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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.

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CRAFT & education days

I mentioned before that we were the host farm for this month’s CRAFT day. A few other farms from the area came to the farm where they were shown around, and we had a lunch together & a panel about marketing for CSAs. Marketing isn’t one of my favourite topics, but it was interesting to hear farmers talk about ways in which they do outreach. Some of them were pretty entertaining.

We also went out for drinks afterwards with a couple of other farm crews and took over the whole patio

We’ve had some incredible storms lately! The night before our CRAFT day some of us were up late baking for the event, and just as we were about to go to bed, a huge lightning storm started and we ended up sitting in our sunroom for another hour to watch. I’ve never seen lightning so continuous and our power plus the city’s was out for most of the night. Here’s a cool video of it.

This week for our education day we went to Toronto! We visited some awesome places. First stop was the Ontario Food Terminal. If you shop at stores or eat at restaurants, chances are at least some of the food you’re getting comes from here. One of the other interns described it as a stock exchange for produce. It’s a very unique place in North America for people to sell food.

After this we went to Foodshare, which I was the most excited about.They do similar things as The Stop, but focus more on working with school groups, and they coordinate many community gardens all over the city. They have also worked with the city and school boards to implement a student nutrition program, and they run a Good Food Box program that is very similar to our own CSA model – they deliver boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to people all over the city (over 4000 boxes a week!) Everyone who showed us around was lovely and the whole visit was refreshing and inspirational.

Their off-grid greenhouse & garden outside the building

Angie telling us about the greenhouse

Then we went to ChocoSol! Delicious. Everyone we talked to was very passionate about their work.

Some of our lovely crew

in the kitchen, we were shown the different varieties of cacao and they talked about the way they make them into chocolate – alot less processing and nasty ingredients than your standard chocolate bar. Their beans come from Oaxaca and Chiapas, from growers the owner met while living in Mexico. Some of the beans come from trees that are part of a reforestation project. The employees who spoke with us talked about their goals and ideas for restoring community and the appreciation of foods through their work – very interesting.

Our last stop was Dufferin Grove farmers’ market. There are many markets in the city (around 30); this one was started with the goal being to have actual farms come to be a part of it, and to avoid having more than one vendor selling the same product in order to reduce competition. One issue with the Guelph market is that hardly any of the 70ish vendors are actual farmers. Most are distributors who get their stuff from the Food Terminal and resell it, often for cheap, unfortunately outcompeting many of the farmers who are there trying to sell what they’ve grown themselves.

The market in beautiful Duffering Grove Park

There is a wood oven in the park too; when we were there, some pizzas were cooking in it. There is a table set up where the baked goods are sold to people at the market. They make all kinds of bread, cinnamon buns, and other tasty things.

So cool to see all this happening in a big city! All these places are definitely worth a visit and I hope to go back soon.