Letters from David Suzuki

David Suzuki (Photo Credit - Erin Prout)

“Come in!” Though I’ve never met David Suzuki before, his voice rings through the open door, sounding as familiar as my late grandfather’s. My guess is that many other 20- to 30-year-old Canadians would feel the same way. We grew up on Suzuki’s The Nature of Things. His voice and perspective …

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Is Canadian Policy Helping Women?

A group of women farmers gather in Ibumba, Kabale, southwestern Uganda (Photo Credit - Trina Moyles)

The global cry for gender equality has never been louder. Rural Indian women are fighting for farmland, Ugandan and Kenyan women are fighting draconian “anti-miniskirt” laws that criminalize their thighs, and Canadian First Nations and aboriginal womenare fighting for a national inquiry into the tragic deaths and disappearances of more …

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Permaculture or Spermaculture?

Confronting patriarchy in permaculture (Photo - TMoyles)

For Halena Seiferling, a master’s of policy studies student at Simon Fraser University, it’s a question generated not from facts or statistics, but from one of the most essential principles of permaculture: observation. “I started to wonder about some of the voices, typically male, that were leading the conversation about …

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Planting Edmonton on the Urban Agriculture Map

Travis Kennedy of Lactuca urban farm, cold frames extend urban farmer's growing season in Edmonton (Photo - TMoyles)

As May approaches, Edmonton’s community of gardeners, green thumbs and food enthusiasts aren’t the only ones planting and planning for the season: the city itself is getting one step closer to amending a bylaw that would make it easier for urban agriculture to take root and thrive. It could result …

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Notes on ‘Writing What I Fear I Cannot Bear to Know’

Over the weekend, I participated in a writer’s workshop in Edmonton called ‘Researching Social Justice & Writing What I Fear I Cannot Bear to Know”. The workshop was organized by the good folks at the Centre for Global Citizenship (University of Alberta) and facilitated by two academic and creative powerhouses, …

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‘Tis the Season to Raise Chickens

Chickens can also get frostbite (Photo - Trina Moyles)

New holiday traditions are being made—and laid—in Linda and Troy Johnson’s backyard this holiday season. Outside, the Christmas lights twinkle on the newly constructed chicken coop while inside, their family enjoys eggs harvested daily and mugfuls of homemade eggnog. “We have more eggs than we know what to do with,” …

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In Need of Light – Diwali in India

Diwali, a 4-day Hindu celebration of 'light over darkness'

Last week’s lament about small farmers was saturated in angst. It wasn’t something I spun from thin air, it wasn’t from a gut emotion, spat out for the fun of the exercise. My frustration is a product of the many conversations I’ve had over the past twelve months with small …

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A Eulogy for Family Farmers on World Food Day

WFD 2014: Year of the Family Farmer

Tomorrow, October 16, 2014, is World Food Day. On the 69th World Food Day, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has chosen to celebrate The International Year of the Family Farming (IYFF). It’s a noble gesture on the FAO’s part – considering the historical and current efforts made by family …

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The Power of Comfort Food – Apples in the Midwest

Picking the foods that you love; that define "comfort" (Photo Credit: ATrefry)

By Amy Trefry Renowned chef Jamie Oliver recently released a new cookbook and TV series entitled “Comfort Food”. During an interview on CBC’s Q, Oliver expressed his thoughts on what makes comfort food, well, comforting. “For me, when you respond to not just cook what you want from the book, …

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Let’s Talk About Canadian Immigration

Canadian doctors for refugee care protest

“They said his tourist visa was rejected because he’s not established enough,” the MP’s secretary voice says meekly over the phone. “Established?” I huffed. “But he’s a student…we have a letter from his university. We even have a letter from a future employer in Uganda.” “Well, that’s what they said,” …

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Indigenous Farmers Confront Canada’s Goldcorp

Tomasa at her home in Comitancillo, Guatemala (Photo Credit - KJ Dakin)

Lines etch across Tomasa Perez Jimenez’s tawny features as her eyes study her floor. The cracked earth contrasts with the party pink of her traditional blouse. Her voice is quiet and steady as she discusses the mine that has been operating on her doorstep for more than a decade. “In …

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Ghost Water Taps and the Failure of Development in Southwestern Uganda

A "not so fun" water play-pump in Rusoka -- in disuse (Spencer Huchulak)

By Spencer Huchulak “One tap…two taps…three taps.” This is what I was hoping to count to myself on Monday when I walked through town. Unfortunately, my optimism would be squashed. The day before, mzee, my host grandfather, described the water project he hoped to start in Kabasheshe. Currently, the closest water source …

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The Art of Yarn Bombing

(Kay Niedermeyer)

By Kay Niedermeyer Yarn bombing, or “knit graffiti” is a thing I’ve always appreciated but never created or participated in myself until very recently. My inexperience with yarn bombing would probably surprise people who know me both as a rabble-raiser, and also a gal whose hands have been pretty much …

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Keeping Beekeeping in the Family

Me and a stingless male drone bee.

There’s no secret about the Mugabi family’s sweet success story in the small town-center of Kabale in southwestern Uganda: honey bees and lots of them. “How did you come to raise bees?” I asked Miracle, a young man in his mid-twenties who was tending to the counter of the Bungoni …

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A Complicated Cup – Coffee & Poverty in Uganda

Early morning contemplations on a complicated substance.

I’ve been brewing (pun intended) over the subject of coffee in Uganda since the first morning I woke up and enjoyed a strong cup of Nescafe – coffee that was produced in Uganda, processed in the US and shipped back to Uganda for my own consumption. I haven’t yet written …

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The Cocoa Connection in Rio San Juan, Nicaragua

(Photo Credit - KJ Dakin)

What I recently learned from las campesinas (women farmers) living in the lush rainforest region of the Rio San Juan department of southern Nicaragua tasted pretty sweet. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but chocolate sure does. The raw form of chocolate, anyways. In the Rio San Juan department, women and their husbands …

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Compost Philosophy

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Everyone, of course, wants to eat from the garden — but not everyone is prepared to bend under the hot sun and (re)build the soil that gives birth to human sustenance. I write loosely, referring to love and community and food systems and social equality, in the same breath, the …

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Community Organization – Love, Chaos & Some Kind of Change

2007 - Team in Esteli, Nicaragua

If there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s this: it feels good to be a part of something bigger than my own individual goals in life. Milestones that I’m supposed to celebrate: individual accomplishments like graduating from high school, university, and entering the world of long and annoying job …

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Behind the Canadian Flag – Mining in Central America

Mother and daughter farmers with their children and grandchildren in Comitancillo, Guatemala.

Seven years ago, I broke the stitches that secured the Canadian flag to my bright blue backpack. It was a symbolic act. It was a traveller’s coming of age moment when I realized that I was no longer proud of my country’s political reputation abroad. When I was 19, I …

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Vertical Growing – DIY Pallet Garden Project

Step 2

Inspired by last week’s kitchen garden project with the school kids in Rubira, I’ve been motivated to continue experimenting with vertical growing projects in our garden in Kabale, so we see what works and pass along the technologies to youth, too. I’ve always been a fan of using waste materials …

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