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Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Alberta Roots

1

My parents came to visit me… a surprise of course and a lovely one at that.  For the first time it felt like my life, in their eyes, might make sense.  When I first told them I was moving to an ecovillage, I’m sure my mother sprouted a extra patch of grey hairs on top of the 100s I already had given her. But while they were here, it occurred to me that I could passionately and rationally tell them why I change my life path so drastically and let them see another side to this complex mass of matter they call a brain.

I met them for Dinner at an Italian restaurant up island. With them my Aunt and Uncle, originally from Alberta and their close friends.  I, in all honesty was a little nervous about sharing my recent experiences.  I strolled in, my hair a tad wild, wearing my 2nd day old clothes, and my feet seemly planted, present and slightly dusty.  The table was full of a diverse crowd. My mom, recently acquired a new perspective on food; altering her diet immensely for health reason. My aunt, who has a sister farming GM canola in Alberta and their friend; a manager of a fairly large grocery retailer.  Leaving me, a girl on the edge of a world full of GMOs, food security, and food sovereignty confusion living in a tent, at an ECOVILLAGE.   It was either going to go really well or I was about to get a plateful of pasta (no doubt GMO) in the face.  But alas, we had a great discussion.

Having an opportunity to hear from other perspective is always interesting. My Aunt’s sister and their farm came up.  It came as a bit of a shock that the only reason really mentioned why they chose to farm GM canola was because they could use a herbicide to kill the weeds, therefore making it fast and convenient to harvest.  Fast food, drive thru anything, cheap clothing, etc. flashed through my thoughts.  My heart dropped a little when this seemed to be the sole reason for the GMO Canola use.  Fields located so close to homes, communities, to the people I care about most.  I was also interesting in learning that grocery retailers are being overtaken with customer questions on GMOs.  I would be curious what is being done at a corporate level with those comments and why things aren’t moving faster towards labeling… that’s a whole other thought process.

Finally I had a moment to pass on a little of what I’ve compiled over the years; creating more questions around the table then I had imagined.  I realized that the sharing of information is essential to any progression of issues and that getting riled up and pointing fingers gets you nowhere. Because for once I had fallen on open ears willing to listen and discuss.

But more than anything my Dad shocked me the most.  His one question struck me and although I’ve pondered this many times, it still cut deep.

Can farmers save their seeds?

After explaining about patent laws, etc. I told him no.  These GM crops were creating situations where a farmer would continually be required to purchase, spray, harvest, purchase, spray, harvest etc.; a continuous cycle in one direction all in the name of making money.

He was silent for a moment. “Well that isn’t right. Why would they…? That’s not fair.” And at that point everything that felt fringe in my heart became real. I now wasn’t just helping create the Insight Into GMOs Symposium at OUR ECOVILLAGE, stoked to be meeting Jon from Deconstructing Dinner, or following my own interests.  I was doing it for something so much bigger than me; for my grandparents, all the small rural community that have been slowly falling away over the years, all the United Farmers Women’s meetings my Grandma toted me along to while growing up and for the beautiful prairies that, up until this point, I had dismissed as absent flat land.

Perspectives shifted, inspiration ignited, conversation started!

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.