Earth, our home

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot


• At the time of writing it’s Earthweek, a great time to be reminded of the Earth Charter created as a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit. The document was developed over a decade of extensive international consultation and in this column I’d like to share an extract from their website. I also encourage you to read the charter at www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/

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Weaker organic standards

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

• I suppose it was predictable that, once the ‘corporate giants’ got their hands on the organic food sector, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would discover pesticide residues on almost 50% of ‘organic’ fruit and vegetable samples as they did in recent tests. Many consumers now have doubts about how genuine supposedly organic products are.

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In pursuit of beauty

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

• If asked to name one book that had a profound influence on my life, it would be Masaru Emoto’s Love Thyself: The Message From Water 111. In 1994, Emoto had the idea to freeze water and photograph the resulting snow crystals under an electron microscope. From the water of pristine rivers and lakes, he observed perfectly symmetrical, beautiful, shining crystals and no two were the same; from city tap water and rivers and lakes close to big cities, he saw disfigured and dark crystals.

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Reimagining the future

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot


• They say the 60s are the new 40s so at the start of yet another year, in my sixth decade of life, I have decided to reinvent myself. However, it came as a bit of a shock to discover this rebirth also involves a change of residence. Timing is everything in life so I checked my body and it said, “Yes.” It had one more garden to create.” – good to know!

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The future of farming

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

• Recently, while driving in my Smart car, I heard the following on CBC radio: “In 10 years time, 75% of Canada’s farmers will have retired.” My thoughts immediately turned to where the food will come from in the future. Today, about 70-80% of organic products in Canada are imported, primarily from the US. The bulk of Canada’s organic exports are grain, sold mainly to the European Union.

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Preserving the harvest

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot

• A “zero-mile diet” involves meal planning around crops in season as well as preserving the harvest for year-round eating. Preserving food from the garden ranges from basic cool storage for winter squash and root crops (i.e. onions and potatoes) to freezing, canning, dehydrating and fermenting. It may sound time consuming, but if eating the most nutritious, organic food is important to you, it’s easier to make time in the ‘down’ season to ensure it’s available.

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The edible hedgerow

ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot


• As an organic gardener, I know from experience it’s the birds, bees and butterflies, along with myriad beneficial insects, that keep the plants in my garden healthy and pest-free. I respect wildlife and rely on a diversity of plants to keep my garden in harmony with nature. So much food today is grown in the absence of wildlife or diversity. I witnessed this during a recent flight over the Fraser Valley where I saw endless swaths of desert-like rectangular fields without a hedgerow in sight – which means no habitat or food for wildlife.

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