If you want to be an environmentally conscious gardener or homeowner, it may be worth considering an alternative method to planning your property. The traditional North American suburban lawn and garden typically requires much maintenance, generous amounts of watering and the addition of fertilizers and chemicals in order to be successful.
These activities degrade land and incorporate pollutants into the local environment. Quite recently, around the world, a new movement has brought hope for the future of our planet, and it starts with the homeowner.
There is something about a drive through the country that is deeply satisfying. Green fields divided by tree lines or split rail fences. The occasional dry stone wall. Cattle or sheep dotted in the fields and cozy farmhouses flanked by wooden barns. An idyllic picture of a pastoral farming way of life.
When the first settlers came to Canada and encountered the Indigenous people of these lands, they did not realize that the land they were looking at also reflected a pastoral, farming way of life. There was so much lush greenery. The woods seems so thick and the animals so abundant. This was nothing like the farms they had left behind in England and France and Spain. This land didn’t appear to be managed. It didn’t look controlled. And it certainly didn’t look as though anyone was trying to raise crops or breed animals.
Jim Callaghan was just 8 to 10 years old when the family loaded up the cream they expected to sell to Silverwood’s in Lindsay, a now defunct dairy company. But on that day the company officials shook their heads and sent the Callaghan’s on their way. There would be no dairy sales for the family on that attempt, since Silverwood’s had a glut of supply that day. These were the days before ‘supply management,’ the admittedly boring name for the system that has brought financial stability to Canadian farmers for decades.
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Brett Goodwin, the dean at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay, about the huge rise in popularity of its sustainable agriculture program.
Benns: The rise in the number of international students at Fleming is considerable. In the sustainable agriculture program, for instance, I believe 75-80 out of 87 students were international last year. We’ve heard some concerns that the infrastructure at the college is not keeping up with what is needed in the program (such as the calibre of the greenhouse facilities or specially customized classroom spaces). Are you challenged by this influx and what has (or what can) the college do to help with this?