La Dolce Vita by Alastair Gregor
• As I write this, I feel a sense of dread on behalf of the people of the US. On March 20, Monsanto managed to slip its Monsanto Protection Act through the US Senate. If signed into law by President Obama, the rider will allow farmers to plant, harvest and sell genetically engineered plants even if the crops have been ruled upon unfavourably in court. Monsanto will be able to act with impunity; no court in the nation will be able to challenge them on their lack of due diligence with regard to the safety of GMOs. What has the world come to when a corporation is above the law?
Without even knowing it, we have drifted into a situation of having to personally protect our food supply because our governments have failed us. There has never been a greater need to buy all our seed from local sources, to gather, save, trade and share seed and to diversify and grow as many different varieties of crops as possible to ensure the health of our food supply. The seed you grow today may well be the seed that saves the world when monoculture fails, as it has in the past. To protect our food supply, diversification must become the norm, and organic practices have to be learned, shared and practiced at home.
Most commercial crops are sprayed with a wide array of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and rodent killers. After spraying, carcinogens and toxins remain on the food and we ingest them, presenting long-term health risks. You can now buy a variety of organic foods at most local stores and they are priced near the same as conventional foods. Talk to your grocery store manager and ask for organic foods.
It is healing and rewarding to work with our hands in the soil. Farming, hobby farming, gardening and turning lawns into gardens – it is amazing the amount of organic food one can grow. Hoeing, tilling, planting and nourishing a barren patch of land show how healing and sustainable it is to grow food at home. In Vancouver, we can even have our own hens and honeybees and the climate allows us to grow food year-round. If you don’t have any green space, you can ask friends or family with yards if you can grow food there. And if you own a home with a yard, but can’t do the work yourself, ask friends to work on it with you. You will find the act of working together becomes an act of service to one another and to the community. Create your own gardening community and invite others to join you.
If you still don’t know where to start, ask at a garden shop. Or post a notice on a community bulletin board or at your community centre or church, inviting people to get involved. You can also post online at Craigslist or Kijiji.
Now is the time to get your garden in. The ground is warming up and it’s ripe for planting. This is your opportunity to begin living your life with healthy, renewed meaning and purpose by creating community and kinship.
To advertise your restaurant, food product or service in our Good Eats section, please contact food writer Chef Alastair Gregor at email@example.com. Alastair’s life-long passion for food was inherited from his grandmother.