Category Archives: Uncategorized

seeds

You thought the blog was done for, didn’t you? Well, it was just in hibernation. I started writing this post in the spring & am just now finally getting around to posting it.

This time of year provides more inspiration to write (even if there’s less time to do it). This spring I started some seeds in trays to plant in my home garden. I’ve had a box of seeds in my fridge for years. The last time I had a vegetable garden was at least 4 or 5 years ago, and most of the seeds I have were acquired around that time. It amazed me how much was in that box when I opened it again this year. I’d bought seed packets at conferences, traded them with friends, picked them up at Seedy Saturday events, etc. Anyway, now that I have garden space again, I thought it was about time to pull that box out of the back of the fridge and get growing! (Incidentally, even though I grow vegetables for a living, having a home garden is too great to pass up. Yes, I know this means basically coming home from work and doing the same job at home. I suppose that’s a sign of passion for the work.) Anyway, I didn’t sit down to write about the garden, but about seeds.

beans
Mix of beans, including cranberry, orca, black soybean, and some other heirlooms

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

pride yourselves

hi y’all. For the first time ever on this blog, here’s a little pride-related post. There are many, many people in the world who deserve more recognition for what they do. Here are just a few, on the wide spectrum of gender & sexuality, who not only work (or worked) for humans, but for other animals too.

Alice Walker

“I am not a lesbian. I am not bisexual. I am curious. If you are really alive, how can you be in one place that whole time?”

She’s brought us so many amazing works of fiction, poetry, & essays, including the famous book (and film) The Colour Purple. Check out her website.

“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.  They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”

Read the rest of this entry

be gentle with yourself

This is a self-care post. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I can’t have all the wisdom I wish to, all the facts memorized, all the nuances understood, and that’s okay.

It’s easy to set high standards for ourselves and in the meantime, forgive others for not reaching those standards. We can forget to forgive ourselves and be kind to ourselves when we can’t achieve all our goals as fully as we want to. I try to remind myself that even though change feels excruciatingly slow, small things matter and help. I need to remind myself that I too deserve compassion from myself when I can’t meet my goals as fast or as easily as I want to.

This is a circle. Forgiving others, and understanding that we’re on different parts of our learning curves, helps maintain community instead of breaking it down. Being gentle with others reminds me to be gentle with myself, and vice versa. It reminds me that I too have learning to do and that’s okay. All of us make mistakes and we each have our own journeys to make. What’s important is that we stay committed to and present within the journey itself.

Do you want an example of a time when I totally missed the point of some of the concepts I was learning? I look back on this with frustration, but also humour, and think “man, I was doing it wrong”. But I’ve learned more since.

Read the rest of this entry

links

Hey readers, Intrepid Lynx has a question: What do rodeos, agriculture and bullfighting have to do with violence against women?

Remember the No Joke post? You all seemed to find that one especially interesting. Want a little more about interconnectedness? Read on!

I recently started listening to Animal Voices, a radio show based in Toronto. I continue to be impressed by the hosts’ abilities to ask relevant questions, find countless guests who have interesting and important things to talk about, and how the show fosters a holistic view of non-human animal issues by demonstrating sensitivity to, and addressing, various human issues and connecting the dots. Back in 2005, Animal Voices did a show for International Women’s Day (March 8), which included a slew of amazing speakers and touched on very important topics, one of them being the links between violence against women, and violence to non-human animals. Much of the show is devoted to examining this issue in Wellington County, Ontario – right in my backyard. In light of the recent mass shooting in California, an event that now sits atop the mountain of other mass murders (which all seem to have been done by men) over the last few decades, this is what I want to talk about today.

For resources on dealing with partner and animal abuse, click here.

First off, I acknowledge that violence against women, and violence against non-human animals, are both very real issues. If you’re a woman, or are read as a woman by other people, you’re confronted by this every day, both in subtle ways and perhaps very obvious and scary ways. If you’re a woman of colour, disabled, of size, queer, trans, whatever – your risk is even greater (I’m sure you don’t need to be told, and could probably tell me of your own experiences that demonstrate this. In fact, I encourage you to leave comments on this topic if you wish). I want you to know that I understand that this is a real and serious problem, one that I also experience, and I don’t simply want to use it as a jumping-off point or an oversimplified argument in order to further my own thoughts in this post. The purpose of discussing these issues is to bring awareness to how they are linked and how they come from the same source. I hope that those of you who’ve read my other posts understand this, and that I can make it clear here as well. That said, if you think I need to do better with the nuances of it all (or other things), please email me. Also, given the subject matter of this post, be aware that some images in this post are difficult. Stay fierce and support each other.

Read the rest of this entry

spring!

Finally! The sun is back, and with it the insects and the birds, frogs and toads, and rabbits and squirrels.

The bees are around again, too. The honey bees at the farm have been pretty active on warm days recently. Sometimes I hear them buzzing when I walk by the hive area, or see one or two in the greenhouse as I work. Meanwhile, in internet-land, there are many articles circulating about neonicotinoids (a type of water-soluble pesticide commonly used on cereal crops and turf) and other issues that affect bees negatively, mainly in the form of what’s been called colony collapse disorder (read: hives dying).

Some things I’ve noticed about the conversation in these articles is that honey bees are the focus, and rarely other, native pollinators. Another thing I’ve noticed is that the conversation doesn’t look at how bees are kept or cared for when people use them for honey. I think these are two big gaps in the discussion.

Read the rest of this entry

no joke.

It’s been a while that I wanted to write about a gruesome topic that came up a few months ago. I still don’t know exactly how to word this post, but I want to do a bit of justice to the events by talking about them here.

You may have heard a while back that (brace yourself) the heads of six dead cats were found around Stouffville, an area north of Toronto. I remember hearing about it last fall and being grossed out and angered. This article covers the details from the time when the heads were discovered. The article includes two video interviews, and states that investigations are underway by police and SPCA officials. Whether or not you feel comfortable about police involvement, I think we can all agree that it’s important for something to be done.

I know this is an awful thing to think about, but bear with me. It’s possible that coyotes are the culprits, though the very public location of the heads seems suspicious and the investigators don’t think that is the case. Whether it was coyotes or humans, you probably feel some sense of justice knowing that a search is happening to try and find the person(s) who did this. You may feel glad that it’s getting media attention, enough to be on national news. You probably empathize with the cats and feel they deserve justice. I feel that way, too. When disgusting things like this happen at the hands of humans, investigations are important so that future acts can be prevented, and reported on so that more people can become aware of what’s happening and to let perpetrators know that they’re not getting off easy.

Now, I want to tell a related story. I’ll admit that this is not something I witnessed myself, but it was told to me by friends, neither of whom are affiliated with any animal protection organizations.

Read the rest of this entry

vegan mythbusting: ethics

Welcome to a new, soon-to-be-regular blog feature: vegan mythbusting!

People ask me all kinds of stuff about vegan life. People probably also assume all kinds of things about it (like that I went vegan because my reaction to seeing a piglet was similar to the drawing below. I probably would fawn over a cute piglet – who wouldn’t?! – but this goes deeper than a squee!) Sometimes those things are evident, and probably a lot of them aren’t. Why not talk about it?

People find out I’m vegan and probably think it’s because I once saw a piglet and did this

Before we go on, let’s be clear: the point of vegan mythbusting isn’t to get all the backup I have and tell the world that what they think is wrong. That doesn’t help anyone. The goal here is to create a clearer understanding of what really lies behind our plates of veggie bacon. I can only speak for myself, so start a conversation if you know someone else who’s veg and are interested in what their motivations are.

Today’s Vegan Myth: Your ethics concern animals alone and/or prioritize non-humans over humans. You must be ignorant and/or insensitive.

This is a common one. It often gets presented to me in the form of “there are so many other problems in the world, why aren’t you trying to help people instead?”

(What a cop-out question. Who says you can’t do both? And who says that being vegan only helps animals? If I started eating animals again, would it help any marginalized group in their struggle? I’ll elaborate on this in a bit.)

When it comes to the question of what motivates vegans, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Read the rest of this entry

seasonal changes

Hello readers,

welcome to another sporadic post. I promise that in the months since the last entry I’ve accumulated some extra good stuff to write about!

The main growing season is slowing a bit now as the summer veggies have given in to the first frosts, and the winter veggies become our main focus. Those summer veggies held on for a long time this year – we had our last harvest of peppers and eggplants in October! We’re still harvesting winter veg as we move through December, as many people are surprised to learn. The cold storage and root cellar are gradually filling up with goodies like carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, cabbage, parsnips and celeriac. It’s amazing how resilient some plants are.

First snow!
first snow

We’re also down a market now, and another ends within the next weeks. Having one less market per week to worry about is a bit of a relief, even though I really enjoy working the markets (despite the early mornings and the long drives sometimes made in the dark). This season I was grateful to learn how appreciative people are of the food. One market was in an area with a racially diverse population, and residents of differing backgrounds often recognized the vegetables as ones they would use traditionally but which can’t be found at the big supermarkets. Many market-goers were excited to tell me what they liked to make with specific vegetables. I learned that Independence day in Mexico is often celebrated by making stuffed poblano peppers; that basil is not only common in Italian cooking, but also Iranian; was recommended an at-home cough remedy made with radishes that was used in eastern Europe during periods of communism, when no antibiotics were available; and had regular customers coming back each week for months at a time because they found veggies like tomatillos at our stand – items which are part of their cultural menus, but were not on any grocery store shelves. It’s so rewarding to know people feel connected to what we grow. I hope this sparks ideas for folks who want these kinds of foods, which can be grown in their own backyards or on their own porches.

Read the rest of this entry

having a field day

Hello blog-readers,

suddenly it’s July and I find myself so busy with farm work that I haven’t written anything about it until now!

I started a job at a new farm this spring in a supervisory role, which is exciting. Things have been going well and I’m learning a lot, as I expected to. We grow many of the vegetable crops I’m already familiar with, and some that are new to me, but the farm is run quite differently than any I’ve been at before. I always find it interesting to see how each farm does things, and this has definitely been a good learning experience so far. Brushing up on efficiency and becoming familiar with the small details are important parts of my position there, and I expect it to take the whole season before I really know it well, but things are going smoothly and I’m enjoying it of course.

Organic salad greens are relatively lucrative (and delicious). We grow many.GH

Most of my days are spent with the non-salad veggies, like this bok choi, in the field.choi

Read the rest of this entry

Have your say on how pigs are treated in Canada

So, the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) is reviewing a new draft of their codes of practice for raising & handling pigs, and are inviting the public to give input on it.

From now until August 3, you can take their survey reviewing the draft of the updated code, and tell them what you think.

Currently, the standards include “requirements” and “recommendations”. Codes of practice are not legislature and unfortunately as such are not mandatory for people who keep animals, however, it’s still important to give feedback as many farms use the codes (and of course, it’s always important to give feedback on how animals are treated at the hands of humans, especially when they’re being used for profit or are viewed as commodites, as pigs are).

The survey can be found on this page (click the red box). Before completing it, there are a couple of things to know.

Read the rest of this entry